Union School District Updates
Shared on March 11, 2020 - COVID-19 Update
COVID-19 continues to be on all of our minds. I want to assure you that the health and safety of our students and staff remains a top priority. In an effort to keep you informed, I want to address the questions we have received regarding potential school closures and distance learning options.
Community members have asked why we are not closing schools. In consultation with the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, they have advised us that broadly closing schools is a decision that should not be taken lightly and is a last resort as it causes significant community disruption. Not every family or parent has the time off or the financial security to stay home from work with their child. Many families rely on schools and staff for basic needs for their children, including regular meals, health care and child care. If schools shut down, vulnerable families will experience the greatest burden and suffer negative impacts.
In addition, when schools close, children have to go somewhere. For many families this either means parents or relatives, such as grandparents, need to take care of them. Potential workforce shortages due to closed schools may blunt our health care system’s response to COVID-19. Additionally, there may be an increase in exposure for the most vulnerable people in our community – older individuals, as they may be caring for children at home.
We recognize that some children have underlying health conditions, such as weakened immune systems, that put them at higher risk. Caregivers of children with underlying health conditions should consult with healthcare providers about whether their children should stay home from school. We will work with you to make learning accessible to your child.
Currently, if a staff member or student in a specific school is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Public Health Department will work with individual schools, school districts and the County Office of Education, based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case, on whether closure of that school is warranted. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, local public health officials may also direct a temporary school(s) closure to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
We have received a handful of messages from families inquiring why our district does not move to a distance learning program as some colleges and universities have already done. We are developing plans in order to prepare teachers to transition students to an at-home learning model in the event a prolonged school closure becomes necessary. These include:
- Assessing and creating infrastructure for access to online tools from home
- Preparing teachers in the potential delivery of online instruction via websites and Google Classroom
- Preparing materials for families if access to online tools is limited or unavailable
If you have specific information regarding the health of a child or adult, please contact your principal. Our staff is dedicated to planning and working with agencies proactively and will continue to keep you informed during this process.
Shared on March 6, 2020 - COVID-19 Update
Union School District, in partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Yesterday, the County Public Health Department issued additional guidance regarding school closures, large community events and travel.
First and foremost, no school closures will occur without the authorization of the County Public Health Department in consultation with the district and the County Superintendent of Schools. At this time, all Union School District schools remain open.
To decrease the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the following guidance is in effect immediately and will remain in effect through April 3rd:
- Any events that have large gatherings of people will be postponed or cancelled.
- For indoor events or activities, individuals must be at least an arm’s distance from one another.
- Events involving travel will be postponed or cancelled.
Principals will be notifying their communities regarding which individual school events will be affected.
As shared previously, preventive measures such as increased hygienic practices, especially hand-washing, are still the best method for stopping the spread of any infectious disease. Custodial staff will continue daily cleaning of high-touch classroom surfaces, and site techs will be cleaning shared technology devices. District staff will continue to follow CDC guidance and monitor international travel for new enrollees and families returning from independent studies.
The situation is evolving. Information and guidance may change rapidly. We will keep our community updated with the latest information, and we appreciate your understanding and support.
Shared on March 4, 2020 - COVID-19 Update
Union School District (USD), in partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) and the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department (CSCPHD), continues to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Coordinated Efforts with County of Santa Clara Public Health Department
At USD, we will continue to follow the directives and guidance of our public health department and will keep our staff and families informed as we receive additional information. For the most up-to-date information on public health notifications, please visit the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department website
The CSCPHD has also shared with us:
- “It is important to remember that, for about 80% of the population, this disease will be mild. While many persons in our community may get sick, the vast majority will recover. The added measures are being used to protect those in our community who are likely at greatest risk for having severe disease,” said Dr. George Han, Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara.
- Information about risk factors for COVID-19 infection is evolving, but the best evidence currently available makes clear that risk of severe illness begins to increase at age 50 for those who contract COVID-19, and increases with age (i.e., an 80-year-old person is at greater risk than a 70-year-old person). The highest risk group are persons age 80 and over.
County health officials stress that basic hand-washing hygienic practices are the best method for stopping the spread of any infectious diseases, and we encourage all families to review the following with their students:
First and foremost, if your student is sick, please keep them at home. Students should not return to school until they do not have a fever for 24 hours without medication.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Get vaccinated every year.
- The California Department of Public Health does not recommend the use of face masks for general prevention. It is recommended that hand washing provides better protection from infectious diseases.
USD Additional Preventative Measures
At our schools, we are taking the following measures:
- Staff have been informed of all preventative measures and protocols and health official recommendations will be reviewed at staff meetings.
- Custodial staff have been trained and are revisiting protocols for cleaning.
- Custodial staff are increasing the regular disinfecting of classroom surfaces using broad-spectrum disinfectants that kill a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. Site techs are cleaning shared technology devices daily.
- Hand-sanitizer has been ordered for classrooms and is scheduled for delivery the week of March 9.
- Office staff have been trained to ask all new enrollees to district schools as well as families returning from independent studies if there has been any recent international travel to the higher-risk countries. These countries include those defined as Level 2 or 3 by the CDC: China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan. For direct travelers returning from China, there is a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days. Direct travelers from Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan are recommended to stay home for 14 days and monitor symptoms.
- If a student has traveled to one of the countries above, families should contact their student’s school by phone upon return to the United States. School office staff will keep in touch with families to coordinate students’ return to school. If you are planning any travel in the future, please consider the CDC FAQs about Travel.
- We are in communication with the SCCOE and CSCPHD to keep our communities informed with the latest information.
We also need your help to avoid unfounded rumors and misinformation from circulating. Widespread media attention and rumors can be anxiety-provoking for many, but especially for students and those who struggle with anxiety. We want to make sure our students and staff feel safe and that we can deploy resources where they are needed most instead of focusing on inaccurate information. We ask if any parent or staff member has a concern about a health-related issue at their school, that they bring that concern directly to the principal and not circulate rumors or speculation among the students or staff at a school.
The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority and we have taken steps at all of our schools sites to address the spread of infectious diseases including COVID-19. Together, we can ensure our community stays informed. We appreciate your cooperation and support.