Superintendent's Letter - August 17th 2021

  • Community and Parents

Dear Westside Parents and Community Members,

As we end our 2nd week of school, we are so pleased to have your children back in our classrooms.  We have had a busy first week of school, but so appreciate your help and support in having your children arrive at school on time, with their SafeScreener completed, and ready to learn.  We also thank you for attending the Back to School Night Programs that have already been held or upcoming.

We continue to monitor our staff and students to control the spread of the COVID virus, so being thorough and thoughtful when completing the SafeScreener for your children is a key.   Beginning August 6, 2021, some of our school principals began receiving information about positive COVID test results that impact our students.  At this time, most of our schools have had several individuals on campus test positive for COVID, resulting in either the quarantine of the entire class, isolation of the infected individual or the quarantine of those who were in close contact with the infected individual for more than 15 cumulative minutes in the day.  This is the process required by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH).  Each time there is a case, we contact the parents of the students and the members of our staff who were impacted, and also send a follow up letter that includes information about testing and return to school or work criteria.  In addition, our staff files required information with LACDPH that includes the name of the infected individual(s) as well as those who had contact with the infected individuals.  The County then completes additional contact tracing in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID.   

As indicated above, your diligence in accurately completing the SafeScreener is a critical part of keeping our students and staff safe.  Allowing students on campus who are experiencing symptoms of COVID because of an inaccurate SafeScreener does not help stop the spread of this virus.  For the safety of all of our students and staff, please take the use of the screener seriously and report only accurate information.  Be sure to take the temperature of your child before completing the SafeScreener.  It is all of our hope to have our students in class every day of the school year, but given our current situation with the Delta variant, it requires more attention from us all.  If you have questions about any symptoms, please be sure to check with the Health Services staff at your child’s school.  

COVID testing is available for all of our students and staff at each school.  If you are interested in having your child tested, please contact the Health Services staff at the site as well.  Generally, test results are returned within a 48 hour period, assuming the test is taken before 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.  You will receive an email from Fulgent Labs, the company with which we are working, letting you know the results of your child’s test.  This is a saliva test, so students are not given the nasal swab.  It will take approximately 15 minutes to complete the paperwork and work with your child to complete the sample collection. If you prefer to go to your family doctor or elsewhere, please be sure to share the results of the lab test with the Health Services staff.  We have appreciated the cooperation of all of our parents and staff in providing us with the information to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Another new program that is available for parents this year is a Distance Learning Program provided through Independent Study at either Leona Valley School (Grades TK-6th) or Joe Walker Middle School (Grades 7-8).  This is an alternative offering for parents who prefer that their children remain in a distance learning environment for at least most of this school year.  If you have any questions about the program, please contact Mr. Morreale, Principal at t.morreale@westside.k12.ca.us. If your child is on an IEP and you have an interest in a Distance Learning Program, please contact Mr. Brewer, Director of Student Support Services at s.brewer@westside.k12.ca.us.  

If you have an interest in working with our students or with services that serve our students, please consider a job with Westside Union School District.  We have found that parents like working at our schools because the hours and the work locations fit well into being home when their children are also out of school.  We are looking for teachers, substitute teachers, clerical staff, instructional assistants, custodians and a variety of other positions.  If you are interested, please apply on EdJoin through our website www.westside.k12.ca.us  We will appreciate your consideration of a career in our District.

Just a reminder that the Westside Union School District Governing Board meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.  The meeting is called to order at 5 p.m. for Closed Session, and the General Session begins at 6 p.m.  Meetings are broadcast on YouTube, and you can find the agenda and information about how to address the Board on the District’s website.  Currently, meetings will continue to be virtual until September 30th.  

PTA and PTSA are a tremendous resource at each of our schools.  Membership drives are underway at all of our schools, and you are encouraged to join the wonderful volunteers who work tirelessly to support our students.  If you have received information, please call the office staff of your child’s school to ask about being part of the PTA or PTSA.  We are so grateful for their continued support.

Thanks for all of your support and cooperation as we fully reopened our schools 9 school days ago.  As with the past 17 months, many aspects of our schools have changed to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.  Along with the rest of California, we have noted an uptick in the number of families leaving the state or the local area for new jobs, to be closer to family, or for many other reasons.  We will continue to watch for enrollment trends as a result of these changes. 

It continues to be our goal to provide all students with the tools they need to be successful learners, including checking on their current achievement levels as well as their growth throughout this school year.   Our students started taking the NWEA assessment last week, which will help in identifying strengths and areas of growth for each student.  You will receive information about your child’s assessment results throughout the school year as the assessment will be given 3 times in order to measure progress.  Again, if you have questions about the assessment results, your child’s teacher will have information by the beginning of September.  With your support, we know we can be sure your child’s academic growth is reflected throughout this year.

An area of concern continues to be the social emotional needs of all of our students.  Many students have experienced different stress and perhaps trauma as a result of the last 17 months.  Please know that we have counseling and psychological services staff available to help if your child is in need of support to transition back into school.  Again, you can reach the staff at your child’s school by calling the front office staff.  We want to be sure that every student has a successful return to school, so please let us know if support is needed. 

Thanks again for all you are doing to make this school year terrific.  We are so pleased to see your children back on campus, and look forward to a safe and healthy year.  

Sincerely,

Regina L. Rossall
Superintendent


 

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