News from USD
Virtual Town Hall Meeting: Save the Date (Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 6:30 PM) | August 30, 2021
Save the Date! September 8th, 2021 at 6:30 PM
Virtual Town Hall with Doctors about Optional Free Weekly Student Testing
Dear Union School District Families and Community,
We are pleased to share that we are partnering with healthcare professionals to provide regular, optional student testing at USD school sites starting mid-September. This new partnership with Grapefruit COVID Testing adds an additional layer in our safety protocols in order to continue to support healthy learning environments in USD.
We will be hosting an online Town Hall meeting with doctors from Grapefruit COVID Testing who will explain the optional COVID-19 testing program that will be available to all Union School District students attending school on campus. Only students whose parents/guardians authorize the testing would participate, and parents will receive secure, same-day results.
Message from Superintendent Dr. Andrews on District COVID Cases | August 23, 2021
Dear Union School District Families and Staff Members,
As of today, we have confirmed a total of 18 COVID positive cases from just last week within our school district (3 staff and 15 students). The number of COVID positive cases has risen, and as shared last Friday with our USD community, an immediate response is required to slow down any spread in our schools.
Due to this reality, and following consultation with our Board of Trustees, all USD students will be required to wear masks both indoors and outdoors for the next 30 days. This is a decision in alignment with CDC recommendations advising unvaccinated individuals to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings.
Tracking unmasked and unvaccinated students is problematic and challenging, and given the crowded nature of our school campuses during unstructured activity time such as playing during recess or socializing in groups, wearing masks provides an additional layer of protection when students are in close proximity to one another.
By taking this approach, we are seeking to contain the virus that we know is in our community from spreading further to lower the current infection rate so we can keep our kids in school and keep schools open. Students will be allowed to remove their masks when eating, drinking, or during vigorous exercise in physical education. As always, students will be allowed to remove their masks for short breaks outdoors, when distanced six feet from other people. This will allow students to get fresh air without creating health concerns for others.
Although I recognize that some in our community may not be in favor of this approach, I can state that this approach will allow for us to maintain our overall goal of keeping students in school.
Like you, I cannot wait to return to a normal where all of these mitigation strategies and/or requirements are no longer necessary. However, we are still in the middle of a pandemic that continues to evolve within our community.
On behalf of the Union School District, thank you for your support as we all do our part to minimize the spread of COVID in our community and as we work together to prioritize keeping kids in school.
Dr. Carrie Andrews
Update on Masking Outdoors | August 20, 2021
Union School District has consistently and will continue to follow the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department requirements and guidance. Health officials continue to share that vaccination and mask wearing are the most important defences against the spread and transmission of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
Currently, the CDPH requires all students and staff members to wear face masks indoors and does not require face masks in outdoor settings. While we know that COVID-19 and the Delta variant remain present in our community, USD will be taking additional precautions and adding a layer of protection in requiring face masks outdoors starting Monday, August 23rd.
While earlier this week our COVID-19 parent/guardian webinar indicated that masks are optional outdoors, the added precautionary measure is necessary at this time and will require students and staff to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors, except when eating or drinking during recess/lunch or during vigorous outdoor exercise in PE. As always, brief outdoor “face mask breaks” will still be allowed should a student need it.
To view District COVID-19 information and guidance, including webinar links, the District COVID-19 case dashboard, and other resources, visit the COVID-19 Response page on the District website.
Air Quality Update | August 18, 2021
Dear Union School District Community,
Unfortunately the state of California is in a significant drought and the 2021 wildfire season is upon us, one we are all too familiar with in our state and area. The impact of fires, smoke, and/or poor air quality is varied and complex.
Union School District refers to, and follows, the guidelines in the School Air Quality Activity Recommendations, which were created by the California Department of Education in partnership with the California Air Resources Board, California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, Association of California School Administrators, and California School Boards Association.
When the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange), unhealthy (red), or higher (purple and maroon), district staff consistently checks the websites below to inform our decisions as to when we will recommend our school limit outdoor activities per guidelines from the CA Environmental Protection Agency.
Updated 8/19/2021: View additional air quality/COVID-19 guidance as it relates to school activities. USD schools will monitor air quality and adjust activities based on CA Department of Education and CA EPA guidance.
As we navigate the impact resulting from poor air quality, including wildfire smoke that can be felt hundreds of miles from its origin, please see the following tips for activities outside of school. When AQI is in the orange tier or higher these tips are useful to protect against smoke and COVID-19:
Stay at home as much as possible with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside.
Limit trips outside while air quality remains unhealthy.
Continue to wear a face covering to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Minimize the amount of time you are active outdoors.
Set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.
