Dear Families and Staff,
It’s hard to believe that school has already been in session for over seven weeks. I have been visiting school sites a couple of mornings each week and everywhere I go, staff are reporting how well things are going this school year. They use terms like “it’s almost back to normal” and “this year feels like it used to before the pandemic.” Principals have told me that the school climate is positive and that teachers feel they can really focus on teaching and learning this year. Parents will learn more about your child’s progress with the upcoming parent conferences, progress reports and more.
- Parent/Teacher Conferences for middle school students (6th-8th grades) are October 25, 26 and 27. These days are minimum days for all middle school students.
- Parent/ Teacher Conferences for students in Transitional Kinder through 5th grades are November 10, 14, 15, 17 and 18. These days are minimum days for all elementary school students.
View the entire 2022-23 instructional calendar in English or Spanish online.
Board of Education Suspends COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
In November 2021, the GUSD Board of Education adopted Board Policy (B.P.) 4119.46 which required staff and anyone else working in the schools to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Religious and medical exemptions (less than 3% of requests) were granted to a very small percentage of staff that qualified. Unvaccinated workers had to be tested weekly. This Board policy aligned with the State of California’s Public Health Order (CDPH) that was issued on August 11, 2021, requiring school districts to verify the vaccination status of all workers, and also to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of workers who are not fully vaccinated.
On September 13, 2022, the CDPH rescinded its August 11, 2021 State Public Health Order. In alignment with the updated CDPH State Public Health Order, at the October 6, 2022 Board meeting, the Board of Education voted to suspend B.P. 4119.46 in order to align district policy and practices with the recent action taken by the California Department of Public Health.
This means, as of October 6, there is no longer a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for GUSD employees, volunteers or visitors to campus. If you are interested in volunteering at your child’s school, you can begin the clearance process with the information found on our website: https://www.gilroyunified.org/families/volunteer-information.
Note: Should the California Department of Public Health and/ or the Santa Clara County Public Health Department issue directives or orders that once again require District and/ or other individuals present on school sites to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or be subjected to additional requirements, the Superintendent is directed to reinstate this policy immediately.
In light of the recent school shootings and the frequency of shootings in the U.S., it is understandable that many of you are concerned about school safety. School safety has been a priority for many years for our district and our efforts increased after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings ten years ago. We have taken many steps over the years to increase our school safety and even more so since the Uvalde, Texas shootings in June.
I provided you with a list of steps the district has taken and planned to take last June after the Texas shootings. The list has been updated and is available to view on our website.
Recently, we installed a remote access entry system at the front entrance of every school which requires visitors to be “buzzed in.” We are currently replacing existing security cameras with state-of-the-art security cameras and installing new cameras on all of our campuses. All schools have already conducted a Code Red drill this year and a second one will occur in the spring. The drills have highlighted opportunities for improvement in our protocols. We are currently reviewing school fencing to assess whether changes are warranted.
The district has a full-time School Safety Coordinator, who is a former police officer, and two School Resource Officers (SRO’s) and they work very closely with the Gilroy Police Department on school safety measures. GPD conducted a drill this summer at one of our high school campuses as part of their plan for handling a school shooting.
Finally, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of reminding your children that if they see or hear something that makes them uncomfortable, that they should tell a trusted adult. Students and parents can make anonymous reports using the StopIT app. We have already received messages from students that have been very helpful.
Appointment of Board Members (Trustees)
The Gilroy Unified School District has seven school board members or trustees who represent seven different trustee areas. Every two years, either three or four of the Board Members’ terms end and elections are held. This year, the Gilroy Unified School District was informed by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters that only one candidate filed to run for the Board of Education in each of the four Trustee Area positions that were to be on the November 2022 elections ballot.
Since each of these candidates is unopposed, per Education Code Section 5328, the unopposed candidates were appointed by the Board of Education for the four-year term they were seeking prior to the November election. This appointment happened at the September 22, 2022 regular Board Meeting. Each will then begin serving their four-year term thereafter in the exact same way they would have had the election been held.
They were appointed at the September 22, 2022 Board meeting and will serve four-year terms beginning in December 2022 and ending in November 2026. The four board members are:
- Trustee Area 1: Gabriela Mora-Kim
- Trustee Area 3: Michelle Nelson*
- Trustee Area 4: Linda Piceno*
- Trustee Area 7: Tuyen Fiack*
Looking Ahead on the Calendar
A few upcoming reminders for you:
- There is no school for GUSD students on Friday, October 14, as our staff participates in Professional Development. School resumes on Monday, October 17. (Classes for GECA students are in session on October 14.)
- Friday, October 14, is also the end of the first quarter for middle and high school students.
- The first trimester ends on October 28 for elementary school students.
- There is no school for students on Friday, November 11, as we observe Veterans Day. School resumes on Monday, November 14.
- Thanksgiving break is November 21-25, 2022. There is no school for students this week. GECA classes are in session November 21, 22, and 23.
Upcoming Vaccine Clinics at Glen View Elementary
Bay Area Community Health is hosting two COVID-19 vaccine clinics at Glen View Elementary School on October 20 and October 27, from 3-6 pm. Glen View is located at 600 W. Eighth Street. The clinic will take place in the MPR, which can be accessed at W. 9th Street between Princevalle and Hanna Streets. COVID-19 vaccines are available for those six-months and older. Appointments are recommended and can be booked here in English and here in Spanish or using the QR code on this flier.
Homecoming Festivities at Gilroy High and Christopher High
Homecoming Week for both Gilroy High and Christopher High is October 10-14. If you’re available, please consider attending each school’s Homecoming Parade on October 13. The Gilroy High School Homecoming Parade begins approximately at 3:10 pm on October 13, and is followed by the Homecoming game at 6 pm at the GHS Stadium. Find out more about the parade here, and purchase tickets for the game here.
Similarly, the Homecoming Parade for Christopher High begins at 7 pm on Thursday, October 13. View more information and see the Parade route here. Tickets for the CHS Homecoming game on Friday, October 14, at 7 pm, can be purchased online here.
I hope that you’ll join our school communities for Homecoming festivities as you are able. It’s one of my favorite extracurricular activities of each school year.
Enjoy your weekend,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Gilroy Unified School District