Message from the Superintendent
March 18, 2020
Dear OUSD Community,
Yesterday, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick issued a new ban on public and private gatherings, calling for a suspension of all social, professional and community activities that are considered nonessential. Dr. Quick clarified that the order is not a countywide shelter-in-place, adding that businesses and essential services should stay open and follow social distancing guidelines consistent with the governor's guidance.
Educational services — including K-12 schools, colleges and universities — were characterized as essential for the purpose of facilitating distance learning and performing other critical operations. Health care operations, grocery stores, banks, gas stations and news outlets were also on the list of institutions considered necessary for society to function.
The order for Orange County, which could be revised or extended in the future, is effective immediately and continues through March 31. School sites will be closed to the public starting tomorrow, March 19, to prevent mass gatherings. The Orange Unified School District school sites identified as essential to serving meals will remain open for that purpose. If you need access to a device to support student learning, please call the help desk at 714-628-5372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about school closures call Educational Services at 714-628-4466 or email email@example.com.
Dr. Quick says all businesses and essential services that are up-and-running must practice social distancing, raise sanitation standards and make every effort to use telecommuting. All Orange Unified staff that can perform job duties remotely will do so where appropriate. This presents some unique challenges that may result in a longer-than-usual response time to incoming messages, and we appreciate your patience as we navigate through this dynamic situation.
Governor Gavin Newsom also announced that it is unlikely that schools would reopen before summer break. Though he didn't elaborate during his afternoon news conference, it marked the first time a state official has issued an emphatic statement suggesting California schools may be closed into the summer over COVID-19 concerns. Following this announcement, the State leaders have introduced new COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools, covering distance learning, student meals, and childcare. We will share any change to our student dismissal period as we receive additional guidance through our daily communication with federal, state, county, and local health and emergency officials.
Please help keep your family healthy by observing social distancing, handwashing, and other guidelines provided by the CDC.
The disruption to families caused by school closures can cause anxiety and increased stress. It’s important to be mindful of your family’s mental health and well-being in addition to physical wellness. Resources are available on our website’s Mental Health and Wellness page.
Updated messaging will continue to be sent via email and posted on the OUSD website.
Thank you for your continued efforts to stay informed and continued partnership to help ensure the health and welfare of our students and community.
Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools