Weekly Reopening Update - February 11, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Dear GGUSD Families,

This week’s COVID-19 case rate numbers posted by the Orange County Health Care Agency showed another week of substantial decline in the COVID-19 rates for our area. While none of our zip codes meet the metric of 25 (or lower) per 100,000 required to reopen, an increasing number of schools are very close. If rates continue to decline, we anticipate that many schools will meet the metric soon and will begin reopening for in-person instruction over the next few weeks. Click here to view this week’s COVID-19 rates by zip code.   

As a reminder, according to the district’s reopening plan, elementary schools that reach COVID-19 case rates of 25 (or lower) per 100,000 will be able to resume in-person instruction for TK-2nd grade students following their COVID-19 rates reaching 25 (or lower) per 100,000. Elementary principals will notify families with at least five working days of advanced notice of their reopening date and schedule. Secondary schools that did not previously open may not reopen for in-person instruction until Orange County returns to the Red Tier. Once schools are reopened, they will not close unless mandated by the county or state.

Thank you to the hundreds of families who attended our Health and Safety webinars this week, which provided an overview of the safety measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses. If you were not able to attend, click here for the video or visit https://ggusd.us/healthandsafety for the presentation materials and videos.

With the majority of Orange County School districts open by the end of this month and several that have never closed - we are confident that we, like most districts, have every precaution in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.  While it’s important to understand that we have and will continue to see positive cases of COVID-19 among our staff and students, county data shows that spread of the virus is not occurring on school campuses. One of our newest safety precautions includes on-site COVID-19 testing for staff and students at schools that reopen for in-person instruction. After your child(ren)’s school has a confirmed reopening date, you will receive an email with instructions on how to pre-register to grant permission for your child to participate in the free self-administered COVID-19 nasal swab testing.

The COVID-19 tests are completely voluntary and will be self-administered by students under the supervision of school staff. The PCR COVID-19 testing kits are a non-invasive nasal swab that students will insert approximately ½ to ¾ inch into the nose. The COVID-19 testing is offered through our district’s partnership with the California Department of Public Health and sent to the Valencia Regional Lab.  Results will be sent via text or email to parents within 24 to 48 hours. More information to come.

Our focus on health and safety extends to the mental health and wellness of our students, staff and families. All parents, staff, and secondary students are invited to our Choose Wellness Event on Monday, March 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 which will feature workshops led by local experts on a variety of mental health and wellness topics like building resiliency during a pandemic, stress reduction for parents, the effects of social media on mental health, suicide prevention, and more.  Visit https://bit.ly/ChooseWellness2021 to register, select the workshops you plan to attend and request interpretation if needed.

GGUSD’s Board of Education values the diversity represented in our student population and the communities we serve. Across the district, our schools are hosting many virtual celebrations to recognize the Lunar New Year, a well-known holiday among Asian communities. Students in our schools and classrooms are also honoring Black History Month and learning about the countless contributions African Americans have made nationwide and throughout the world. We believe that our diversity unites us and every culture possesses wonderful values and traditions.

As always, we remain grateful for the patience and partnership of our GGUSD families.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if our elementary school’s COVID-19 rates don’t fall to 25 per 100,000 by February 9th. When will we reopen? Elementary schools will be able to resume in-person instruction for TK-2nd grade students no later than the month following their COVID-19 rates reaching 25 (or lower) per 100,000.  We are checking these numbers weekly and will provide schools and families at least five working days of advance notice prior to their reopening date.

My child is in third through sixth grade. How soon can these students return for in-person instruction after
 the school is allowed to reopen? Schools can either bring third through sixth grade students back immediately once allowed to reopen or in tiers. Families will receive a message from the school principal regarding their reopening schedule.

If COVID-19 numbers spike again after our school reopens, will we be forced to close again?  Schools that are reopening for in-person instruction will only close if mandated to do so by the county or state.

Will my child be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to attend school? The district does not currently have any plans for requiring vaccinations of students for COVID-19, pending any state or county direction to do so (which there has not been to present). The CDPH and OCHCA dictate which immunizations/vaccinations are required for school attendance and, thus far, they have not indicated that the COVID-19 vaccination will be required for students. Additionally, vaccinations are not yet available for children under age 16.

Are vaccines available for school staff? Nurses, health assistants and a small group of specialized instructional aides have begun receiving the COVID-19 vaccine which is administered by the county and is only available for critical and health care workers, law enforcement working in high-risk settings and adults aged 65 and older. Educators will be eligible in the next round of vaccines.  GGUSD is partnering with OCDE and OCHCA to ensure our staff have access to vaccines as soon as possible.

What is the current status of athletics? GGUSD will soon allow for competition in low contact sports including cross country and tennis. The remaining sports remain in strength and conditioning until Orange County returns to the Red Tier.

Will my child be able to attend school in person, once in-person instruction resumes, if he/she has had COVID-19? Yes. Once in person learning returns to your child’s school site, your child will be able to come to school in person after all isolation and quarantine requirements are fulfilled. Your child may return school at least 10 days from onset of symptoms or date of positive test, be 24 hours fever free without use of fever reducer, and symptoms are resolved.

Why is my child’s school asking for information about my child testing positive for COVID-19? To ensure that state and local public health experts can respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19, the State of California requires school districts to report all known positive cases to the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA). The reporting of these cases helps OCHCA understand the extent of disease transmission in our communities and allows appropriate support with treatment and prevention strategies. The information is confidential and not shared with any other government agency.

Can my child return to campus for Boys and Girls Club, athletics, in-person instruction or other activities if they are not up-to-date on required immunizations or physical exams? No, families must continue to adhere to the state requirements relating to health exams, oral health assessments and immunizations. Click here for the list of requirements by grade. The COVID-19 pandemic has not altered these requirements.