Message from the Superintendent

November 18, 2020

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In this Newsletter:

  • Orange County Dashboard
  • Help Slow the Spread
  • Thanksgiving & Travel Safety Tips
  • Resources

Dear OUSD Community,

In response to the spike in new coronavirus infections, Orange County was moved to the most restrictive tier of California’s color-coded tracking system on Monday. Tier assignments, which are based on three metrics, have traditionally come on Tuesdays, with changes made based on two weeks of data. However, Governor Gavin Newsom said he was “pulling an emergency brake” by moving Orange County to the purple tier – the most restrictive – to try to mitigate COVID-19 transmission.

More information is available through the OCDE Newsroom:

OUSD schools will remain open regardless of the Tier Orange County is at on the Dashboard. Contact tracing has shown that mitigation strategies have been effective in educational settings, and schools have not been identified a source of COVID-19 surges. OUSD’s COVID-19 Dashboard reflects evidence that our schools are not the source of transmissions and that to date schools are experiencing limited and isolated cases. To learn more about the District’s health and safety investments and mitigation strategies, visit

Individual school closure would be based on the number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus, and following consultation with the Local Health Officer. Individual school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at a school or when at least 5% of the total number of positive teacher/student/staff cases are within a 14-day period, depending on the size and physical layout of the school. The Local Health Officer may also determine school closure is warranted for other reasons, including results from public health investigation or other local epidemiological data.

Orange Unified continues to follow the CDPH Framework, which is available by clicking here.

Help Slow the Spread

Though contact tracing has indicated that the spread of illness is low in our schools, we need your help to reduce the amount of community transmission of COVID-19. Simple steps such as wearing a mask when around others, washing your hands often, avoiding close contact, monitoring your health daily, and staying home when ill can greatly reduce the odds you will spread COVID-19.

Ways to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

CDC: Ways to Protect Yourself and Others

OUSD COVID-19 Dashboard

OC COVID-19 Dashboard


Schools will be on break November 23-27, with classes resuming on November 30. While traditional Thanksgiving celebrations involve family and friends gathering to give thanks, celebrations this year should be modified to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to health experts, the primary source of recent COVID-19 surges are social gatherings. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to do so with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, the CDC has recommended steps to make your celebration safer.

Safer Thanksgiving Celebrations
CDC Guidance: Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings

Alternate Thanksgiving Activity Ideas

Thanksgiving is also a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, and residents are encouraged to stay local. As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the country, travel advisories discourage non-essential out-of-state travel and urge visitors entering or returning home from travel outside of California to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country.

To learn more about the risk that travel itself poses for COVID-19 exposure, please visit the CDC page on travel risks.

Thank you for your partnership to help keep our students, staff, and community healthy. I wish you a restful and restorative Thanksgiving break!

Warmest Regards
Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Orange Unified School District

We invite you to take a moment to follow Orange Unified on social media to receive the District’s latest news and announcements. Social media may also be a critical line of communication during emergencies and will be an excellent place for you to get up to date information: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube