COVID Update Jan 10, 2022

 
COVID Update

Dear Parents,

I think we can all agree that the first week back from break felt like a long one. While we were very glad to see our students and each other again, the increase in COVID cases presented some difficult circumstances. We had more than a hundred staff members and students absent because they were COVID positive and dozens more out due to quarantine (See the Dashboard), although our student positivity rate is still less than 2%. Testing labs were overwhelmed which delayed test results and notifications, and at-home tests are hard to find.

However, you all navigated these challenges with grace. Even in the face of adversity, I am feeling grateful for our parents, students and staff members who have worked so hard to be vigilant in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. I saw our staff and families persevering through obstacles. I witnessed our schools focus on the important work of instruction and fulfilling our students’ educational needs.

Below are a few updates. You can find more detail in my COVID safety update at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting (the video is here).

School closure/remote learning
Some of you have asked about this. The rules for offering virtual instruction are different from last year. Current California law does not allow schools to offer distance learning this year. Virtual learning can only be offered through the remote independent study program and families must choose to participate.

We are committed to continuing in-person instruction and have taken measures to ensure that we are doing so safely. However, it is possible that we may be forced to close classes or schools due to staffing shortages. In this case, we may be required to make up the days (depending on the amount) at the end of the year in order to maintain the minimum number of instructional days. At this time, we don’t anticipate that staffing shortages will require us to close a school, but we are committed to giving you as much advance notice as possible.

Changes to notification, testing and quarantine procedures
In the midst of this COVID surge and as officials learn more about the variants, changes to requirements for quarantine and testing are coming from the state and county. We are in the process of reviewing those changes and aligning our procedures. We will update you as soon as that is complete. Additionally, the influx of cases has required us to refine our notification process. The hard reality is we do not have the capacity to send weekly the numbers of letters we sent home this past week. With your feedback, we now have an opportunity to refine our communications to make them even more timely and efficient. Please look for more information to come.

Testing- recent numbers
* 325 at-home tests with 200+ donated by parents were distributed to parents by parents on Jan 3
* 5,000 test kits were distributed to students Jan. 5
* 92% of students are participating in on-campus pooled testing
* 34,000 student/staff swabs so far this year (October- December)
* 350 people were COVID tested on Dec. 29 at the District office

Vaccines - recent numbers
* 457 vaccines were given at clinics over winter break, for a total of almost 1,000 vaccines given at school clinics this school year.

COVID testing, quarantines, and COVID-related absences will continue this week, and likely for the foreseeable future. The good news is that experts say this surge will be of a relatively shorter duration. Thank you for your patience and support of MVWSD and of each other in the days to come.

Respectfully,

Ayindé Rudolph, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 
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