Weekly Reopening Update – March 12, 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

Dear GGUSD Families,

School Reopening Update
It was another exciting week in GGUSD as we successfully opened another 16 elementary schools.  As of today, all 45 of our elementary schools are open for in-person instruction as well as five intermediate schools, Mark Twain Special Education Center and Jordan Adult Transition Program. Visit our Facebook page for reopening photos that show the true joy as students return to campus and staff welcome them with red carpets, balloons, posters, and cheers!  

On Tuesday, March 9th, Orange County COVID-19 case rates fell to 6 per 100,000, meeting the state criteria for the Red Tier.  Additionally, Orange County’s test positivity rate is 3.2% and the health equity quartile positivity rate is 4.1% - both metrics in the moderate Orange Tier. In order to officially advance to a less restrictive tier, “a county must meet criteria for the next less restrictive tier for all measures for the prior two consecutive weeks.”  Assuming COVID-19 case rates remain low as expected, Orange County will officially advance to the Red Tier on Tuesday March 16, making school reopenings, possible beginning Wednesday, March 17. This allows us to move forward with our district reopening plans, reopening the remaining intermediate schools and Pacifica High School on March 17th  and the remaining high schools on March 22. According to CDPH guidance, schools can reopen the day after the county enters the Red Tier.

School Safety
We are truly grateful for all of our students, family and staff who have done an exceptional job following health and safety protocols to keep our schools safe.  Click here for our mask guidance which states that students are required to wear masks at all times.  Gaiters, bandannas, and masks with exhalation valves are not permitted.  Click here for our COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for Parents.

While we know that COVID-19 cases will occur, the spread of the virus is not happening at schools.  County, state and national health officials continue to affirm that schools are effectively combatting COVID-19 due to the stringent health and safety protocols we are following. Orange County Health Care Agency Deputy Health Officer Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong (CK) attended our GGUSD Choose Wellness event this week to provide a COVID-19 update to families, staff and students. As part of her presentation, Dr. CK confirmed that in all of its contact tracing efforts, OCHCA is not seeing the spread of COVID-19 occurring at schools but rather at private gatherings.

Planning for the Rest of the year, Summer and 2021-2022 School Year
Recently, CDPH guidance to schools has indicated increased flexibility around classroom spacing requirements and the district is working with each school site to determine the extent to which this flexibility can result in a positive impact on the amount of time students can be served. With schools reopened for in-person instruction, we are also planning for in-person summer school that includes targeted learning recovery across all grade levels as well as summer bridge programs at each school.  In respect to Fall of 2021, we are hopeful that state/county guidance for the fall will allow flexibility on physical distancing in a standard classroom, enabling 5 full days of in-person instruction; as state and local guidance is developed, we will keep you informed in respect to the fall. 

Choose Wellness
Nearly 500 parents, students and staff attended our Choose Wellness event on Monday, attending a variety of workshops focused on mental health and wellness led by local experts. If you missed the event, the videos and presentations can be viewed on our website at https://ggusd.us/ChooseWellness2021.

Mental health and wellness remain a priority now more than ever. In recent years, we have significantly expanded our school-based mental health supports for students, which has been so important in helping students cope with the academic and social-emotional challenges created by nearly a year of quarantining due to COVID-19.

Moving forward, we know that the best place for students to learn and to thrive is in the classroom. We ask for your continued partnership and support as we work together to ensure students enjoy meaningful, engaging learning with their teacher and peers in safe classroom environments.

As a reminder, the Daylight Savings Time change occurs this Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 a.m. when clocks will spring forward one hour.