Coronavirus (COVID-19)/District Updates

November 22, 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and School Staff,

The district was informed on November 22, 2020, that a student/staff member who was on the school campus at Albert Michelson Elementary tested positive for COVID-19. The last date of known exposure to the classroom/school was Tuesday, November 17.  

Due to the shortened holiday week, in an abundance of caution, we will be shifting to Distance Learning Choice Board assignments for ALL classrooms at Albert Michelson Elementary  for Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, November 23-25. Please use the choice board assignments and turn in the work for each day when your student returns on Monday, November 30. If you do not return the log sheet and assignments, your student will be marked absent for the day. All rooms will be receiving deep cleaning as an extra precaution.
 
The District and Calaveras Public Health are working together to identify persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Calaveras Public Health is in the process of calling people identified as close contacts to give further instructions. Due to privacy laws, we cannot share specific information about persons placed under mandatory quarantine or isolation. We ask that you also respect the privacy of those in our community as well.

It is very important you answer the phone if Public Health calls you. A Contact Tracer may be trying to reach you in the next few days with important information. 

If anyone in your household begins showing symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Let them know you were notified of a possible exposure. Calaveras Public Health urges anyone who would like to get tested for COVID-19 to please do so. For more information about a testing site please visit: https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call 1-888-634-1123.

We are working with Public Health to keep our school community safe.

  • We will follow the Public Health’s guidance about any classroom/school closure. If a classroom/school is closed, you will receive a formal closure notice.
  • We are cleaning and disinfecting at the school per Public Health’s guidance.
  • For information or community resources on Calaveras County specific COVID-19, please see https://covid19.calaverasgov.us


If you or someone you know is feeling extreme stress or built up emotions, the county has mental health resources. 

  • If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call (800) 499-3030 or (800) 273-8255.
  • For peer support, a listening ear for persons seeking emotional support call the Calaveras Warmline (209) 754-6807 or (209) 754-2805.


The health and safety of students and staff is our highest priority. We thank you for your on-going support during this hard time. The District will keep closely monitoring this situation as we work with local and state health officials.

If you have any questions, please contact Louise Simson, Assistant Superintendent, at 650-996-3290.

Sincerely,

James L. Frost
Superintendent

Below is a message from Superintendent Frost regarding our school re-opening for Fall:
August 12, 2020
 

Dear Vallecito School District Community,

        Last night the VUSD Board voted to open school for the 2020/21 school year using the distance learning model through the first trimester. This difficult decision was made based on several issues surrounding the increasing COVID - 19 numbers in our county, the lack of workers compensation protection for our valued employees and lack of liability protection for the District. 

        Board President Sarah Wilson reassured everyone that our main objective is to return students to regular attendance when we have all the proper protections in place. The Board also directed staff to continue working on improving the distance learning model which has already started. We want to reassure everyone that our staff has already assessed areas of needed improvement over our emergency situation last year and have developed a more structured, consistent and user-friendly model to be used next year. These ongoing improvement efforts have been aided by the passage of Senate Bill 98 which outlines many new requirements for the distance learning model. Because all students will be learning from home for the first weeks of school, we have discontinued enrolling new students in the Home School Academy. 

        Meanwhile, in addition to improving our distance learning model we will be working hard to refine our return to school plan so we will be ready to return students to school when conditions allow.

        We want to thank everyone for their patience during these very stressful times and especially those who have actively participated in this process.


Jim Frost

Superintendent

 
 
Be well and take care,
Louise Simson
Principal/Assistant Superintendent

April 22, 2020

 

Dear Vallecito Community,

     

      Through this entire international crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus we have chosen to take a cautious approach in calling an end to school for the entire year with the hope that if in the opinion of health officials, we could at some point reopen our schools. This hope is generated by hearing so many students, parents and teachers desire to return to a normal school day and by the fact that so many of our students will be missing out on truly special events that become lifetime memories.

 

       However, it is becoming increasingly evident that the possibility of reopening and of holding summer programs will not be possible. Yesterday at the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting Dr. Dean Kelaita, our County Health Officer, put out a timeline for school activities that keeps schools closed to attendance through the end of the summer. So, at this time we will continue to provide our online learning through the regular school year ending on June 5th. We will be cancelling our summer educational programs and moving our extended school year program for qualifying special education students to an online format. Meanwhile Principals and school staffs will be planning alternate activities for promotions and other events so that our children can enjoy the celebration of success that comes with the completion of the school year. 

