Updates to Public Health Covid-19 guidance
Carpinteria Unified School District has received updated Covid-19 guidance from the California Department of Public Health. The foundational principle of this guidance is that all students must have access to safe and full in-person instruction and to as much instructional time as possible.
In California, the surest path to safe and full in-person instruction, as well as minimizing missed school days, is a strong emphasis on Covid-19 vaccination for all eligible individuals – this will get Covid-19 rates down throughout the community. Emphasis is also placed on universal masking in schools, which enables no minimum physical distancing and allows all students access to full in-person learning; more targeted quarantine practices, keeping students in school; and access to a robust Covid-19 testing program as an additional safety layer.
Recent evidence indicates that in-person instruction can occur safely without minimum physical distancing requirements when other mitigation strategies, such as masking, are fully implemented.
Of the school district’s 324 employees, 90% provided vaccination documentation, and the remaining 30 unvaccinated employees were tested on Friday or during the weekend with no reported positive results. Only two positive student Covid-19 cases and one vaccinated adult breakthrough case were reported during the first two weeks of school.
Local Control and Accountability
The Santa Barbara County Education Office is required to review and approve the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) along with an annual update prior to the approval of the district’s budget. The approval process incorporates a comprehensive review of fiscal and programmatic elements of the plan. Based on this review, it has been determined that all required areas have been met, and the LCAP is approved for the 2021-2022 school year.
Breakfast and Lunch Program
Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2021-2022 budget includes the approval of universal free meals for all TK-12 students, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. While funding for 2022-2023 has yet to be allocated, the Federal National School Lunch Program has extended a number of waives through the 2021-2022 school year. The most significant option for CUSD and for other districts is the ability to operate under the Seamless Summer Option, which allows meal service for breakfast and lunch to all students free of charge.
Chef Michelle Hernandez and her staff have continued to serve delicious and nutritious meals to our Carpinteria students – 750 breakfasts and 1,400 lunches each day, with the number rising daily.
The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) is offering parenting programs in English and Spanish to all CUSD families. “Parenting Together Classes” will meet weekly over Zoom to discuss a broad range of parenting topics, including the philosophy of nurturing parenting, teens and alcohol, brain development and substance abuse, discipline, building empathy and self-worth and positive ways to deal with stress and anger.
“The SUPER: Substance Use Prevention, Education, and Resources” is a family series for middle and high school students and their parents. Register at (805) 456-1236. A “parenting helpline” is also available Mondays and Fridays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Wednesdays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The annual benefit Carp-a-Cabana will be held outdoors, in the quad at Carpinteria High School on Saturday, Oct. 23. This year, the Carpinteria Education Foundation (CEF) is stepping out of tradition and will host an adult Halloween-themed event. At Carp-a-CaBOOna, costumes are encouraged. The event will be catered by Omni Catering, also known as Teddy’s by the Sea, and will feature a hosted bar, alongside live and silent auctions. Proof of vaccination will be required at the door.
The event will also honor CUSD’s community partners, Westerlay Orchids, who will host a week-long showroom sale, with 100% of the profits going to CEF to support CUSD students.
Measure U update
The Aliso School modernization is complete, and the campus is simply beautiful. The CHS gym is also complete and in use, although the installation of wall pads and team lockers are delayed.
The CHS administration building’s foundation will be completed this week. The Summerland School’s construction contracts and documents are almost finished, and the groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. The site demolition will begin the following week, and large equipment will be brought into the staging area on the tennis courts.
I would like to recognize the Human Resources team – director Diana Zapata, Lise Main and Sandra Alonzo – for their terrific work in recruiting, hiring and on-boarding 59 new staff members – 20% of our staff – for the new school year. They are also managing employee state vaccination requirements or their weekly Covid-19 tests.