October 23, 2020
We hope this correspondence finds you and your family safe and healthy. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this ever-changing environment. Since day one of the Coronavirus pandemic, most days have been unique and challenging. We would also like to recognize and thank all of our district teachers, support staff, and administrators for their dedication, hard work, and creativity to educate and support our students under these unique circumstances. Together, we will get through this pandemic.
The intent of this communication is to inform parents and the community of information regarding the current status of safely and cautiously phasing-in a reopening of our schools under the guidelines of the Ventura County Public Health Department. The communication is also to inform parents of the importance to complete a Parent Survey requesting the preferred method of instruction for their children. Please click on this link to access the survey. In advance, thank you for completing the survey by Friday, October 30th.
Health and Safety is a Priority
As it has been mentioned since the beginning of this pandemic, our focus will remain on the safety of our students and staff. Throughout our school closures, the District has worked closely with the Ventura County Office of Education and continues to follow the guidelines provided by the Ventura County Public Health Department and California Department of Education. The graphic to the right is a current snapshot of California’s status as it relates to positive COVID-19 cases.
As the information in the graphic indicates, Ventura County has met a positive mark on the State’s blueprint for reducing COVID-19 to move into the red tier (Substantial). By following the health and safety guidelines promoted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), our community’s collective efforts have assisted in moving our County from the purple tier to the red tier. Moving our County into the red tier loosens some restrictions. Since Ventura County has remained in the red tier for a minimum of two weeks, school districts have the opportunity to decide how and when to reopen schools with in-person instruction.
According to the Ventura County Recovers website (https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/), of the twenty-five zip codes in Ventura County, only three have more positive COVID cases than Santa Paula. Since August, our district has had eight staff members test positive for COVID-19.
Prior to reopening schools, the Board of Trustees will be presented information detailing a proposed safe and cautious phasing-in process. The information will include regional COVID-19 data, recommended small group instruction for students most in need of in-person instruction, ability to physically distance within facilities, and plans for supporting the health and safety of students and staff. We look forward to being able to address critical needs for students and families, support the mental health of students and staff, and provide rich teaching, learning, and socialization for our students. Administrative staff will continue to collaborate with district teachers and support staff leaders as we plan for a reopening in accordance with guidance from the Ventura County Public Health Department.
Everyone has demonstrated tremendous perseverance and resilience in the face of numerous changes and challenges. We have proven, that together, we can overcome what at times feels like an overwhelming situation. We encourage everyone to remain optimistic and continue moving forward with the intent to safely and cautiously return to school sites to educate our students in-person.
The District is currently providing tutoring services to students offered by classroom teachers. Please contact your child’s school for details. The District will also be expanding tutoring opportunities by contracting with the company Princeton Test Review. Students will be able to sign-in and request tutoring for English, math, science, social studies, Advanced Placement (AP) support, and foreign languages. Princeton Test Review will be available for students 24/7 and will have bilingual tutors ready to provide support between the hours of 11:00 a.m. through 11:00 p.m. Further information regarding this service is forthcoming. The District is also collaborating with Blanchard Community Library who has recruited a dedicated team of high school students to provide homework assistance to elementary students and their families. Homework help at Blanchard Library is available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. For more information, please call Olivia Castillo at 525-3615, ext. 202.
Mental Health and Well-Being
We have all undoubtedly been affected in one manner or another by the Coronavirus crisis. The mental health and well-being of our students and staff are of the utmost importance. If you see changes in your child’s behavior, please seek assistance from your medical provider or contact our Student Services Department at 805-933-8836.
Stay Connected with Us
There are several ways we are connecting with parents sharing information about the district, including social media and our website. Below is a short list of ways the public can stay informed:
School Board meetings - All Board meetings are being live-streamed and can be viewed at VCK12LS
- Previous board meetings are archived at http://www.kadytv.net/ as well as other recorded events.
- Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/santapaulaunified
- Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/santapaulausd/
As decisions are made by the Board of Trustees, parents will be kept informed. Again, the District wants to wish everyone the best and continues to hope you and your family remain safe and healthy. Thank you for your patience and understanding through these unusual and unique times.
Dr. Ed Cora