 

         When school does finally open in the fall, I believe that we will receive guidance regarding how classrooms operate and a list of policies and procedures that must be followed when we open. This is a work in progress by health officials and we will communicate these to you when we receive them. Meanwhile we will continue to communicate to you when new information comes to us.  We appreciate your patience as we work through these unique times.

 

         Again, I want to thank staff, parents and students for their excellent work and positive attitudes that have been consistently displayed. I have seen some pretty creative and fun learning experiences that have been done online. It is impressive what people can create in unusual and sometimes difficult circumstances. Please remember if you need any information or need assistance for any type of problem where we may be of help, please give us a call. The District Office is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm every day but Friday. The number is 209-795-8500. Please stay safe and healthy.

 

                                                                                                                      Jim Frost

                                                                                                                      Superintendent   

April 16, 2020



Dear Vallecito School Community,


       I hope this communication finds you and your family well during this unique and sometimes stressful time. In my 36 years in school administration when confronted with a difficult problem I have witnessed people wringing their hands and coming up with long list of why we can’t move forward. This is clearly not the case in the Vallecito Community. Instead of honoring the problem our community has worked tirelessly to solve the problem and they have succeeded. Because of this “can do” attitude we have cause for both celebration and hope for the future.


      Presently we have no new direction from state and local authorities to do anything toward moving to a more normalized school situation. So, for the time being things will stay status quo. I have been in contact with other Superintendents in our county and it is the consensus that we will work toward the goal of normalizing our school routine for the start of the next school year. We will be working with the Calaveras County Department of Health in this effort and will not implement plans until we get approval from our medical experts.


      Scott Nicotero will be working with his staff to plan some sort of 8th grade promotional activity so we can appropriately recognize our students for their accomplishments in our District. Although there will be no Frog Jump celebration in Calaveras County this year, we will adhere to our school calendar so count on May 14th and 15th being non-school days. Remember, if your job status has changed you can go online and fill out the paperwork for the free meal program. Please call Louise Simson at 650-996-3290 by Friday. If you are already on the program and received food, there is no need to call, your order will be ready for pick-up. 


      Finally, my biggest concern today is for families whose lives have been so altered by the economic and social realities of this crises that they have become dysfunctional in any number of ways. If you believe that this is the case, please let us know so we can direct District resources or appropriate county resources to your family. Our District Office number is 209-795-8500.


    Please stay safe and healthy. Below this message we have posted some fun pictures of our students learning at home that I think you will enjoy.


Sincerely,

Jim Frost

Superintendent 

 
March 22, 2020
 
We APPRECIATE our Staff, Parents and Guardians!
 
Dear Michelson Community,

Wow! What a difference a week makes. Since we received the school closure late Sunday afternoon, Michelson teachers and staff have transformed the site based learning opportunity to a home school setting incorporating hands on and robust tech learning. I AM SO PROUD and GRATEFUL to this entire staff for working together during this uncharted time. The extra hours and effort put out by so many are too numerous to "shout out" individually, but I am touched about their passion for their jobs and kids.

I am EQUALLY in awe about how our parent/guardian community has just embraced this "new normal".  When I called everyone to touch base Thursday and Friday, everyone was committed to try their best. Materials have been picked up, classrooms logged into, and learning is on-going. It is stellar!

Know that the teachers and staff are HERE FOR YOU. Make phone appointments, send emails, let us help you with your students' learning. We are "in session" and ready to teach. Different programs are being talked about to support reading and Barton, and we should have next steps shortly.

Mrs. Lewis and Mr. Nunn are also pushing out mini-math videos on the Cable Vision Channel 7 (Public Access) for some 4th and 5th grade math skills. These are scheduled to air as a "loop" on Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 10:00 a.m. We hope to have other teachers posting math videos there shortly as we get underway.

The pick up tables are still out front with a few families that have not yet retrieved the work. Those will remain outside, along with the take/donate food drive. We also put out all of the lost and found items in case you are looking for that special jacket. The completed work bin for AME is also on the table.

