Dear Staff and Community,
I sincerely hope you had a positive week and are heading into the weekend with a hopeful and ebullient heart. At the risk of sounding glib, I remind us of the importance of taking a few moments each day to reflect on the parts of our lives that bring us joy. These moments of gratitude go a long way in helping us foster a sense of hopefulness as we look forward to greater normalcy in our daily lives. I gratefully remind us that our common bond as a learning community is our commitment to our students and our shared goal of striving to bring the best version of ourselves to them each day.
Board Meeting Update: Last night’s special Board meeting centered on the North Coast Section modification to designate sports according to the Tier system for safety. Sports in the Purple Tier, which include: Cross Country, Boys and Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Golf, Boys and Girls Swimming, and Track and Field, may begin as soon as February 1st. The Diablo Athletic League is working to create a new calendar for each sport and possible competitions, with a reduced number of weeks in the season and reduced number of competitions anticipated. The Board approved to accept the modifications.
Items of particular note for the February 4th Board meeting include: An update from Dr. Matyas, Solano County Health Official/Deputy Director on COVID-19 and Related Data; discussion items on the Governor’s January Budget Proposal for 2021-22; an Equity Update and Consideration of In-Person Small Group Instruction.
Public Comment: We will be implementing an improved for public comment using a voicemail system where you leave a message that will then be played during the public comment section of the board meeting.
Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten and New Student Enrollment: Benicia Unified is announcing that TK, Kindergarten and New Student enrollment opens on February 1st! Students who turn 5 by September 1st can enroll in Kindergarten and those who turn 5 between September 2 and December 2 can enroll in Transitional Kindergarten. These dates are firm and exceptions are not considered. Information can be found here or by emailing or calling your local school site to follow proper enrollment procedures set by the schools. Don’t wait! Make sure you are ready for the start of school in August!
Weekly Update from Solano County Health Dr. Matyas: During the weekly update meeting today, Dr. Matyas reported that positivity rates are trending downward and Solano County is now in the Purple Tier. He went on to say that if the trend continues, Solano County could be in the Red Tier toward the end of February or early March. This is positive news, and also a reminder that we all need to continue being disciplined with the safety measures: maintain six feet, wear a mask and wash your hands.
Dr. Matyas also discussed the vaccination rollout process and the challenges around dosage availability in relation to the need in our county. He cautiously stated that vaccines might start to be made available to educators in approximately two weeks, acknowledging this could change as well. I know we are all looking forward to being back in school and the vaccine obviously plays a key role in this process.
The following links provide further Covid-19 related information.
- COVID Resources for Community Members/Employees
- Solano Vaccine Town Hall Meeting Recording
- Solano County Vaccination Plan Status– updates on who is currently eligible for the vaccine, and distribution quick stats (at the bottom of the page.)
During the January 14 Board meeting, I reported on the Governor’s recent proposal called the California Safe Schools for All Plan. This plan includes an application process with aggressive timelines, various additional safety metrics, testing and tracking guidelines designed to encourage school districts to move toward in-person instruction.
In a recent article in the “San Francisco Chronicle,” it was noted that While reopening schools remains a priority for Newsom, as well as national and state health officials, the plan is tied up in the Legislature, where elected officials have questioned whether it’s fair or logistically feasible to implement the stringent testing requirements of staff and students required in the proposal.
I will continue to provide updates as more information is made available.
I wish everyone a safe and restful weekend.
On we go!