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October 8, 2021 update from Dr. Flores: Counseling referrals for students and families, vaccine updates, 1:1 technology initiative and more
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

I hope you are enjoying the cool weather and good air quality after so many weeks of high temperatures and poor air quality.  We have our fingers crossed that rain is on the way.

COVID19 & Vaccination Update
There has been some good news recently on the COVID19 front in Santa Clara County.  The most recent surge of cases reached a peak in the middle of August and has been steadily declining since then.  The 7-day average of cases in the county has dropped from over 400 in mid-August to under 100 this week.  Additionally, our County has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state (and nation) with 84.2 % of residents fully vaccinated and 89% of residents have received their first vaccine.  74.6% of 12-17 year-olds have been vaccinated in our County.   As you know, the District hosted a vaccination clinic operated by the County Public Health Department for four months at Gilroy High School where over 60,000 shots were given.  Recently, the District has hosted Public Health mobile vaccination clinics at most of our schools.  A second round of mobile clinics will be offered when the Pfizer vaccine becomes available for 5-11 year-olds.
Interactive Displays and 1:1 Technology Initiative
Recently, interactive displays that were ordered in June have been arriving at our secondary school sites.  The displays and mobile carts are being assembled and distributed to all middle and high school classrooms.  The next phase is to mount some of the displays on classroom walls.  We are very excited about the addition of this new technology tool for our classrooms.  Teachers are being trained on how to use the displays and are already doing a great job of using them as an instructional tool.
At the October 7, 2021 GUSD Board meeting, information was presented about the District’s 1:1 Technology Initiative. Chromebooks have been provided for every elementary school student in our District.  These computers will remain at school and be used to access a wide range of instructional resources during the day.  Middle and high school students have been assigned a Chromebook that can be used at school and taken home in order to complete assignments and to access resources.

Each year, on the first Wednesday in October, school districts across the state report their enrollment to the California Department of Education. The State uses this number for a number of purposes including funding for schools.  This year’s CBED’s (California Basic Educational Data System) enrollment was 10,634, which is 187 fewer students than a year ago.  The Gilroy Unified School District has been steadily declining for about five years.  The prior year’s enrollment, in fall 2020, was 314 students less than the fall 2019.  Almost all of the districts in Santa Clara County are declining in enrollment as are most districts in the Bay Area and State.  The primary reason for the decline is the steady decline in the birthrate.  The birthrate has hit an all-time low in the nation and in the state. Lower birthrates result in smaller kindergartens and eventually all other grades.  Enrollment drives staffing decisions, classroom sizes, and funding from the State to operate.
October 15, 2021 Professional Development Day for all GUSD staff
All GUSD staff will be attending professional development sessions on October 15, 2021.  There will be no school that day for students.
COVID19 Testing
I am pleased to share with you that the South County Annex, the former Antonio Del Buono Elementary School, has resumed walk-in COVID-19 testing, Monday-Friday, from 10:00 am-4:30 pm.  No appointment is necessary.  The South County Annex is located at 9300 Wren Avenue in Gilroy.  More information is available online.  
Counseling Referrals
As we return to a more normal way of life, we understand that families and children have suffered some trauma as a result of the pandemic. GUSD is lucky to have partner organizations, as well as dedicated staff members, to provide individual and group counseling options for students and families.  If your child or your family is in need of support services, I encourage you to reach out to a trusted staff member at your child’s school, for help with an online referral.  Staff can request counseling services on behalf of a child or family, and any parent, guardian, or child can ask for help.  Our team is prepared to provide support for our school communities.  Please ask for the help you need.
October is traditionally homecoming season in our high schools, and I’m excited to see how our staff and students will celebrate this long-standing tradition on our campuses.  I continue to be impressed at how we transition back to those pieces of a school experience that create everlasting memories for our students.
Enjoy your weekend, and take care of each other,

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