I wish you and your family peace, health and happiness during this time. I am grateful to live in a place where everyone cares about each other. We put the word out for the simple things like internet access, and the whole community responds to help a kid.

Be well and take care,

Louise Simson
Principal/Assistant Superintendent
 
Communication from Superintendent James Frost - April 1, 2020
 

4/1/2020


Dear Vallecito School Community,


       First, I would like to thank our teaching staff, classified staff and our parent/guardian community for all their efforts as we meet the new challenges of this global pandemic. I know that everyone is working hard to minimize the impact of having to close our schools. There are so many examples of people "stepping up to the plate" in a heroic way to make the transition to our new reality as smooth as possible. At this time, we have a very small number of students we are concerned about not being engaged in the learning and we will continue to reach out to them. I would also like to acknowledge the volunteer efforts of Sue and Mike Rosenquist and Scott McReynolds as they have helped us organize and distribute food for the lunch program.


     I know that people are anxious to know what is happening and when school will resume as normal. I receive numerous levels of guidance from state and local officials both from the health side and the education side and all indications are that we need to plan for not reopening schools the remainder of the year. I hate to make this a hard and fast proclamation as there are still too many variables in play. It is painful to see students missing their daily interaction with their teachers and friends as there are many fun learning experiences and activities at the end of the year that have become part of our rite of passage. These culminate with the 8th grade promotional celebration that students have earned as they move on to high school. If at all possible we would like to mitigate these losses. However, safety is our first consideration and we will not move forward with opening school or scheduling activities until it is totally safe. So, at this point it is my best guess that we will be in this distance learning environment for the remainder of the year.


      I realize that this is a difficult and unstable time for many of our families. Please, if your job status has changed you most likely will qualify for our free and reduced lunch and breakfast program for your children. If this is the case go online to our website where you can fill out the forms and become part of the program. We are distributing food at both Michelson and Hazel Fischer on Wednesdays from 11:00 am until noon. If there are other kinds of stressors in your family please reach out so we can help with district resources or assist in finding county resources. Other than during the spring break week, April 6th – 10th, staff is available on campus from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. If not, the District Office number is 209-795-8500.


       In closing, I want to thank you again for your flexibility and extra effort during this difficult time. Be safe!  


James L. Frost

Superintendent

March 22, 2020
 
 
VUSD UPDATE 3/22/20

I would just like to update our VUSD Community regarding the on-going situation with our school closures.  I know we are all getting bombarded by different media with often conflicting information. We are following the advice of local and state health authorities and will follow their recommendations regarding the reopening of schools.

Meanwhile, we will remain closed and will continue working to deliver instruction in the best way possible.  We will also maintain our food service on a reservation basis for those students who qualify for the program.  Mrs. Olson, our food service director, has done an outstanding job organizing food deliveries for our families.  We appreciate our parents’ enthusiastic efforts to utilize instructional materials and activities that our teachers and staff are providing on-line and in hard copy format.

I want to acknowledge the way our certificated and classified staff have responded to this emergency in such a professional and high-level manner to deliver on-going quality instruction.  Since this is a new situation, I have been entirely impressed by the creative and innovative manner teachers and staff have developed lessons for their students. I also want to acknowledge our support staff for their on-going efforts to enhance instruction and make sure that the District functions during this difficult time.  Director of Technology, Theo Edwards, and his tech team need to be congratulated for providing the capacity to ensure hardware was available for students to continue to learn online.  

Finally, I would like to thank all our parent/guardian community for their cooperation and their determination to make sure that during this difficult time there is minimal impact to their students’ education.   We have demonstrated what it truly means to be a community. If any of our families are experiencing extreme difficulties regarding health or safety during this time, please reach out to the district office at (209) 795-8500, so we can help direct you to the appropriate District or community resources. 