Dr. Carrie Andrews
Webinar: In Person Learning & Responding to a COVID Case at School | August 18, 2021
We know that learning in person is essential for our students and as such, we will need to continue to be diligent and do our part as a community to adhere to requirements and health orders for schools set by the CA Department of Public Health and local health officials. Watch the webinar and learn more about how our schools respond to a positive covid case, and what you as parents and guardians will need to do to assist in keeping our students healthy and our classrooms open.
Message from Dr. Andrews | First Day & New CDPH Health Order for Schools | August 11, 2021
Dear Union Families and Guardians,
What a great day in the Union School District to be back together as a community in person. It was a pleasure to be at the school sites today to hear the students laughing, talking and being back together again. I had the sincere pleasure of helping some younger students find their classroom today at Carlton Elementary. You could certainly feel the excitement in the air for students, families and students. We are thrilled to have our students back on our fabulous Union School District school campuses to embark on a wonderful school year together.
As I previously shared prior to school starting, I am committed to continuing to keep you apprised of any changes from the Public Health Department that directly impact K-12 schools as it relates to new mandates or requirements to support the safety and well being of our students, staff and greater community.
This morning, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new public health order requiring all school employees in public K-12 schools to verify vaccination status of all employees, or test on a weekly basis, as a means to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and align with the state’s commitment to safe, in-person instruction.
Union School District has encouraged employees and eligible children to be vaccinated, and we will continue to follow the new, applicable health orders regarding vaccination verification and testing requirements. The Public Health Department continues to state that wearing face masks indoors and vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. By continuing these healthy practices and all campus safety guidelines and requirements, together we can continue to keep our campuses safe and our entire community healthy.
As a friendly reminder, make sure to mark your calendar for the Elementary Virtual Back to School Night on Wednesday, August 18th and Middle School Virtual Back to School Night on Thursday, August 19th. Your school principal will share details on your school’s Back to School Night programming. Looking forward to having a great school year in Union SD with all of you.
New District Website Launched | August 5, 2021
On August 5th, USD launched a streamlined and updated District website designed to inform the community, staff members and families.
The homepage at www.unionsd.org contains many links for easy access of information including department links, COVID-19 information, messages from the Superintendent, board meetings, and more.
Most of the information can be found in similar locations as the previous website, but should you have any difficulty finding something on the new site, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from USD | Health Webinar | August 5, 2021
Welcome to the 2021-22 school year! Our exemplary USD school staff has been eagerly preparing in anticipation of our students returning to school for a great year of learning, laughter and fun.
In preparation for the new school year we have created a welcome back USD webinar that outlines the mitigation strategies that are in place following the CDPH and local health department guidelines for schools. Given our students and staff had great success last Spring adapting to health guidelines and protocols while on campus, we are confident we will continue to safely operate our schools to prevent the spread of illness together.
Together, we can continue to provide healthy learning environments for our students, staff and greater community. It is going to be a great school year and I'm looking forward to seeing all the smiling faces back on campuses for the first day on August 11th.
Free Meals for All Students in 2021-22 | August 5, 2021
The Food Services staff is excited to share that for the 2021-22 school year, all meals are free and are available to all students. Payment for a school breakfast or lunch is not required when a student picks up a meal in the cafeteria.
If you have any questions about Food Services and breakfast and lunch at school, you can contact the food services department by calling (408) 377-8010 Extension 44203.
Notice of Alternative Learning Option (Independent Study) | July 27, 2021
In Union School District, we have been diligently preparing for the new school year with full in-person learning 5 days a week. This is in alignment with the state's emphasis of resuming full-time in-person instruction for students. As such, Distance Learning as implemented last school year is no longer an allowable learning alternative. Per recent state legislation, Independent Study is the only allowable option for students as an alternative to in-person learning. Independent Study as defined by the state is “an alternative to classroom instruction consistent with a school district’s course of study and is not an alternative curriculum.” Independent Study in USD will contain a mix of some online, classroom-style instruction with an overseeing teacher, and independent, at-home individualized learning overseen by the parent/guardian.
What this means for USD students
USD administrative staff strongly recommend that students return to school campuses for in-person learning which encompasses a well-rounded academic and social-emotional experience. With multi-layered mitigation protocols such as universal masking indoors, frequent hand washing, ventilation, and parent responsibility to keep symptomatic children home, we feel confident we are providing a safe learning environment.
However, for families with health concerns, Independent Study will be offered in partnership with an approved independent, online school. The state assembly bill updates regarding independent study were made available July 12. USD is quickly working to determine a program that will adhere to the updated legislation (AB 130).
Please note that independent study is meant as an alternative for families whose members may have health risks. Although Independent Study is primarily done at home, there are live interaction requirements where the designated online school will support our students. Independent Study is not intended for students who reside temporarily out of the district. Families enrolling in USD’s Independent Study program must meet all residency requirements.
