October 19, 2020
Vista Classic Starts Tomorrow
We are looking forward to seeing Vista Classic students tomorrow, October 20th. In keeping with our commitment to full transparency and proactive community involvement, the School Board met last Thursday to listen to community feedback and discuss final adjustments to the school reopening plan. During the meeting, I provided a statement for the community to summarize the process we used for developing and implementing the school reopening plan. After over five hours of listening and discussing, the school board did not take action to change the school reopening plan. As a result, we will be moving forward with the Vista Classic school reopening on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Our school leaders have been reaching out to their students who selected Vista Classic to provide specific guidance for the first day back. We are all in this together, and we need everyone to commit to making this reopening a success for students. This means supporting our health and safety guidelines at all times. We have created a School Reopening Guidebook and a Vista Works for You video for students and parents to use as a reference at home.
It is important to note that while we are excited to start Vista Classic on campuses across the district, if San Diego County falls into the Tier 1 (Purple) of the health metrics, we will immediately convene a special board meeting (within 24 hours) so that the board members may review the health metrics and discuss school closure. This may mean that we will need to pivot from Vista Classic to Vista Virtual and back again. As Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated ‘You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.’ Please refer to the Safety Update section below for more details.
Once we have reopened school for Vista Classic students, we will be even more vigilant about monitoring the health metrics for San Diego County and our local zip codes. We already have a COVID-19 case dashboard on our Health and Safety webpage. It is important to note that these county and local health metrics have been and will continue to be unpredictable. On Friday, leaders from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the Health and Human Services Agency held an unscheduled press conference to warn of a rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases in our region. This increase put the county in danger of moving from Tier 2 (Red) into Tier 1 (Purple), the most restrictive tier in the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system, Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
As mentioned at the Board Meeting on Thursday evening, the weekly numbers that are released each Tuesday showed our county was still below the threshold of 7.1 cases per 100,000. As a reminder, it takes two consecutive weeks of data to change tiers.
Implications if the County Falls into the Purple Tier - Possible School Closure
The data above show that it is possible that the county will have a new case rate of 7.1 or higher when new data are released by the state of California tomorrow, October 20th. Since one week of increasing numbers will not move the county into the more restrictive tier, we can say with absolute certainty that we will remain a Red Tier county at least until Tuesday, October 27th. Because numbers rise and fall often, we should remain optimistic but also prepare for the possibility of being a Purple county before the end of the month. In this case, the Vista Unified Board of Trustees will convene a special board meeting within 24 hours to review the health metrics for the county and the individual zip code areas that comprise Vista Unified and discuss suspending in-person learning (Vista Classic). While this would be an unfortunate scenario, our school reopening plan has always been grounded in research and state and local health agency guidance.
Essential Workers - Thank You
I would like to end this update with a heartfelt thank you to the essential workers who have stepped up in the past eight months to help us all navigate this terrible pandemic. These people are almost always behind the scenes, doing amazing work to support our lives from stocking grocery shelves, to making deliveries of medical equipment, to protecting our community, to fighting more than one thousand fires in California, to caring for our loved ones who are admitted to the hospital. In our own district, we have thousands of essential employees that have been working nonstop since the school closure in March to support students and families. These dedicated employees stepped into their role as an essential worker because they are committed to the charge that we are all in this together and that, together, we will continue our passion to keep students at the center of all we do. Thank you for your dedication, your courage, your care and connection, and your service to our community. Consider reaching out to thank an essential worker this week. Let them know we care.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District