Sincerely,
 
James L. Frost
Superintendent

 

 

March 16, 2020
Dear VUSD Community,
VUSD will transition all of our schools to distance learning beginning Thursday, March
19, 2020.
Distance learning means that students do not physically attend school but receive and
complete lessons at home. We recognize that our families have different levels of
access to the internet. Preparations for distance learning will take this into
consideration. While distance learning is new to us, our teachers are committed to our
students. We thank you in advance for your patience as we implement new processes
and tools.
An assigned teacher will contact your family and explain next steps.
FOR STUDENTS:
● Students will remain at home Monday, March 16 - Friday, April 10.
● THIS IS A FLUID SITUATION. PLEASE CHECK PARENT SQUARE FOR
FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS.
● Students can complete lessons on-line or via hard copy. Teachers will
contact all parents over the next few dates to determine if internet/computer
is available or if alternate materials are required.
● Students can complete the lessons and turn them in online or turn them in at
the tables at the front of the school.
● Students may access teacher support by contacting their teacher during
regular school hours by emailing or calling the front office numbers:
■ Albert Michelson Elementary School - 728-3441
■ Avery Middle School - 795-8520
■ Hazel Fischer Elementary School - 795-8030
■ Teachers will also respond to emails on their district account,
classroom web pages or via a classroom app that has been set up.
■ Parents will conference with the teacher about current work
assignments as needed via phone or web pages.
● Students are responsible for returning all work as assigned.
● This work will be graded and will become part of the students’ record. We would
appreciate parent support of work completion, but please let your students do the
work independently, so we can determine if there are gaps in student learning.
MEAL PROGRAM:
We understand that many of our students rely on the food program. In order to continue
to provide breakfast and lunch meal service, parents/guardians whose students are on
the free and reduced program at ANY DISTRICT SITE can receive food items by doing
the following:
● Place an order for meal supplies by contacting Michelson Elementary School at
728-3441 between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Reservations for the food supplies must be received by 11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays.
Please ensure you detail which site you will be at to receive your order.
● FOOD WILL BE DISTRIBUTED ON WEDNESDAYS ONLY from 11:00 - 1:00 pm
● Michelson and Hazel Fischer are the designated sites.
● DRIVE THROUGH THE DESIGNATED LANE. A FIVE- DAY supply of items will
be available.
● Once a family receives the meal supplies, the family is ineligible until the
following week.
● This program will be in effect from Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, April 2.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES:
● Plans for serving students with IEPs will be communicated directly to those
families through case managers and IEP team members.
● Student support meetings such as an IEP, SST or 504 meetings will
continue through teleconferencing.
ACTIVITIES AND DISTRICT OFFICE:
● All clubs, sports or other after-school activities are cancelled until further
notice.
● School site offices and the District office will be open during these weeks to
respond to questions and facilitate material distribution.
● School Board meetings will continue with seats separated by greater
distance.
We hope that health conditions in the area improve such that we will be able to return to
normal operations swiftly. However, we will continue to reassess and determine the
appropriate course of action for our District. We will continue to communicate with you
frequently to keep you up-to-date as guidelines change.
We recognize that the impacts of this decision will be felt in different ways by everyone
across the District, and we have not taken these steps lightly. Again, we thank you for
your support through this challenging time. If you have questions, please call Louise
Simson at 650-996-3290 or me at (209) 603-0239 and check our web page,
www.vallecitok12.com for the latest information.
Sincerely,
James L. Frost

 

March 15, 2020

Vallecito Union School District

 
 

March 15, 2020

Dear Vallecito School Community,

As we described in earlier communications, we have been working with Calaveras County Public Health in regard to taking necessary steps to protect the health and safety of our student’s, staff and community. Under the direction of Dr. Kelaita, Public Health has recommended that all Calaveras County School Districts close until Monday, April 6th. We will be following that recommendation and closing our schools.

Although we do not have any known cases of students or staff with the Coronavirus this remains a very fluid situation and could change. We will keep in communication with our parents, staff and community and notify you of any changes. Meanwhile, staff will continue working on deep cleaning our schools and working to find ways to mitigate the effects of this lost instructional time. I want to thank everyone for their patience during these difficult and uncertain times as we work in concert with other districts and county agencies.

Jim Frost
Superintendent

 

 

 

 

 

March 13, 2020

 

Dear VUSD Community,

 

As you know, we are in a fluid situation with the response to the COVID-19.  The Calaveras County Office of Education Nurses are providing response information in conjunction with the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and the Calaveras County Public Health Department.  The District is also receiving direction from the California Department of Education.  I know you are hearing a number of cases where schools in other areas of the state are being closed, this is being directed by those school district’s local health departments.  We have not received such a directive at this time.  If the situation changes, we will follow the directives of the Calaveras County Public Health Department, State Department of Public Health, and the California Superintendent of Schools.  The situation could change at any time, so please continue to check Parent Square for information updates.

