It is with great excitement that I welcome you back for the start of the 2022-23 school year. I am humbled and honored to be serving as your new superintendent and am looking forward to the year ahead and having the opportunity to connect with our students and families.
The past couple of years have been challenging for schools and students as we have navigated the challenges of COVID, distance learning and the cancellation or restructuring of many of the traditional student activities that we typically offer. We are hopeful that the 2022-23 school year and all school related activities can proceed as planned. As in the past, we will continue to follow the guidance from the County Health Department on how to do this safely.
Over the summer the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released their COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools for the 2022-23 school year. In the new guidance, the CDPH stated that "COVID-19 is here to stay, but we have learned methods and gained tools to decrease its impact on our health and well-being. California's schools can manage this disease in sustainable and adaptive manners. In alignment with the state's SMARTER plan, California will continue to provide resources—including COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment—to support these goals and prevent broad disruption to in-person learning."
At this time, there are no new requirements for schools, staff or students to adhere to for the upcoming school year. Please take some time to review the key CDPH recommendations and mitigation strategies currently in place:
- Staying up to Date on Vaccinations: California strongly recommends that all eligible individuals get vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up-to-date to protect oneself and reduce transmission of the virus.
- Optimizing Indoor Air Quality: Follow CDPH recommendations to improve indoor air quality to mitigate against COVID-19 in K–12 schools.
- In FUHSD, MERV 13 filters were installed in every classroom, with filters changed at least once every 3 months.
- Use of Facemasks: Masks, particularly high-quality and well-fitting masks, remain highly effective and inexpensive tools to protect oneself and mitigate transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory pathogens. Masking indoors remains highly recommended by the CDPH. Unless otherwise directed by local health departments or local educational agencies, students and staff should follow CDPH masking guidance for the general public. No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a school, unless wearing a mask would pose a safety hazard (e.g., watersports).
- Masks are available at each campus for students and staff who need them.
- Getting Tested for COVID-19: Testing remains a key mitigation layer to detect and curb transmission of COVID-19. Schools are encouraged to ensure access to COVID-19 testing for students and staff, particularly for vulnerable communities.
- CDPH recommends that antigen tests be the primary option for detecting COVID-19 in schools.
- Due to the increased travel and social interactions that often occurs during school-breaks, it is recommended that students and staff get tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to school following major breaks (e.g., summer, winter, spring).
- In alignment with recommendations from CDPH, FUHSD will provide at-home Antigen tests available for students and staff. The District will no longer be providing on-site COVID-19 testing through Inspire Diagnostics.
- Managing Individuals with Symptoms: Staying home when sick can lower the risk of spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to other people.
- Students who develop new, unexplained symptoms should not return to campus until it is clear that symptoms are mild and improving or are due to a non-infectious cause (e.g., allergies). This includes waiting until 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- When reporting an absence and/or positive COVID-19 case via attendance line, please provide the reason for the student's absence, explain the symptoms they are experiencing, the date of onset of these symptoms and whether they have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. This information will help school and district staff to advise you on next steps per County Public Health guidelines.
Our COVID-19 designees for the 2022-23 school year by school site are listed below.
- Cupertino HS: Steve Puccinelli, 408-366-7374
- Fremont HS: Paula Mockler, 408-522-2489
- Homestead HS: Brian Dong, 408-522-2511
- Adult School: Liz Ambra, 408-522-2739
- Lynbrook HS: Tara Grande, 408-366-7707
- Monta Vista HS: Sydney Fernandez, 408-366-7603
- Educational Options: Laura Gonzales, 408-522-2292
- District Office: Trudy Gross, 408-522-2203
We are hopeful that this school year will see a return to even more normalcy than the last, and we will continue to monitor any new developments through our partnerships with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the CDPH.
School Facilities Update
The passage of our Measure G school bond is cause for celebration and we are looking forward to kicking off new projects in the near future. We are incredibly grateful that we continue to have broad community support for ensuring our students and staff have access to modern and functional classrooms and school facilities. Our schools have been greatly improved by past bond funds, but additional facilities needs still remain across the district. The work of modernizing 400 classrooms that began under the Measure CC bond will now be able to continue uninterrupted over the next several years. The modernization of classrooms has included the replacement of heating and cooling systems, new roofing and floors, LED lighting, new technology and new furniture. We will prioritize the project list for Measure G over the next several months and working with Principals to gather input on our proposed list of projects.
As we begin the school year, I want to thank you for your partnership and support of our schools. I look forward to a successful, safe and happy school year ahead.