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March 25 update from Superintendent Flores: reopening updates, graduation celebrations and staff vaccines
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff.

Happy Friday.  I hope you get a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend.   Much has happened in the Gilroy Unified School District since my last Friday letter.   Here are some important updates for you:

Reopening Decisions

PreK and Elementary Students

At the March 18, 2021 meeting, the GUSD Board of Education approved the reopening plan for elementary students, grades PreK-5. Families have the choice to have their children return for in-person instruction or have their children remain in distance learning through the end of the 2020-21 school year. Decision Forms have been sent through the ParentSquare app, and you must confirm your decision for your child by Sunday, March 28, at midnight or your child will automatically remain in distance learning for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. The new learning models begin April 15 for students in PreK-2nd grades and April 19 for students in grades 3-5.

This week, the District Office and our elementary programs held online informational sessions for families to learn about the new programs, schedules and protocols.  If you weren’t able to attend the informational session for GUSD or the informational session for your child’s school, you can view all of the recordings and presentations on our website.  Based on input from attendees, we will also add an FAQ section on the webpage that will be updated as new information comes in.

Families of students in our elementary and PreK programs should ensure the following tasks are completed as soon as possible:

  • Complete the Decision Form using the ParentSquare app for your student to return to on campus.  If you do not make a decision your child will automatically be enrolled in distance learning.
  • If you are not receiving ParentSquare communication from your school or the District Office, please contact your school’s front office to ensure we have correct contact information on file for you (cell and email).  You must log into your ParentSquare account to complete the Decision Form.
  • Watch for more communications from your child’s school as the start dates for the new programs are closer.

For students in our elementary and PreK programs who will return to on campus learning next month, there are some additional tasks for families to complete:

  • Complete the Return to In-Person Learning form that will be sent to you on or around March 29 in the ParentSquare app.
  • Update and confirm your emergency contact information in Aeries.
  • Make sure your child’s immunizations are updated.  Your child will not be allowed to return to in-person learning without current vaccines.

Middle and High School students

At the March 25 Special Board meeting, four options for reopening secondary schools were presented and discussed.  The Board did not approve any of the options for reopening and therefore, students in middle and high school will continue in distance learning until the end of this school year.

For all students in the Gilroy Unified School District

Planning continues by District and site staff for a return to on-campus learning for the 2021-22 school year.  As you know, CDC and Public Health Department guidelines still continue to evolve, and as our community opens more and more, there will be expanded opportunities for students to return to campus safely.  

Vaccinations

Many GUSD staff and residents of Gilroy have received COVID19 vaccines at the County’s vaccination clinic at Gilroy High School.  At this point, almost 60% of GUSD staff have received at least one shot.  We are optimistic that most of our staff will be fully vaccinated this spring as more vaccines become available to the County.

High School Graduations

Our high school administrators are actively developing plans for graduations ceremonies at their sites.    We are awaiting updated guidelines from the California Department of Public Health, which we anticipate will be released soon.  High school principals will communicate directly with seniors and their families in the near future about plans for graduation.  
I am proud of the work done by our staff members and Reopening Planning Committee to provide reopening options for the Board’s consideration. We understand that there are various levels of comfort for a return to campus among our staff members and our families. While some of you are disappointed with the decision to remain in distance learning, there are others of you who are relieved. As we have often seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, answers are not easy, as information changes daily and many components must be taken into consideration.

Something I know to be true is that regardless of the educational program your child participates in to finish the 2020-21 school year, they will be provided with rigorous academic instruction as well as the support of their teachers and school communities to the greatest extent possible for the remainder of this school year.

We continue to plan diligently for the future and look forward to seeing our students back in our schools and classrooms.

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

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