Dear Westside Families,
All of us remain concerned about the spread of COVID-19,how it will impact our daily routines and what will be the long-term impacts to our community, country and the world. The health and safety of our community including our students and staff remain utmost in importance and we have been working diligently to address all of the issues we can related to our schools, community and the COVID-19 virus.
As a District, we are monitoring a number of sources every day including Los Angeles County Office of Education, Los Angeles County Public Health Department,Center for Disease Control, California Department of Education, California Governor's Office, and many others. We do not make decisions in a vacuum. In many cases decisions are made by other authorities. That said, you can rest assured that the safety of our students is the singular highest priority in those decisions and that we are all working together toward that objective.
Given the importance of keeping schools safe and healthy, we have taken numerous proactive and precautionary steps, including:
1.Establishing a committee to steer efforts related to keeping our campus sites open while serving our students in as safe, healthy and effective a manner as possible. We do not lose sight of the fact that schools are very safe locations for children. This issue will be discussed in greater detail below.
2.Increasing our school cleaning protocols to include extra weekend cleaning to help sanitize our classrooms, restrooms and other shared areas. This added cleaning is on top of an already rigorous effort to maintain clean, sterile facilities.
3.Monitoring the various agencies involved in handling COVID-19 for new guidance, which included the initial recommendations on hand washing, covering your cough, staying home when you are ill with a fever, etc. As new guidance is provided, we will share that as well.
4.As of today, we along with districts throughout the AV have begun to cancel a variety of events, activities, and limiting access to our sites.
5.We have provided hand washing instruction and supplies to all teachers to help students do what has been identified as the single best-known way to reduce the spread of this virus.
6.Effective yesterday, we implemented numerous additional steps to help ensure the safety of all on campus, including:
- All field trips are cancelled through May 25, 2020
- All events on campus such as Open House, Assemblies, or special events such as carnivals or festivals are cancelled
- Middle school after-school sports are cancelled
- Practices for groups such as cheerleading, robotics, mathletes, etc. are cancelled
- All efforts are being made to make student gatherings such as lunch and recesses limited to as few a number of students at a time as is feasible
- Visitors and volunteers will not be allowed in our classrooms so that we can continue to limit those who come into contact with our students. This will include community volunteers for things like career days as well as parents who volunteer in our classes
- 7.Non-essential travel and professional development efforts are being postponed or cancelled for all district staff to avoid travel-related transmission
- 8.While schools remain a safe environment for children, Independent Study is being offered for parents who prefer their children to be home at this time.
- 9.Activities that draw a large crowd have either been postponed or cancelled, such as the 6th grade orientation at Joe Walker and Hillview Middle Schools to decrease potential exposure.
- 10.Though not district sponsored, the annual Washington, DC and the Europe Trip have been postponed and the trip organizers are working with parents on those events.
As always, I remain concerned about the health and safety of each of our students, staff and members of the community. I appreciate your understanding and assistance in helping to address this issue that impacts all of us. We are now receiving more information and direction from the various agencies as well as our local agencies such as the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster. Local events are being cancelled as well as many other events in the Los Angeles area.
I wanted to also take a moment to discuss an issue on many peoples' minds. Why are schools not closing?
The current guidance for the Los Angeles County Office of Education is to only close a school at the direction of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. At this time, LADPH is not recommending any of our sites be closed. I and other members of our staff are monitoring information and directives from LADPH, LACOE, and CDE throughout the day to ensure that we have the most-timely information on which to make decisions.
It is my goal that we all remain safe and healthy. It is also my goal to keep you informed if there are further recommendations or directives that we need to follow. Thanks again for your understanding, cooperation, and continue dedication to our students.
Regina L. Rossall, Superintendent
Westside Union School District