Welcome SSD Families!
(Updated November 1, 2021)
In this newsletter, we are sharing with you important updates regarding continuing efforts focused on safe in-person instruction for all students. The foundation of this effort has been high vaccination rates in our community and among our employees and consistent deployment of ”layers of safety.” While Santa Clara County boasts one of the highest vaccination rates of any community in the world, more than 95% of our Sunnyvale employees are vaccinated. In fact, last week when I received my booster shot at a community clinic, I bumped into several district employees. Below we will share information about developing vaccination plans for 5 to 11 years olds and data on our expanding testing program that shows a much lower positivity rate in our schools than in the community at large.
While the trajectory of the pandemic appears encouraging, it is important that we continue to adhere to our safety protocols to keep Sunnyvale students, staff, and families safe.
Michael Gallagher., Ed.D.
Student Vaccinations Updates
The information we are receiving from the County and State regarding youth vaccinations is that vaccinations will be primarily distributed through pediatricians' offices for 5-11 year olds upon their approval for this age group. That final approval could come as early as the end of this week. The County is working on plans to support school communities with less access to health care. We expect that there will be some sites in Sunnyvale, but the sites have not yet been confirmed. In the last round of vaccinations (12-17 years olds), the County set up "pop-up" clinics at SMS, Lakewood, and Bishop. The Columbia Neighborhood Center also has offered vaccinations for many months through the Mayview Clinic as well. We will share more information once pop-up clinics are finalized.
For more information about vaccine safety for youth please refer to the following resources:
COVID testing program update
Student Voluntary Testing began last week at Sunnyvale Middle School. We will expand to CMS this week and we plan to expand to the remaining schools before Thanksgiving. Our testing data reveals a Sunnyvale School District “positivity rate” of approximately one tenth of one percent. The positivity rate in our County has been just over 1%.
COVID testing program data as of Thursday, October 28
- Staff Testing 2,691 (3 positive)
- Student Contact Tracing 854 (2 positive)
- Symptomatic Testing 501 (0 positive)
- Student Voluntary Testing 107 (1 inconclusive)
We estimate we have preserved, in a safe manner, approximately 11,000 student days of instruction through our contact tracing testing and symptomatic testing programs. The fact that our community partner for Covid Testing, BayPLS, turns tests around in less than 24 hours is a huge help as is our symptomatic testing program.
K-8 Student testing roll out later this month
We are planning to launch our SSD K-8 Student COVID-19 Testing program before the Thanksgiving Holiday Break at no cost to the district or families thanks to a partnership with Bay PLS. We are happy to offer these services to our community. While testing will provide students with an easy way to complete testing, this will augment, not replace, the weekly staff screening, symptomatic testing, and contact tracing testing programs at our sites. More information about when and where testing will take place will be forthcoming.
Cold vs COVID Symptom Guidance
To review our Cold vs COVID Symptom Guidance protocols please visit: https://www.sesd.org/Page/5384.
Kudos to Operations Team for Successful and Quick Classroom Air Scrubbers Deployment!
We are excited to announce we have completed installing HEPA Air Cleaners in all of our classrooms. While we anticipated this to take a few weeks for these devices to arrive and to be deployed, our Operations Team rolled out 416 Austin Air Purifiers across all 10 campuses in what amounted to 5 days!
These units provide an additional layer of safety in our classrooms above the levels recommended by CDPH and CDC. In addition to providing another level of safety against COVID and other airborne viruses and allergens, they also will help clean classroom air on smoky days.
The level of effort and efficiency that all the members of the Operations and grounds crews displayed during this rollout was exceptional. From coordinating, to ordering, tagging, planning, and disbursement they had it all covered and did so without hesitation. What was accomplished, seemingly effortlessly, speaks volumes about the team.
This could not have gone any better than it did and we are thrilled we were able to provide this additional layer of safety to our students and staff.