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November 5, 2021 update from Superintendent Flores: COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11, Fentanyl awareness, available mental health supports and resources for students and families
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

We are all so grateful for the recent rains and look forward to more rain this next week.   Although it is not enough to erase the drought, it is a positive start.  Our fields and landscaping that were in rough shape due to the minimal watering schedule we have been following are green again.  If we do receive lots of rain this winter, I want to assure you that the district is prepared for heavy rains and flooding, if they should occur.

COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 and older, and upcoming vaccine clinics at GUSD schools

As I am sure you have heard, the FDA and CDC have authorized emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 years of age.  Thanks to our great partnership with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, the District will be hosting six mobile vaccination clinics at elementary schools on the following dates and times.

  • Tuesday, November 9, Las Animas Elementary, 3:00-7:30 pm
  • Wednesday, November 10, Eliot Elementary, 3:00-7:30 pm
  • Wednesday, November 17, El Roble Elementary, 3:00-7:30 pm
  • Thursday, November 18, Rucker Elementary, 3:00-7:30 pm
  • Friday, November 19, Gilroy High School, for members of the Glen View Elementary School community, 3:00-7:30 pm
  • Wednesday, November 24, Rod Kelley Elementary (for the school communities of Rod Kelley and Luigi Aprea), 12:00-7:00 pm

At this time, there is no mandate for students to be vaccinated, although the Governor recently announced that a state mandate is coming - possibly next year.  However, we hope our parents give serious consideration to having their child(ren) vaccinated as the more staff and students that are vaccinated the safer our schools will be and we can hopefully avoid another school closure.  This past week, we hosted a vaccination clinic at the district office for staff and 137 staff received shots.

Fentanyl Awareness

On a very serious note, I asked the District Attorney’s Office to develop a letter (English/ Spanish) to send to you about the drug Fentanyl.  Fentanyl is a dangerous drug that can cause very serious reactions and death.  Please talk to your child(ren)/students about this drug relying on the information provided by the D.A.’s Office, and attached to this message.   The District will also continue our practice of teaching students during health units about the dangers of substance abuse with an emphasis on the dangers of drugs like Fentanyl.

Mental Health Resources available

As I shared in my letter on October 31, in response to the tragic shootings in Gilroy last weekend, counselors were available at all of our school sites this past week to help students process their concerns and anxieties.  Staff from the district as well as our community -based partners will continue to be available going forward.  If your child(ren) need to speak to a trained professional about the shootings or any other issue, they should let their teacher know and an appointment will be scheduled.  Teachers should let their administration know if students ask for counseling or if they see students in distress.

Our partner organizations have rallied around our residents to provide a number of services to children, families and people affected. 

  • If you or your child are in need of mental health services or emotional support, the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center (GSRC), located at 7365 Monterey in Downtown Gilroy.  If you need more information, or would like to make an appointment to speak to a therapist, please call 408-209.8356.  This week the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center has drop-in therapeutic and victim services through Friday from 10:00 – 6:00 PM. 
  • Next week, Victim Advocate services will be available at the GSRC Monday, November 8 – Wednesday, November 10, and Friday, November 12 between 10 am – 6 pm and therapeutic services will be available by appointment. To book an appointment, please contact the GSRC Victim Advocate, Liliana Dominguez at the GSRC Hotline: 408-209-8356. The Center will be closed Thursday, November 11, in observance of Veterans Day. For further information, please visit the GSRC website:
  • Appointments for individual counseling with therapists are also available through Dream Power Horsemanship.  To schedule, contact
  • Uplift’s Mobile Crisis Program offers a 24-hour crisis hotline at (408) 379-9085 or toll-free 1-877-41-CRISIS.
  • There are drop-in 1:1s and youth-based activity/group supports from 3-7 PM on Tuesdays (November 9 and 15) and Fridays from 3-6 PM (November 12 and 19) at the Gilroy Library. For more information, contact
  • The San Ysidro Community Center is hosting drop in safe space with group activities for youth and families on Monday, November 8 and Friday, November 12 from 3-6 pm (prior registration not required.  Contact or for more information

Attached to this message is information from the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services which offers a number of resources and information for caregivers of children.  You might find some of this information helpful.

Please remember that on Thursday, November 11, all GUSD schools, except for GECA, and the District Office are closed in honor of Veteran’s Day.  Classes resume on Friday, November 12.  I’m looking forward to our Thanksgiving Break as well, from November 22-26 (November 25-26 for GECA students), as an opportunity to rest, read, and reset.  I hope you are able to do the same.

Take care of each other,

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

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