Community Update

February 16, 2021

Vista Golden Apple Employees of the Year Award Winners

We have an amazing, dedicated team of employees in Vista Unified. There are literally hundreds of members of our team that we periodically recognize as a group for their contributions to the students and families of Vista in our Community Updates. One time a year, we also give employees the opportunity to nominate their colleagues for our Golden Apple Award. This award goes to six employees who have demonstrated exemplary dedication, expertise, and hard work to support students and their families. Normally, we would honor the winners at the February board meeting; however, due to the current circumstances with regard to health and safety, the school board members and I took a road trip to each of their homes to deliver the award with their families. Similarly, to the virtual graduations, this approach was different but very meaningful for the winners and their families. I can tell you that they were very surprised when they opened the door to board members and the superintendent. Please join us in congratulating the Golden Apple Award winners for 2021:

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Middle School Return to In-Person Learning One Day per Week Set for March 1, 2021

The School Board met on Thursday, February 11th to review options for returning middle school students who chose Vista Classic to in-person learning. During the meeting, two possible options were presented based on recommendations from the Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning and alignment to the most recent revision to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requirements for social distancing. The school board approved option one, which calls for one day per week in-person instruction, three days per week synchronous virtual live learning with the teacher, and one day per week asynchronous learning (without the teacher). Each middle school will be organizing the grouping, schedule, and communication plan for students and parents in the coming two weeks. Our administrative team will be working with teachers and staff to address appropriate impacts and effects so that our staff is supported as we implement this new structure. We anticipate all middle schools will start on Monday, March 1, 2021.

Special Board Meeting to Discuss High School In-Person Learning Set for February 18, 2021

During the board meeting last week, the board members agreed to hold a special board meeting on Thursday, February 18, 2021 to discuss next steps to return high school students who chose Vista Classic to in-person learning. During this meeting, we will be presenting various options for return to and highlight the most recent revision to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requirements for social distancing. This special meeting will be open to students, parents, staff and the public starting at 6:00 p.m.


Click here to be directed to the Vista USD Board of Education Special Meeting Live Stream.

Vaccination Opportunities for Educators and Staff Are Almost Here

While it has been extremely frustrating to wait for the opportunity to have all of our VUSD staff vaccinated, it is important to note that our team has been working diligently with state and local elected officials to speed up the vaccine distribution timeline for educators and staff. Thanks to this hard work and advocacy, we are happy to announce that the Linda Rhoades Recreation Center will shift focus two days a week to become a vaccination center for our community. This new arrangement will provide up to 500 vaccinations a day for our community on Sunday and Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. With this new distribution center in place, we are poised to vaccinate all of our staff quickly, once the county opens up Phase 1b - Tier 1: Emergency Services; Childcare & Education; and Food & Agriculture. Based on comments from county officials, they anticipate starting distribution for this tier this month. To date, the county has distributed over 651,450 vaccinations, which is 16.8% of the total population. We are nearly there, thank you for your continued patience and support as we look forward to getting our staff vaccinated soon.

High School Athletics Are Off to a Great Start

Last week, athletes from each of our high schools started official CIF competition for Cross Country. It was absolutely fantastic seeing athletes have the opportunity to demonstrate their skill and hard work on the field of play. It is important to note that athletes from Vista High and Mission Vista High School were the first to compete in an official CIF sanctioned competition in the entire San Diego County. Click HERE to view the report from the FOX 5 TV station. We are looking forward to competitions starting for swim, golf, tennis, and track and field soon.

Health and Safety Update

Once again, positive news came from the California Department of Public Health as the County of San Diego continues to see a downward trend in COVID-19 public health metrics. This week’s positivity rate of 6.4% dipped below the purple tier marker of 8%. Mask-wearing and social distancing are helping to bring us to the less restrictive tiers for San Diego County. The adjusted average daily new cases per 100,000 residents also showed a downward trend reflecting a decrease from 34.2 daily new cases per 100,000 residents to 22.2 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. When analyzing data from the local areas of Vista and Oceanside (“6-zip”), these public health metrics have generally followed the data patterns seen in the county as a whole. We anticipate these trends to continue when the new reports for our local area are released on Friday. The CDC just recently published new guidelines that address operational strategies for K-12 schools through a phased mitigation. The goal of the document is to present a pathway to reopen schools and help them remain open through consistent use of mitigation, especially universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing. There are three essential elements:

  1. Consistent implementation of layered mitigation strategies to reduce transmission

  2. Indicators that reflect level of community risk

  3. Phased mitigation and learning modes based on levels of community transmission

The report also supports two layers of prevention in schools:

  • Testing to limit transmission and outbreaks

  • Vaccinations for teachers and school staff

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Matt Doyle, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Vista Unified School District