USD School Bell
December 2021 | Union School District's Monthly Newsletter
Dear USD Families and Staff,
Season’s Greetings! Ahead of the winter holiday break, I want to take the opportunity to share my sincere appreciation to our community as we wrap up 2021, a year to certainly remember.
I know there is a lot happening in the world right now, and at times, it can feel overwhelming. I want you to know that I am here for our community. For that reason, I will be hosting a virtual community wellness check-in for our families in January. This will be an opportunity for all of us to simply come together as a community and talk about how we are doing, what’s on our mind, or simply to decompress with other members of our community. A zoom invitation will be shared with families in the new year for an informal conversation with me.
As we move forward into the new year, I want to recognize our united collective efforts to keep one another safe and healthy by following health protocols. We must continue to stay prudent to the safety protocols over the holiday break. Before we return to school in the new year, please take a moment to read over the latest updates to our masking and school-based activity health guidance listed below. Also, we are fortunate to be able to provide all students and staff members with a take home rapid COVID test kit with directions to test over the holiday break prior to returning to our school campuses on Monday, January 3rd 2022. Collectively, whatever challenges may arise, there is nothing we cannot overcome in USD as we are stronger together.
As the 2021 year comes to an end, we must continue to celebrate the growth of our students and children each and every day. I encourage you to take the time over the holiday break to talk with your child about their accomplishments made this past year. Ask your child what they are proud of in themselves. You can do this while playing a board game, baking together or eating dinner to encourage this reflection. This opportunity allows them to reflect on their strengths, growth and build strong self-efficacy. Our students are passionate, curious, and we join them in their excitement for all that 2022 will bring.
I hope you have a safe and joyful holiday and a very Happy New Year! Looking forward to seeing everyone January 3rd 2022!
Celebration of Love - Food Box Vouchers
Could you or someone you know use a helping hand this holiday season? Vouchers for food are available to any family or individual who needs one.
Assistance is available if you need help picking up your voucher or food box (approximate value of $250). Stop by the USD District office at 5175 Union Ave, San Jose, CA 95124 (on the corner of Los Gatos Almaden Rd and Union Ave to pick up a voucher. These vouchers can be redeemed at the Reaching Out Center in San Jose on December 15th, 16th, and 20th between 9am and 12pm. The address for the Reaching Out Center is at 2315 Canoas Garden Ave, San Jose.
If you have any questions, you can give us a call at 408-377-8010.
Important Dates to Remember
December 20-31, 2021 - Winter Break (No School)
January 3, 2022 - School Resumes
January 10, 2022 (6pm) - School Board Meeting
January 14, 2022 - Staff Development Day (No School for Students)
January 17, 2022 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Holiday (No School)
February 1, 2022 - Open Enrollment/Registration Starts
February 7, 2022 (6pm) - School Board Meeting
February 21-25, 2022 - Presidents’ Week Break (No School)
Health and Safety Updates
Take Home Rapid Test Kits
Good news! In conjunction with the California Department of Public Health, Union School District has secured enough rapid antigen test kits to send home with each student in our district prior to Winter Break. The intention of the test kits is to provide an additional layer of safeguard for our students and staff prior to returning to school on January 3, 2022.
During the week of December 13 - 17, your child will receive a rapid antigen test kit from their school. Each packet contains two antigen tests.
While this is an optional program, we are recommending our families to have your student take one of the rapid antigen tests on Sunday, January 2. While this is not required to return to school, we are highly encouraging everyone to test prior to returning to school campuses to support us in keeping our schools safe after the holidays.
Please note, test results are not required to return to school from Winter Break, but are highly encouraged. Though, if your rapid antigen test results come back positive, we ask that you notify the front office, keep your child home from school, keep siblings home from school, and contact your health care provider for next steps.
This gesture of goodwill from Union School District to our families is another step in keeping our entire community safe.
Universal Mask-Wearing Update
Masks remain one of the most effective and simplest safety mitigation layers to prevent in-school transmission of COVID-19 infections and to support full time in-person instruction at USD schools. Thanks to the community’s efforts and universal mask wearing on campus, we have minimized spread keeping staff and students healthy and safe in USD.
Starting in January 2022, face masks will continue to be required for students and staff at all times while indoors. For outdoor activities, including recess, athletics and other outdoor extracurricular activities (see guidance below per the CDPH), masks will be highly recommended, but not required.
As always, we will continue to work closely with our County and State health departments and adjust protocols should conditions change as per recommended health guidance.
School-Based Extracurricular Activities Guidance
CDPH recently updated their guidance regarding School-Based Extracurricular Activities. The requirements and recommendations in this guidance apply to all extracurricular activities that are operated or supervised by schools, and all activities that occur on a school site, whether or not they occur during school hours, including, but not limited to, sports, band, chorus, and clubs:
Activities may be performed outdoors without masks.
Indoor mask use remains a critical layer in protecting against COVID-19 infection and transmission, including during sports, music, and related activities. Accordingly:
Masks are required indoors at all times for teachers, referees, officials, coaches, and other support staff.
Masks are required indoors for all spectators and observers. This applies to all adults.
Masks are required indoors at all times when participants are not actively practicing, conditioning, competing, or performing. Masks are also required indoors while on the sidelines, in team meetings, and within locker rooms and weight rooms.
For after school activities, sports and clubs, when actively practicing, conditioning, or competing in indoor sports, masks are required by participants even during heavy exertion, as practicable. If masks are not worn due to heavy exertion, it is strongly recommended that individuals undergo screening testing at least once weekly. An FDA-approved antigen test, PCR test, or pooled PCR test is acceptable for evaluation of an individual's COVID-19 status.
