Dear GUSD Staff and Families:
Whew! We made it through the first three days of the school year, and what a wonderful whirlwind the past 72 hours have been in the Gilroy Unified School District. I spent August 18 and 19 visiting 13 of our schools, to see for myself the daily operations of each site as we work together to address new pick-up and drop-off procedures, implement all appropriate safety measures, and most importantly, to see the faces of our 10,500 students and the staff members who love, teach and support them. I could see the excitement in the eyes of everyone I talked to—masks couldn’t contain the joy we all felt!
I hope that you have felt the same sense of excitement as your children have returned to our classrooms, both in-person and virtually. While unconventional, this school year is full of promise for new experiences and continued learning in all of our schools and programs. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through some of the logistical challenges on our campuses as we comply with State and County directives to ensure the safety of our staff and students.
I want to acknowledge all the hard work on the part of our staff to get ready for the reopening. The classrooms and school facilities looked great and I am sure it took hours to prepare for the return of our students. Thanks so much to everyone in the district for your tremendous efforts.
I want to share a few reminders with you as the school year is now underway:
At-Home Health Checks
Before coming to campus each day, staff and students (with assistance from family members) must complete daily health screenings for COVID-19 symptoms. Please answer the following questions for each child in your home who attends GUSD schools.
Are you (or your child) experiencing any of the following symptoms or have you (or your child) experienced the following symptoms within the past 48 hours?
- Fever (100.0 F or higher?)
OR respiratory symptoms including coughing or shortness of breath
OR acute loss of taste or smell
OR repeated shaking with chills
- OR any of the following symptoms that are new and cannot be explained by another reason -- fatigue, body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- OR do you live with, or have you been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19?
If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, please stay home and call your child's school for further direction.
It is imperative that families complete this at-home health screening every day as we work together to minimize the exposure risk of the COVID-19 virus on our campuses. Keeping your child home when sick helps to ensure our campuses are safe as possible for all staff members and students. For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and at-home health screenings, visit the CDC website.
August 16 District-Wide Information Night
On Monday, August 16, I hosted an Information Night highlighting the return to school protocols and procedures in our district. A recording of the webinar and a copy of my presentation in English and Spanish is on the Reopening GUSD page our website. This page also provides up-to-date information about quarantining protocols and other safety measures. Content is updated regularly.
Mobile Vaccine Clinics at GUSD School Sites
The Gilroy Unified School District, in partnership with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health (SCCPHD), is hosting mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics at a number of GUSD school sites. We have held two clinics already: at Brownell Middle School on August 12 and at South Valley Middle School on August 16, with great success.
The next mobile vaccine clinic is at Rucker Elementary School on Wednesday August 25, from 4-7 pm. On September 1, the SCCPHD will host a mobile vaccine clinic at Eliot Elementary School and another clinic at Mt. Madonna High School on September 7. A date for a clinic at Christopher High School is forthcoming, as are dates for other schools in GUSD.
No appointment is necessary and insurance is not required to receive the vaccine at any SCCPHD vaccine clinic. The County is currently administering vaccines to anyone age 12 and older. Visit sccfreevax.org to schedule an appointment or for more information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Brownell Middle School Grand Opening and South Valley Middle School Groundbreaking
On August 16, the community of Gilroy and members of the Brownell school community were invited to the new campus for its official grand opening! For more than three hours, we were able to showcase the newly redesigned and renovated campus, capping off the four-year project with a ribbon cutting. It was a great day! Learn more about this beautiful addition to our district here.
We are hosting the South Valley Middle School for the official groundbreaking on the complete renovation of the campus on August 26. As you drive down Murray Avenue, you’ll see the beginnings of the project already, including the demolition of old buildings and the former staff parking lot. We are excited to see the progress of this project as it unfolds in the next few years, and I am confident that this new campus will be an inspiration to the students who attend middle school there for years to come.
Alternative Income Form
I want to remind you again of the importance for all GUSD families to complete the Alternative Income Application by September 25, 2021, regardless of income status. A link to the form can be accessed online and completing the application takes just a few moments. This information helps our district receive crucial funding to support a number of services for our students and staff members, including counseling, intervention, academic support, professional development and support for English Learners. Please take just a moment to complete and submit on behalf of all of our students.
I hope you’ll take some time this weekend to reconnect with your children. This week has been momentous for them, and I have no doubt that while they are thrilled to be back at school, they are also tired.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support of our District’s efforts to transition into the 2021-22 school year safely. We continue to work hard to provide a phenomenal educational experience for all of our students, in partnership with families, friends and community members.
Take care of each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Gilroy Unified School District
- Reopening GUSD