Dear GUSD staff and families:
This week has brought some hard news for our school communities. Although we anticipated the announcement that our schools would not reopen this school year, I held out hope until the end that somehow they would reopen.
As the landscape of this school year continues to evolve, our staff has been hard at work preparing for the last quarter of this school year. I want to highlight the work that our Transportation, IT, Ed Services and Food Services Departments have done over the last two weeks. Last week, our Transportation team began delivering meals to some of our families who are unable to access our food distribution sites. In addition to providing meals for families, our bus drivers also provided a sense of connection and familiarity to the students they visit. Our meals program continued at the seven schools sites with thousands of meals served by 40 members of our food service team. New instructional packets were again made available on Tuesday for students.
This week, our IT Department and Ed Services team deployed over 1,500 Chromebooks to families in our District who need access to technology while our schools are physically closed. Through today, we have hosted two deployments of devices at Gilroy High School, and we will continue to distribute more devices over the Spring Break. Deploying these devices means that they have to be tested, inventoried, and cleaned so that they are safe and in working order to lend to our families. It has been a monumental undertaking. They have done a wonderful job completing all of these tasks as quickly as possible to provide necessary resources to our families.
To date, over 6,000 families in our district have indicated that they have technology needs, and we are working hard to provide those resources as efficiently as possible while complying with social distancing protocols.
I want to applaud our families who continue to follow the directives set forth by Governor Gavin Newsom and the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health to shelter in place and stay home as much as possible. This is our best chance of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on our community and health care system. Please continue to stay home and follow social distancing guidelines if you must leave your home. The Public Health Department is now recommending that you wear face coverings when out performing essential activities, and shared a video with more information.
Here are some updates for you:
Today, the Gilroy Unified School District officially launched our Distance Learning Plan webpages online. Distance learning for all students in GUSD begins Monday, April 13, 2020. I encourage you to visit these webpages over the Spring Break to prepare for the expectations of our staff and district prior to the start date. The page is also linked on the homepages of all of the school websites in our district, except GECA's.
It is important to note that secondary students must complete assignments beginning April 13 in order to receive credit toward graduation.
Proof of Residency for Incoming Freshman
If you are a parent of an incoming freshman and haven’t submitted your residency verification documents yet, please don’t worry. We are developing an online registration process for students, and it will include a component to upload residency verification documents. That information will be communicated to you as soon as it is finalized.
As I shared with you earlier, our IT and Ed Services Departments are working around the clock to provide computers for our families who have indicated a need. If you have not yet completed the Technology Needs survey, please do so here, and your name will be added to the distribution list. We are serving as many families as possible every distribution day. Please regularly check the email you used to submit the survey, because that is how our Ed Services team will communicate with you regarding a distribution date, appointment time, and further instructions for Chromebook pick-up. There is no need to complete the Technology Needs survey more than once. Currently, our District is able to provide one Chromebook per family based on supply and demand. If that allocation changes, we will communicate that with you.
Spring Break Food Service
Our Food Services team will continue to provide food at three distribution sites over the Spring Break (April 6-10). Throughout the break, families will be able to pick up lunch for the day and breakfast for the next morning, between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, weekdays at Glen View Elementary, Rod Kelley Elementary and South Valley Middle Schools. Children do not need to be present for an adult to receive meals.
Spring Break Communications and Logistics
Our staff will spend the Spring Break gearing up for the Distance Learning Plan launch on April 13. The District Office will continue to be closed per the shelter in place directives. If you have a need, please don’t hesitate to email or call our hotline: email@example.com or 669.205.5590. We will respond to your request within 48 hours.
Words to the Class of 2020
I have been thinking about all of our students a lot this week, but especially our graduating seniors. This is certainly not the end of their time with us in GUSD that we expected or wanted for them. I am hopeful, Class of 2020, that we will be able to salvage a portion of the senior year experience for you. I’m sorry you won’t celebrate this rite of passage in its entirety with your senior prom, senior trip, senior awards, and other components of your final semester in the Gilroy Unified School District. As I shared with you in my update last week, we are committed to holding a graduation ceremony at some point in time for our seniors. This celebration is still in the brainstorming and planning stages.
With all of the changes that have taken place in our corner of the world this week, it has been challenging to keep a positive attitude. I worry for our students as they are making sense of this new normal. I worry for our staff who are working to stay connected to their colleagues and our students, all while working from home and fulfilling duties in other capacities. And I worry for the parents and guardians of our students who are also working to fill many roles: parent, teacher, partner, employee and support system to many.
I want to share with you a clip from “The Late Show with James Corden” that made me smile this week. His closing remarks succinctly capture the feelings that many of us are experiencing. His musical guests, Ben Platt and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen, close the show with a performance of “You Will Be Found,” which is a song that reminds me that we are not alone. I invite you to watch it to see a reminder of the human connection that we all share.
Take care of yourself and each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Gilroy Unified School District