December 7, 2020
Regional Stay-At-Home Order
The Governor issued a regional stay-at-home order on December 3, 2020, that will impact many businesses and industries in San Diego County, including the City of Vista. It is important to note that this new order does not modify existing guidance regarding K-12 schools. All schools in Vista may remain open for in-person instruction and supplemental support programs. We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work closely with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency to keep our schools safe.
School Reopening Mid-Year Revision Status
We are excited to continue our work with the Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning. Students, parents, staff, teachers, administrators, and board members will meet this week to hear feedback from our Sprint Teams, data from our parent and staff surveys, and updates from the world, our nation, and our region in regards to school opening in order to recommend adjustments and/or alternatives to address the changing needs of our community during the pandemic. Over the past few weeks, two Sprint Teams (one for elementary and one for secondary) met to collaborate, discuss, and provide feedback regarding our Vista Classic learning model. The council will review the information gathered during the Sprint Team meetings and review the survey data from parents and staff in order to reach a consensus on their official recommendations to the School Board for the December 15th meeting. These recommendations may include adjustments or alternatives for our Vista learning models. The learning model registration process for parents closed on December 4, 2020. We needed parents to provide this information prior to the December 15th board meeting so that we are able to review data on parent interest in continuing in the Vista Classic and Vista Virtual learning models. If the board chooses to make significant changes to the learning models for the second half of the school year, we will provide an opportunity for parents to modify their selection.
Click here to be directed to the Vista USD Board of Education Meeting Live Stream.
The School Board will be holding the first meeting of the new board trustees on December 15th, 2020. During this meeting, we will be swearing in Rosemary Smithfield and Cipriano Vargas to their second term. We will be swearing in Julie Kelly to her first term. Martha Alvarado and Debbie Morton are in their second year of a four-year term. The board meeting is scheduled to be held in-person at the district boardroom. Board meetings are considered to be an essential function of government, and as a result, in-person meetings are allowed. There will, however, be limited seating. The board meeting will also be available to the community virtually. Visit the website for more information.
Student and Staff Technology Improvements Are Coming Soon
We are excited to roll out new technology for many students and staff in the next few months. Under the CARES Act funding, sites have been able to spend $5,000,000 to order a significant number of new devices, including iPads, laptops, and Chromebooks. The district has also spent $2,500,000 to purchase new laptops for our site staff who directly serve and support students. Some of these devices are currently being distributed; the majority will be distributed after we return from winter break. The purpose of purchasing this new technology is to address the feedback we received from students and staff about internet connectivity and ease of use during classroom time.
Health and Safety Update
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has continued to climb with a record new number of cases for San Diego County set last Thursday (2,039 new cases) and then again on Friday (2,287 new cases). The situation in our local community has mirrored the county, with 29.6 daily new cases per 100,000 residents as compared to the countywide average of 30.5 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. With the opening of a COVID-19 testing center at the Linda Rhoades Recreation Center here in Vista, testing rates in our local area have improved and last week, mirrored county rates.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19-related hospitalizations are up significantly in our region as are admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) in San Diego County and surrounding counties. Under the state’s latest regional plan, ICU bed capacity in eleven counties that make up the Southern California region must remain above 15%. Because our region dropped below that threshold this past weekend, San Diego County must implement a Regional Stay Home Order that prohibits gatherings of any size and closes operations in multiple sectors. This new Stay Home Order does not, however, impact the in-person operations of schools in our district because schools in California that reopened while their county was in a less restrictive tier are permitted to continue to provide instruction to students on school sites.
For more information on the Regional Stay Home Order issued by the State of California, visit their official website.
School Athletic Season Will Be Paused
This past week, the body that oversees high school level interscholastic athletic competition (CIF) updated all member schools on the state of youth sports in California. Earlier this year, CIF modified high school athletics from three seasons of sports (fall, winter, and spring) to two seasons, which they are calling season one and season two.
Season one of sports, which was scheduled to begin on December 12th, has been postponed. Officially speaking, season one is on hold until the California Department of Public Health releases updated Youth Sports guidance. At this point, all youth sports, including high school sports, are operating under the COVID-19 Interim Youth Sports Guidance released on August 3, 2020. Under the August 3rd guidance, competitions are not allowed in youth sports, all practices are limited to conditioning or skill improvement, and student-athletes must remain within stable cohort groups of 14 or fewer. We expect our next update on youth sports in mid- to late-January.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District