Brownell Happenings

September 3, 2021 update from Superintendent Flores: celebrating two weeks of school, COVID-19 updates, and vaccine clinics
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Staff and Families:

There are so many great things happening in GUSD!  Our schools have been in session in-person for almost two weeks and overall, things are going very well, thanks to the hard work of GUSD staff both to prepare for the reopening and to make sure things went well once students returned.  Here are some updates and reminders for you.

Reopening GUSD schools

The first few days were a major adjustment for everyone as students and staff learned new protocols and routines. I am proud of our school communities for taking care of each other by being consistent with mask wearing, remembering to wash hands frequently, practicing appropriate physical distancing during meals, and more.

Students and staff are wearing masks indoors with no issues.  Although masks are optional outdoors, most of our students and staff are wearing them outdoors also.

Pick-up and drop-off the first day was challenging with long lines just as they are every year but within a few days things were running smoothly at most sites.  Many thanks to family members who are picking up and dropping off students for remaining patient while waiting, and for being safe as children arrive and leave our campuses.  Many thanks to our staff members who have been supporting with traffic flow at our elementary school sites, including teachers, classified staff, District Office staff, members of our Maintenance and Operations team and site administration. 

School Site Visits

I started my formal visits to schools this past week beginning with the three middle schools.  As I toured the campuses and visited classrooms with Board members, things looked much like they did before the pandemic especially in the classrooms.  Teachers were teaching using a variety of materials, best practices and new technology that they used during the at-home learning. Students were engaged, on task, and eager to participate.  It was exciting to see teachers using the interactive touch screen displays.  The classrooms and campuses looked great.  At every school, staff and students spoke to us about how happy they are to be back in person.  I visit all of our school sites three times a year and I am particularly excited to connect with our students and staff in person this year after virtual visits on Zoom last year.

COVID-19 update

Community transmission of COVID19 in Santa Clara County is still high with over 350 new cases daily, primarily among unvaccinated individuals.  As you would expect, we are learning  about cases in the district.  Thankfully, most parents are keeping their children home if they have symptoms or have tested positive.  Staff are doing the same if they have symptoms or test positive.   There have been very few cases of students coming to school with COVID19 and we are following all of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reporting guidelines in these cases including the number of days of quarantine and required notifications.

Recently, we added a COVID-19 dashboard to our website.  You can view that information here.  Information is updated weekly.  Similarly, this webpage also shows the most current quarantine decision tree for TK-12 school-based exposures.  This information is given to all school districts in Santa Clara County by the Public Health Department and is updated by the agency as needed.  GUSD continues to follow all guidelines from the State and County Public Health Departments and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

At-Home Health Screenings

Before coming to campus each day, staff and students (with assistance from family members) must complete daily health screenings for COVID-19 symptoms.

Are you (or your child) experiencing any of the following symptoms or have you (or your child) experienced the following symptoms within the past 48 hours?

·         Fever (100.0 F or higher?)

OR respiratory symptoms including coughing or shortness of breath

OR acute loss of taste or smell

OR repeated shaking with chills

  • OR any of the following symptoms that are new and cannot be explained by another reason: fatigue, body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

·         OR do you live with, or have you been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19?

Parents and students, if you answer "yes" to any of these questions, please stay home and call your child's school for further direction.

Staff, if you answer “yes” to any of these questions, please stay home and call your supervisor.

Visit the CDC COVID-19 website for more information about COVID-19 symptoms and self-screening.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of remaining vigilant about monitoring for potential COVID19 symptoms at home, before children come to school and before staff come to work.  The daily at-home health screening is essential to protecting vulnerable members of our community.  Please continue to check your children and yourselves for potential COVID exposure and then call your school’s health technician or nurse if you believe you have been exposed.  Thank you for helping to keep our school communities safe. 

COVID19 Testing Facilities in Gilroy

One of the biggest challenges our community is facing is limited COVID19 testing availability in Gilroy.  Due to the lack of testing provided in the City, we have begun to work on solutions apart from the resources in Gilroy to support the needs of our staff and students.  We are working on this right now and hope to have more testing capacity for our students and staff soon.  Please watch for upcoming announcements regarding expanded testing opportunities in Gilroy.

As of October 1, all unvaccinated staff must be tested weekly.  We are working hard to provide resources for these staff members to be tested frequently and with ease.

Mobile Vaccine Clinics

I am proud of the partnership between GUSD and the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health to provide mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics at many of our school sites.  Clinics have been held at Brownell Middle, South Valley Middle, Eliot Elementary and Rucker Elementary, and we have been successful in providing vaccines to almost 200 people!  We continue to work with Public Health to provide future clinics at our campuses.  Upcoming clinic dates and times include:

School Site Address Clinic Date and Time
Mt. Madonna High School 8750 Hirasaki Court Tuesday, September 7, 4-7 pm
Glen View Elementary 600 W. Eighth Street Wednesday, September 8, 2-7 pm
Christopher High School 850 Day Road Thursday, September 9, 4-7:30 pm

No appointment is necessary and insurance is not required to receive the vaccine at any of these clinics.  The County will administer vaccines to anyone age 12 and older and offer two vaccine options: Pfizer and Janssen.  Staff members will be available during the operating hours to support language needs and disability access.

There is no insurance, income or proof of immigration status requirement and no appointment is necessary. The County is offering gift cards to anyone getting vaccinated at these mobile clinics. 

If you have questions, please call (408) 970-2999.  For more information or to book an appointment, visit sccfreevax.org.

Food deliveries to Campuses

I want to remind our families that food deliveries to our campuses are not permitted, per Board policy.  If your child forgets to bring a lunch from home, our Child Nutrition Department is prepared to serve them a healthy meal.  This policy applies to all food brought from off-campus, including food brought from home. Our staff will refuse any attempted delivery of food items delivered to our campuses and the Gilroy Unified School District will not be held responsible for any costs associated with the ordering of food that violates this board policy.

Alternative Income Form

If you have not already done so, please complete the Alternative Income Form by September 25, 2021.  You can complete the form online using this link or download, print, and complete an application in English or Spanish.  Applications can be returned to your child’s school site by September 25, 2021.  Forms can also be downloaded and printed from our website.

The Gilroy Unified School District receives funding based on students that qualify for free or reduced meal program applications.

Since the 2021-2022 school year meal program provides meals at no cost to Gilroy Unified School District students, it is important to complete the Alternative Household Income application form before September 25, 2021 to ensure our District continues to receive crucial funding that supports:

  • Counseling, Intervention, and Reading/Math support from Title I funds
  • Professional Development for all staff from Title II funds
  • Support for English learners from Title III funds
  • Intervention, Teacher Aides, Counseling Services, Psychologist Services, Community Liaisons, Software Licenses for students, Teacher Instructional Support, and Instructional materials from Supplemental funds.

Thank you for completing an application and for your participation in this important funding initiative!

Finally, there is no school for GUSD students on Monday, September 6, in observance of Labor Day.  Please enjoy the long weekend and we will see you back on campus on Tuesday, September 7.  I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy the incredible end-of-summer weather that Gilroy is so lucky to have.

Take care of each other,

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

  • Reopening GUSD