Individuals using instruments indoors that cannot be played with a mask (e.g., wind instruments) may perform if bell coverings are used when playing wind instruments AND a minimum of 3 feet of physical distancing is maintained between participants. Modified masking may be considered in addition to, but not in place of, bell covers. Instruments that cannot be played with masks and that do not have bell covers must be played outdoors.
- Volunteers need to fill out the volunteer packet and must show proof of vaccination.
The consent forms should state that these stipulations are subject to change and the newest guidance from the county or the state, whichever is stricter, will be followed. All parties will be notified of any changes.
For choir and theater performances, parents/guardians of the student will be given the option for their child to either wear a mask or will be able to test weekly if a mask isn't worn. This applies to after school events only as during school hours, masks must be worn.
Face masks should not be worn for competitive cheerleading (tumbling/stunting/flying) and gymnastics (while on the different apparatuses) because of the theoretical risk that the mask may get caught on objects and become a choking hazard or accidently impair vision. During wrestling contact, a face mask could become a choking hazard and is discouraged unless an adult coach or official is closely monitoring for safety purposes. Any face mask that becomes saturated with sweat should be changed immediately.
County of Santa Clara Now Providing Booster Shots for Those Age 16-17
First Case of Omicron Variant is Detected in Santa Clara County; Health Officials Reinforce the Importance of Booster Shots
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – On Thursday, December 9, the County of Santa Clara received its first report of a county resident with the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The individual is in isolation and was fully vaccinated but had not received a booster; they had recently returned from domestic travel out of state.
Health officials have been anticipating that the Omicron variant would be detected locally, so this report does not come as a surprise. This news, in conjunction with rising case counts in the county, Bay Area, and across the state, serves as a reminder for residents to adopt preventive measures, including vaccinations and booster shots, to best protect themselves and the community. With the CDC’s approval on Thursday, the County has begun accepting Pfizer booster appointments for those ages 16 and older…
Community Testing POD - Holiday Hours
The outdoor mobile testing facilities at Dartmouth and Union Middle School are open 7 days a week.
Mondays through Fridays: 7:00 am–7:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Sundays: 9:00 am–3:00 pm
In December, the community PODs will be closed:
After 5pm on December 24, 2021
December 25th, 2021 for the Christmas Holiday and will reopen December 26, 2021
After 5pm on December 31, 2021
In January, the community PODs will be closed:
January 1, 2022 for New Year's Day and will reopen January 2, 2022.
Registration for the 2022-23 School Year Begins in February
Do you have a new student joining USD? Register early starting February 1, 2022.
For registration information, required documentation, and online registration links, visit our website at: https://www.unionsd.org/families/enroll-in-usd
New Transitional Kinder or Kindergarten parent or guardian? Our schools will be hosting TK/Kinder orientation evenings starting in January. These meetings will be posted on the school’s websites.
Highlights from Across USD
Children and staff members at Carlton were delighted to meet famous children's book author, Rosemary Wells, on December 6th. Students were fascinated by the creative techniques she uses as an illustrator. K-2nd grade students asked questions about her source of inspiration for her books and how she "makes her books."
Noddin Elementary recently partnered with Project Giving Kids for a community donation drive. Noddin was excited to report that we collected 1,445 pairs of socks and 1,511 toothbrushes for a total of 2,954 items. These donations were delivered to Sacred Heart Community Service and will support community members in need.
Alta Vista has incorporated Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) as a tiered support program for students who would benefit from additional assistance in reading. After a teacher recommendation process, the intervention specialist creates small groups of students who meet with an LLI tutor four times a week. Student progress is carefully monitored to confirm that the program is meeting individual needs. LLI is proving to be an effective program in Alta Vista's tiered intervention toolkit.
Every Friday, Lietz staff, students and community members gather outside the first 15 minutes of school to spend some quality time together. The rally typically consists of Student Council members leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance as well as some Lietz PAWS cheers. It is also a time for important news and updates to be shared. Soon Lietz will include competitions between students and staff, as well as other fun games.
Students in Ms. Harmon’s 4th and 5th grade class recently published their writing, shared it with an audience of parents and staff members, and then celebrated their efforts. The culmination of this writing unit illustrated that writing is about communication, but it’s a reflection of what makes each of us unique.
Dartmouth's annual Second Harvest Food Drive has begun with excitement and school wide participation. With records for being the most successful contributing entity in Santa Clara County, Dartmouth has been honored as a yearly Blue Diamond Award recipient. With an average of over $25,000 raised by students and staff each December, Second Harvest Food Bank has been able to provide $125,000 of food to families in our community yearly. Students and Staff have begun this year's cash only drive with the goal of eliminating hunger in our community.
Join the USD Team
USD has several opportunities to join our amazing team. If you or anyone you know might be interested in any of our open positions, feel free to share this information and apply at https://www.edjoin.org/usd
Extended Care Activity Leaders Needed
Join a team of fun, creative and energetic leaders in USD. Do you love or know someone who loves hands-on STEM, art or outdoor activities? Come share that love with students in our USD Extended Care Program. Apply today on Edjoin.
Crossing Guards Needed
SJPD is looking for crossing guards to support busy intersections around our schools. Hiring and training is done through the San Jose Police Department.
Interested? Fill out an application here.
View the current offerings for USD parents/guardians organized by the Learning & Innovation Department.