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December 17, 2021 update from Superintendent Flores: Happy Holidays!, TikTok Challenges, safety over the break, and vaccine clinic information
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

The first 72 days, or 40%, of the 2021-22 school year are complete!  I am so proud of our staff and students for their hard work and resilience.  It has really made a difference.  Overall, our transition back in to in-person learning has gone very well.

It’s been a hard week at the high school level with social media threats interfering with our normal operations.  The origin of the threats was another TikTok challenge targeting schools that lead students in various parts of the country to send threatening posts to their own school districts.  Police departments across the country, including our own department, determined these were non-credible threats.  Please join us in discussing with your students how inappropriate and unkind this, and other challenges, are, and emphasize the disruption and fear that they cause.  Continue to encourage them to speak up when they see something or hear something that could lead to harm of people or property. 

Unfortunately, another COVID19 surge is underway.  Statewide cases are up almost 50% in the last few weeks.  The numbers have also steadily increased in Santa Clara County and in Gilroy in the last few months but are not as severe as the rest of the state.  According to County officials, this is in large part due to the high vaccination rates in our County.  I am especially thankful that students across the County are getting vaccinated.  91% of 12-17 year olds are vaccinated and 42% of 5-12 years olds have already been vaccinated in less than six weeks since the emergency authorization.   We expect that number to steadily increase.  The district has co-sponsored three rounds of vaccination clinics with the County Public Health Dept. and there will be more when we return from the break.  There is a clinic next week at Glen View Elementary, on December 22, from 1-5 pm, open to all.  To schedule an appointment, visit: https://bit.ly/GlenviewES.

We need your help to make our reopening on January 4, 2022 for elementary schools and January 5, 2022 for middle and high schools go as smoothly as possible.  We want to keep our schools open so it is essential that everyone follow current COVID-19 protocols.  If you or any member of your family is experiencing COVID symptoms toward the end of Winter Break, please do not come to school or work and get tested for COVID-19.  Although we have had cases of COVID among staff and students since the reopening in the fall, these did not occur at school, and students/staff stayed home if they had COVID symptoms. Thankfully, we have had no outbreaks on any campus and we hope to keep it that way.  The new Omicron variant is very contagious and is already here in our County so it is even more important that we continue best practices for minimizing the spread of COVID.

I have enjoyed attending holiday choir, band and dance performances presented by our high school students over the last two weeks.  These are some of my favorite holiday traditions that I missed experiencing last year.  To see our students performing onstage, surrounded by their classmates and friends, with an audience full of proud family members, makes me smile.  It is the perfect start to Winter Break.  Please enjoy the next few weeks as we safely gather with friends and loved ones.  I hope that your break is full of memories and laughter.  We will see you back on our campuses in January 2022!

Take care of each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores
Superintendent
Gilroy Unified School District