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July 23, 2021 update from Superintendent Flores: first day of school, mask wearing requirements, and safety protocols
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

Can you believe the start of the school year is less than two weeks away?   The summer has literally flown by.   I hope you and your loved ones were able to enjoy some vacation time.  I’m writing to share some important information and updates with you as we move toward the start of the 2021-22 school year in Gilroy.  You will also receive a hard copy of this letter in the mail in the next few days.

GECA students return to school on August 5, 2021 and all other GUSD students return to school on August 18.   We are so excited about the return of our students and staff to full-time, in-person instruction. You can view the full GECA instructional calendar here and you can view the full GUSD instructional calendar for all other students here.

Mask-Wearing

The Gilroy Unified School District will be following the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) most recent guidance for K-12 schools regarding mask wearing.  Everyone on a school campus where students are present will be required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.  There has been a steady increase in the number of children and the unvaccinated testing positive for COVID19, many becoming ill.  We want to make sure that our schools are as safe as possible in the hopes of avoiding outbreaks and shutdowns.  Mask wearing is one of the best methods of preventing the spread of COVID19 and other airborne illnesses.

Virtual Learning Academy (VLA)

The Gilroy Unified School District is pleased to continue offering an additional educational option for families and students who are interested in independent learning opportunities for the 2021-22 school year.  The GUSD Virtual Learning Academy is a full-time online learning option for all grades which provides online learning with synchronous instruction from GUSD teachers, as well as independent learning opportunities. 

The VLA will provide the core academic program, but does not include any current specialized programs GUSD offers such as: the K-12 Dual Immersion program, enrollment at Mt. Madonna High School or GECA, the Biomedical Science Academy at Gilroy High, the Computer Science Academy at Christopher High, or the GATE program at Rucker Elementary and Brownell Middle School.  Students enrolled in the VLA program in middle and high school will be able to participate in extracurricular activities including athletics and clubs, for their neighborhood school. 

For more information please visit the VLA website and complete the interest form and our staff will contact you directly.

Additional Safety Protocols

One of the major changes in the latest guidance from the CDPH is that there is no longer a physical distancing requirement.  The CDPH is still recommending that districts implement protocols related to frequent hand washing, sanitizing and cleaning surfaces, and maximizing ventilation.  The district will be implementing these measures and others which will be outlined in my next Friday letter and will be listed on our website. Students and staff should continue to perform daily health screens before coming to school and should stay home if they are sick.

Vaccinations

I want to thank everyone who has taken the initiative to get vaccinated.   Over 60,000 shots were administered by County staff at the Gilroy High School vaccination clinic between February and July 2021. I am pleased to share with you that over 95% of GUSD staff have been vaccinated.  In Santa Clara County, 76% of all residents 12 and over are fully vaccinated.  

Only 63% of children 12-17 have been vaccinated in our County.   Please consider getting your child vaccinated before the start of school.  You can consult with your child’s doctor or use this link to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Free Meals for All Students

There is really good news on the meals front.  The federal government has authorized and will fund free meals for all public school children this school year (2021-22). This means that families do not have to be income eligible for their children to receive free meals at school.  We are requesting that all families complete the modified income form because our district must submit this data for other federal funding opportunities.  Forms can be accessed on the Child Nutrition page on the Child Nutrition webpage or downloaded here (English/ Spanish).

I hope that you are able to enjoy the final weeks of summer before the school year begins again. Our staff continues to prepare for a full and safe return to campus and classrooms.  I encourage you to visit our website: www.gilroyunified.org/reopening-gusd for information about measures we are taking to ensure our schools and classrooms are safe for your children’s return. You can follow GUSD on social media: FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.  
 
Take care of each other, 

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

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