Welcome Back to School

Superintendent Terry Walker

Dear IUSD Families,

On behalf of the IUSD Board of Education, leadership and staff, we are excited to welcome our students and families to the start of the 2021-22 school year, which begins tomorrow, Thursday, August 19 with full-time, in-person instruction and the IUSD Virtual Academy.  We have been working diligently throughout the summer to safely welcome students back to campus, while delivering on our promise to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision for our more than 36,000 students.

As part of our preparations, IUSD has been focused on providing safe and healthy campuses, academic excellence, and access to a variety of supports and services for students and families.  Please take a moment to review the following information. 

Health and Safety Measures
As previously communicated, students and staff are required to wear masks while indoors at school, regardless of vaccination status.  Masks are no longer required outdoors.  In addition, IUSD will continue to implement health and safety mitigation measures, including upgraded HVAC systems, standalone HEPA air purification units in learning and office spaces, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, access to frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer stations, and the use of outdoor and flexible learning spaces to the extent possible.  

IUSD’s Safety and Planning Guide
Please visit our 2021-22 Safety and Planning Guide at iusd.org/SafetyandPlanning, where you will find detailed information and resources related to IUSD’s planning, mitigation strategies, protocols, links to expert health agencies and a variety of resources.  We have recently added a “Health Guidelines At-A-Glance” section with an infographic, handout and video that summarize state and local health guidelines and provide an overview of the California Department of Public Health guidelines for positive COVID-19 cases, close contact exposures and quarantine procedures.

Teaching and Learning with a Focus on Social Emotional Learning
Our District has a deep appreciation for the unprecedented challenges our students have endured during the last 18 months.  We are now entering the third academic year in which COVID-19 has impacted teaching, learning and the student experience.  Now, more than ever, it is imperative that all of our students feel they are welcome, respected and supported.  Their diverse voices, perspectives and experiences matter and we are committed to empowering them as engaged and adaptive learners, who are prepared for college, career and life beyond IUSD.

To that end, we will continue to refine instruction, expand access to rigorous coursework, provide students targeted academic and social emotional learning supports, and harness the power of our Professional Learning Communities to ensure teachers can anticipate and respond to student needs.  Our teachers and staff have access to a range of on demand professional trainings and recently participated in districtwide professional learning days on their campuses in which they reflected on the many new teaching and learning strategies and programs implemented over the past year and best practices to bring forward this year. 

We know that academic excellence requires an ongoing commitment to fostering equitable educational outcomes for all of our students, while supporting their social emotional needs and wellness.  For more information about social emotional learning and wellness, please visit our Prevention and Intervention webpageClick here for additional mental health and wellness resources.   

Stay Connected to IUSD and Our Schools
For the most accurate, timely and relevant information related to our District, please stay connected to IUSD and our schools.  You can do this by regularly checking your email, voicemail and text messages for communications from your school and the District.  Visit iusd.org and iusd.org/SafetyandPlanning often for updates and important information, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Click here for more information about how you can stay connected to IUSD.

The “US” in IUSD
Together, we put the “US” in IUSD.  We all have an important role in helping to keep our campuses safe and students in school.  Please continue to follow all health and safety guidelines and established protocols at your school. 

As a community of learners, we must also strive to model and show compassion, empathy, and understanding for the impacts and challenges faced by our students, including those with medical conditions or disabilities.  We are in this together and together we are better.

Thank You
Finally, I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to our entire IUSD Community.  Thank you to our teachers and staff for their tireless work, care and commitment to serving students, families and our community. Thank you to our students and families who have demonstrated compassion, character, resiliency and adaptability during this unprecedented time. 

We appreciate your partnership and support and look forward to making this a year filled with success, confidence and optimism. 

Sincerely,

Terry L. Walker Signature

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District