Complimentary Grab & Go Meals Summer Pick-Up Days at Dartmouth Middle | June 25, 2021
Starting June 28th, pick-up day will change to one day a week! A week of meals are available to parents/guardians for any student 18 years and under... Continue to view the summer schedule.
If Monday is a holiday, meals will be provided on Wednesday.
Time: 11:00am to 12:30pm
Meals distribution on Monday, June 28, 2021, will include 9 lunches and 9 breakfasts:
Lunch for the period of June 28th to July 6th
Breakfast for the period of June 29th to July 7th
Due to Fourth of July holiday closure on Monday, July 5, 2021, meals distribution on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, will include 5 lunches and 5 breakfasts:
Lunch for the period of July 7th to July 11th
Breakfast for the period of July 8th to July 12th
Meals distribution on Monday, July 12, 2021, will include 7 lunches and 7 breakfasts:
Lunch for the period of July 12th to July 18th
Breakfast for the period of July 13th to July 19th
Please note that the meals are free of charge for children 18 years of age and younger. Children do not need to be present at meal pick-up, parents/guardians can pick up the meals.
Updated USD Mask Policy for Students and Staff | June 16, 2021
California fully reopened its economy on June 15, 2021 and eased restrictions that have been in place through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has stated that “school masking requirements remain in place and masks are required in all school settings. Going forward, CDPH will continue to provide guidance around youth settings.”
Our USD face mask requirements for indoors along with all other classroom safety measures and protocols will remain in effect through all summer programs and until further notice.
Updated USD Mask Policy:
All students and staff on USD campuses for USD summer programs must continue to wear a face mask inside school buildings regardless of vaccination status.
Students and staff on USD campuses for USD summer programs do not need to wear a mask outdoors (but may wear one if they choose), even when they can’t keep social distance.
All students and staff must continue to wear a face mask when they are on USD provided transportation.
Daily Health Screening:
Fever* or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
*Students may not return to school unless they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
We anticipate the CDPH will be issuing directives for schools for the 2021-2022 school year later this summer, which we will then share with you.
Union School District Names Dr. Carrie Andrews as New Superintendent | May 24, 2021
The Union School District Board of Trustees is pleased to announce Dr. Carrie Andrews as the district’s next superintendent, effective July 1, 2021. The Board would like to thank staff and community members for providing valuable input through focus groups and surveys that culminated in a profile of the desired leadership characteristics and skills for the next Superintendent.
With nearly 20 years in education, Dr. Andrews possesses extensive background in academia, public service and has dedicated her career to serving the needs of all students. A strong operational professional and collaborative leader, Dr. Andrews’ priorities include development and support of the whole child, social and emotional wellness and achievement, all hallmarks in Union School District. Currently, Dr. Andrews is superintendent of San Jose’s Cambrian School District, where she has worked since 2013.
“I’m eager to continue the work in the Union School District, which has such an outstanding reputation in the community for its support of student development and academic excellence,” Dr. Andrews said. “While grateful for the over eight years of opportunities presented in Cambrian School District, I look forward to developing new partnerships and carrying on the exceptional legacy of the Union School District.”
Over the course of her professional career, she has also held leadership roles as an assistant superintendent of personnel, elementary school principal, teacher, and University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) graduate teacher. For the past 17 years, Dr. Andrews’ public work in education has been centralized to the Santa Clara area. Prior to this, she served in school communities from New Zealand, Minneapolis suburbs, southern California and the Central Valley of California.
Dr. Andrews received a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and earned both her Masters and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership and Organization from UCSB. In her family, she is a first generation college graduate. While pursuing her Doctorate degree, she continued working in schools and supporting future educators by serving in the Teacher Education Department. There, she worked as a student teacher supervisor, overseeing graduate students pursuing teaching credentials.
Originally from Minnesota, Dr. Andrews has lived in the Bay Area for over 17 years and California for over two decades. She is mother to three boys, ages 12, 14 and 16. As a parent and educator, Dr. Andrews is able to understand firsthand the varying ways children need support today in conjunction with social emotional health, physical wellness and academic progress/achievement.
Dr. Andrews credits her achievements to a shared vision for holistic student wellness and learning with dedicated stakeholders, open communication, mutual trust, and unwavering commitment to all students. She is honored to continue to build upon Union School District’s foundation of excellence, in collaboration with the staff, students, parents and larger community.
As a means to get to know Dr. Andrews, the District will hold ‘meet and greet’ opportunities for students, staff and community prior to the 2021-22 school year.
The Science of Trauma and How to Help Your Child: Webinar
View the recorded presentation of a recent webinar led by Manager of Student Services, Julianne DiCocco M.A. and Mental Health Therapist Meagan Serra, LMFT. The session highlighted information and strategies for parents and caregivers to navigate the challenges and impacts of COVID-19 on children.