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 January 21, 2022 update from Superintendent Flores: Test Kit distribution programs, Enroll in GUSD!, upcoming vaccine clinics, student art, and the Class of 2026 goes to high school
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

The good news is it appears that our county has reached the peak of the COVID19/Omicron winter surge.  The peak of was on January 5 with 6,406 cases and since then the numbers have been slowly coming down.  The bad news is that the 7- day average of cases right now is still high: 4,732.  The virus seems to be widespread in the community and has definitely had an impact on student and staff absences.  However, there have been very few cases identified at the schools and there have been no outbreaks.  We are grateful that parents and staff are following our procedures and are staying home if they or a household member has COVID symptoms or has tested positive.  I have attended some meetings with public health officials this week and they are cautiously optimistic about the numbers and have shared that they think things will be better by early February.

Upcoming District iHealth Antigen Home Test Kit Distributions

The district has ordered another round of iHealth antigen at-home test kits.  The kits will arrive in late January or early February.  We will communicate with you in advance of their arrival about how the test kits will be distributed for student use.  We are working with our principals to determine the best method for the distribution. 

Other COVID-19 Test Kit Distribution Programs

County Test Kit Distribution: The County of Santa Clara is offering a limited number of free at-home COVID-19 antigen tests to those who live, work, or attend school in the county, on an appointment basis beginning Saturday, January 22, 2022.

Those who live, work, or attend school in the county may sign up online through www.sccfreetest.org to obtain four at-home tests. Those able to secure an appointment may choose from one of the distribution locations for pick up at a chosen time, with the first slots available this Saturday.  Tests are not available on a drop-in basis without an appointment.

Sign-ups are done through the same www.sccfreetest.org portal used for County clinic testing, and there is a limit of one appointment per person. Each person will receive four iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Tests. Read the full release here.

Federal Test Kit Distribution Program:  Recently, the federal government announced that beginning January 19, Americans would be able to order up to four free COVID-19 at-home rapid test kits to be mailed directly to them at the end of this month. 

You can order test kits to be mailed to your home using this link: https://www.covidtests.gov/ or by calling 1-800-232-0233.

Vaccination Clinics

There are two upcoming free COVID-19 vaccine clinics being held on our campuses.

  • Gilroy High School, in partnership with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, Friday, January 28, 2022, 3:00 pm-7:30 pm
  • Glen View Elementary, in partnership with Bay Area Community Health, Monday, February 7, 2:30 pm-6:00 pm

The last clinic at Glen View on January 12 was a huge success with 457 doses administered.

Mask Recommendations from CDPH

The California Public Health Department (CDPH) has issued recent guidance regarding masks. The CDPH is recommending that everyone wear one of the following;

  • 3-ply surgical mask
  • N95 mask
  • KN95 mask 
  • 3-ply surgical mask and cloth mask

The state of California recently provided 45,000 N95 masks to the district for students which were distributed to schools in the last week. The district purchased and provided N95 masks to staff.  Each site also has an ample supply of surgical masks and we have many more if needed.

January 21, 2022 Staff Development Day

As you know, today was a staff development day for all staff.  Workshops were offered on a number of topics at both the elementary and secondary level, including:

Elementary Workshops offered:

  • Viewsonic Smartboard training
  • Trauma responsive schools
  • Supporting student behavior
  • Digital storytelling
  • Guided Language Acquisition Design
  • Grouping students by skill level for instruction, depth and complexity
  • Mathematical thinking, emergent literacy
  • Dual Immersion Spanish language development

Secondary Workshops offered:

  • Viewsonic Smartboard training
  • Classroom management
  • Restorative Justice circles
  • Technology tips and tricks
  • Understanding gangs and gang culture,
  • Supporting students' academic needs
  • Social-emotional learning
  • LGBTQ+ awareness
  • Healthy relationships

Will GUSD revert to distance learning?

I have been asked by some members of the public if GUSD will consider transitioning from in-person learning back to distance learning if there is another surge of COVID-19.  My answer to them is always the same: no.  Studies have shown that it is important for students to be in school for so many reasons.  We are committed to maintaining safe, in-person, education for all students in GUSD.  The State of California and Santa Clara County leaders share this belief, and as of June 30, 2021, public school districts may no longer offer remote or virtual learning in lieu of in-person instruction.  Recently, the County Office of Education and the Public Health Department issued a joint statement emphasizing the importance for students to remain in school.  You can watch Dr. Dewan and Dr. Cody’s remarks here and read the full release from SCCOE here.  We know that vaccines and boosters work, along with wearing a well-fitting mask, and staying home when sick to protect others, and that is what we continue to encourage for all members of our school communities.

Welcome to Class of 2026

It’s time for Mustang Mania at Gilroy High School and Cougarpalooza at Christopher High as we welcome the Class of 2026 to our high school campuses.  Both information nights will take place virtually on Wednesday, January 26 at 6:00 pm.  I invite you to visit the freshmen hubs on both websites for more information about the exciting programs our high school campuses have to offer: Gilroy High School Freshman Hub and Christopher High School Freshman Hub.  Our GECA team is also reviewing more than 135 applications to join the Griffin Class of 2026, and will be notifying applicants as to their status very soon.  Now is one of my favorite times of the school year as families begin the transition into the next chapter of their child’s educational journey.  I can’t wait to see the impact the members of the Class of 2026 will have on the Gilroy community and beyond as they begin their high school careers.

GUSD Enrollment Opens February 1

Along with our freshman class, we are excited to welcome new students to the Gilroy Unified School District of all ages.  Registration officially opens February 1 for all TK and kinder students, as well as students who are new to GUSD.  Information on how to enroll is available online.  For incoming kinder families who are interested in our award-winning Dual Immersion program, information on mandatory parent orientation meetings, and how to apply are available on our website.

Student Art Show at 6th Street Studios and Art Center

Students from Gilroy High School and Christopher High School are hosting the Garlic City High School Art Show from January 21-31 at 6th Street Studios and Art Center (64 W. 6th Street in Downtown Gilroy).  Admission is free to anyone who would like to view the display.  We will celebrate their collective work at a reception on January 27, from 4-7 pm.  I encourage you to stop in to see the pieces these talented students have worked so hard on.

I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the direction things are going in Santa Clara County.  I applaud your continued efforts to keep our community safe, by wearing the recommended masks, reporting positive test results, and getting vaccinated and boosted.  Keep the faith.  We will get through this together.

Take care of each other,

Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Gilroy Unified School District

  • 21-22 SY
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