 

We are dedicated to the health and safety of our students and staff as well as continuing to meet the educational needs of our students. The schools and community are working together to minimize disruption to teaching and learning and protect students and staff.

On the afternoon of March 10, 2020, Calaveras County Public Health Department (PHD) notified schools countywide of two confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Copperopolis area. One of these cases was a student at Copperopolis Elementary, which prompted the PHD to direct that school to close through the rest of the week for deep cleaning.  The family affected had already been in quarantine pending testing results and the PHD has determined that no other school closures are advised at this time. Any additional school closures will be directed by the PHD.

 

While there are no other confirmed cases, there are additional people awaiting test results and placed under self-quarantine until results are received (typically 3-5 days, but can take longer). 

 

The understandable question has been expressed about why our sporting practices, assemblies, and events cancelled but school still remains in session.  The cancellation of the sporting events was related to the advice in the guidance as a preventative measure.  Introducing athletes from other schools is just another exposure risk that could easily be minimized by the precaution of cancellation.   We are also implementing common sense measures such as minimizing exposure by changing our food service protocol and are using self-contained bagged salad bar/fruit products.  We are no longer using self serve utensils.  

 

We understand that all families will do what they believe is in the best interest of their child.  We are working in the District to provide the safest environment possible including implementing sanitizing protocols for the classrooms.   In the event you decide to keep your child home or you need to self-quarantine, there will be no penalty for the absences other than loss of learning for your student.   We are providing make up work that will be available on tables outside of the school upon request.  Please check with your students’ teacher for assignments.   Some teachers may be posting their work on their website or classroom apps.

We understand that you have many questions and concerns. The following information is intended to help answer some of those questions:

  • The PHD is identifying persons who may have had close personal contact with the family and will be contacting them to determine if additional precautions are needed.
  • If you feel you may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please do the following:

o   Self-monitor for symptoms (fever with cough or shortness of breath), contact your health care provider and stay home pending further medical direction.

 

What we know about COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that began spreading in people in December 2019. Health experts are concerned because little is known about the virus. It has caused severe illness and death in some populations. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

How it spreads:

Health experts are still learning about how it spreads, but current information indicates that it is primarily spread through person-to person contact with someone who has the virus such as:

  • Between people who have close contact with each other.
  • Through droplets that remain in the air shortly after someone who has the virus coughs or sneezes

o   These droplets can land in the mouth of nose or be inhaled by others nearby

  • As with most viruses, COVID-19 does not appear to live on surfaces for extended periods of time. Transmission of COVID-19 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces. Cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and desk/tabletops is encouraged to help reduce the spread of illness.
  •  

High Risk Populations:

There are some populations that are at higher risk for severe illness, including older people and people with serious chronic health conditions. The CDC and the PHD have provided additional instructions for these high-risk populations. Please review the additional information on high risk populations available through the resources below.

 

There are some simple steps that can be taken to prevent further spread of this illness.

  • Wash your hands often – This is the single best way to reduce the spread of germs
    • Use soap and water (warm if available) to scrub all surfaces of your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol until you can get to soap and water. Wash with soap and water as soon as you can.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes, then dispose of the tissue. When a tissue is not available, cough, or sneeze into your elbow (or inside your shirt).
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects using an approved cleaner. Additional cleaning instructions can be found through the resources below.
  • Keep your child home if they are sick (and stay home if you are sick)
    • When reporting absence to the school office, please provide symptoms
    • Keep your child home for 24 hours after their fever (100.4ﹾF or higher) stops without the use of medications.
    • Seek medical attention if symptoms become more severe (e.g. high fever or difficulty breathing).

As new information becomes available, formal notification processes are in place to continue to keep you informed. The District is monitoring the situation carefully and working closely with the Public Health Department.


 The information has been summarized from the following and additional information and resources are available through these links.

CDC- https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Calaveras PHD - https://publichealth.calaverasgov.us/Novel-Coronavirus

California PHD- https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCoV2019.aspx

 

Sincerely yours,

James L. Frost

Superintendent