Dear Benicia Community.
I sincerely hope the transition back to virtual learning after the winter break went well for all of our families. I know it can be challenging transitioning back to school after a break and hopefully, you were able to hit a stride by week’s end.
This was a particularly challenging week for BUSD with the terribly unfortunate loss of life of one of our students. I want to thank members of our Crisis Intervention team under the Direction of Jessica Garcia, our Coordinator of Student Services, for working with sites to make sure we had systems of support in place. I am so proud of our staff who are striving to help keep our students safe and supported.
In addition, there were very alarming events in D.C. Wednesday which undoubtedly can cause additional anxiety for everyone. Our support of one another, now more than ever, is essential to our overall well-being and goes a long way in helping us navigate the uncharted waters our nation is facing.
Regarding Covid-19, as you know, the positivity rates remain very high state-wide, including our county. The ICU availability rate for our region, the Bay Area, is currently only 3% and we are still under the stay at home order. These high rates continue to impact when and if we return to in-person learning anytime in the future. As per our County Health Director, Dr. Matyas, we still have not experienced the full impact of the holidays on cases.
An additional factor related to in-person learning is Governor Newsom’s recent proposal (Safe Schools for all Plan), which has a number of new elements we are still unpacking. I have attached a summary of the plan below and will be sharing and discussing this summary during next Thursday’s board meeting. The Governor’s new plan must still be passed by the legislature. During next Thursday’s board meeting, the Trustees will also be discussing the timeline for implementation of the previously approved hybrid learning plan.
Dr. Matyas also shared today that if the Covid-19 vaccination distribution progress continues to go as planned, the vaccine could be available to education staff by the end of January or the beginning of February. (Phase 1b, Tier 1) He also said that hospitals agreed to administer the vaccine which would be a faster process than having to set-up clinics for vaccine distribution. We are looking for more details on all of this in the upcoming days and weeks and I will update you regularly as the information is shared and explained.
I hope you are able to have a safe and restful weekend.
On we go!
Charles F. Young, Ed.D.