New public health orders mean vaccine requirement changes at Santa Clara Unified School District. The Board of Trustees also heard about a research opportunity with Stanford University.
Public Health Updates
The District no longer needs proof of vaccination from workers, including volunteers, said Chief Business Official Mark A. Schiel at the Board’s Thursday, Sept. 22 meeting. Additionally, the District doesn’t need to require testing from unvaccinated workers anymore.
The day before the meeting, the Governor changed masking guidance. California will use the CDC Community Levels, which is currently low for Santa Clara County so masking is not necessary indoors, according to the CDC. However, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department is still strongly recommending masking indoors since the CDC’s report of Community Levels may not reflect the actual risk of transmission.
Schiel reminded the community that the new COVID-19 booster is available and to also get the flu vaccine with flu season around the corner.
Santa Clara Unified is in talks with Stanford University to look into a “Research Practice Learning Partnership” that is focused on inclusive education. If approved at the next Board meeting, the program would be at Agnew Elementary, Huerta Middle and MacDonald High Schools.
“We will reap the benefits, our students especially, but our teachers as well, and our partners will also,” said Kathie Kanavel, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. “And even broader than that, the field of education will reap the benefits of a partnership like this.”
Kanavel explained that they want to build a partnership between Stanford and Santa Clara Unified so they can both learn together. She said they hope to learn a lot from this program that they can spread to other schools in the District and beyond.
None of the details of this program are set in stone since they are meant to collaborate to design this program, but the idea is to have a multi-year program where they first plan the program while focusing on inclusivity, then design it for implementation, and then share what they’ve created with others and bring in student teachers to try out this model.
Both Stanford and the District are committing personnel for this. The District’s project liaison will be covered by grant funding for one year and Kanaval said she will seek out more grant funding for additional years.
They are already talking with teachers from many schools and the community. This will come to the next Board meeting for a Board vote.
Larry Adams, Director of School Bond Projects, gave an update on fencing and gating designs for Bracher, Briarwood and Westwood Elementary Schools. They are planning some temporary fencing solutions while they create Master Plans for these campuses to get modernized. The temporary solutions will be covered by Measure BB funds: $ 646,000 for Bracher, $ 940,000 for Briarwood, and $ 1,013,300 for Westwood.
They are looking at what needs to be replaced or fixed. Some of the fencing may stay after the modernization while others are removed. Some of the campuses also have some other requests, like at Westwood where they want their portables relocated. There are also the Briarwood baseball fields and its little league usage to consider while planning the fencing.
The Board passed resolutions naming October LGBTQQIA + History Month and National Bullying Prevention Month. They also passed resolutions for Red Ribbon Week and Week of the School Administrator.
The Board of Trustees meets next on Thursday, Oct. 13.