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
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.
James L. Frost
March 16, 2020
Dear VUSD Community,
VUSD will transition all of our schools to distance learning beginning Thursday, March
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
An assigned teacher will contact your family and explain next steps.
● Students will remain at home Monday, March 16 - Friday, April 10.
● THIS IS A FLUID SITUATION. PLEASE CHECK PARENT SQUARE FOR
● 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.
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
● 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
● Once a family receives the meal supplies, the family is ineligible until the
● 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
● 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
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.
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.
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.
Calaveras PHD - https://publichealth.calaverasgov.us/Novel-Coronavirus
California PHD- https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCoV2019.aspx
James L. Frost