Dear IUSD Community,
Now that the 2021-2022 school year is underway, we wanted to take a moment to thank our students, staff and the entire IUSD community for working together to ensure such a positive and successful opening. We were excited to see the majority of our 36,000 students return to daily, in-person instruction and proud that many families have chosen to enroll and re-enroll in our IUSD Virtual Academy. Your trust, support, and continued partnership have been invaluable as we navigate these challenging times.
IUSD Remains Vigilant and Will Adapt As Needed
The District is focused on our mission to educate our students and will remain vigilant and adaptive in managing school health and safety conditions. As part of our efforts to continually improve how we serve and meet the needs of our IUSD community, below are updates about IUSD actions:
- Starting this month, IUSD will provide free COVID-19 test kits for students and staff at IUSD school sites. Kits will be provided to students who may have been in close contact with a COVID-19 case or as part of the requirement under state guidelines for participation in sports or other school activities. Kits will also be provided to staff as part of the state guidelines for weekly surveillance testing or if they have had a close contact with a COVID-19 case. More information will be coming from your school in the days ahead.
- Schools are investigating ways to better support physical distancing and alternative seating options during lunch and snack periods.
- To streamline contact tracing efforts, the District’s Health Services team launched a voluntary COVID-19 vaccination attestation process for students ages 12 and above. Click here for more information.
- Per the recent health order from the California Department of Public Health, IUSD is implementing a process whereby all school employees must either provide proof of full vaccination status or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
What You Can Do to Help Keep Schools Safe
Below are some ways you can help us to keep our schools safe:
- Before sending your child to school, continue to closely monitor your student for symptoms daily. Please keep sick students home.
- If your student is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, please keep them home and follow the parent reporting instructions.
- If your student is 12 years or older and is vaccinated, please consider filling out the voluntary student COVID-19 vaccination attestation form, which will help staff to streamline and manage our contact tracing process.
- Visit iusd.org/safetyandplanning regularly for important updates, information and resources, including information about COVID-19 testing and vaccine resources.
Local Health Conditions
The Orange County Health Care Agency continues to remind school districts that local health conditions are important to consider when discussing COVID-19 in schools. Orange County has higher vaccination rates with lower transmission and hospitalization rates than Los Angeles County or many other regions in the state or nation. In Irvine, the evidence is even more encouraging:
- More than 95 percent of Irvine senior citizens are vaccinated
- More than 80 percent of Irvine residents ages 12 and older are vaccinated
- A vast majority of school age children experience mild symptoms and rarely result in hospitalization
IUSD’s Layered Mitigation Strategies Help Prevent and Limit the Spread of COVID-19
Since the onset of the pandemic, IUSD has continued to follow state and local health and safety guidelines, which can be found by clicking here. In addition to adhering to these important guidelines, which includes universal masking indoors for students and adults on our campuses, IUSD has gone even further in implementing additional layers of mitigation, including upgraded HVAC systems, dedicated HEPA air purification units throughout our campuses, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, access to hand washing and sanitizer stations, and the maximization of outdoor and flexible learning spaces.
As a result of these layered mitigation strategies, scientifically proven to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19, Director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, Dr. Clayton Chau, and other medical professionals continue to state that schools remain a low source of transmission and are safer than most other community settings. In fact, most COVID-19 transmissions are occurring off campus in settings that do not implement these robust mitigation strategies.
Outdoor Face Covering Guidance Remains the Same
The California Department of Public Health and Orange County Health Care Agency continue to recommend that masking for students and staff should be optional when outdoors. The guidelines for K-12 schools have not changed, but we will continue to work with these agencies to monitor and evaluate health and safety conditions. Please make the choice that you feel is appropriate for your family and be respectful of the preferences or needs of others.
Thank You for Your Partnership
Our families continue to be valued partners as we navigate this challenge. We deeply appreciate your support and engagement as we strive to keep our promise to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision.