August 13, 2021
Dear Elk Grove Unified Students, Families and Staff,
With great joy and caution, we began our traditional and modified traditional schools. Much work has been done to prepare for the reopening of our schools for in person learning. Additionally, we modified our Independent Study Program (ISP) to provide additional adult support for students looking for an alternative instructional strategy outside of the classroom. That option remains open for any parents still deciding which instructional model will work best for their families. I am thankful for the countless hours our staff committed in getting ready for the new school year and the many resources now available to you at your school sites to address academic, social, emotional and/or nutritional supports you feel your child needs.
Unlike most school districts, Elk Grove Unified has a staggered start of the school year and eighteen of our year round schools opened in mid-July. These schools have been open for nearly a month and our safety protocols appear to be working. While we are experiencing positive cases, our numbers for school exposure reported cases are very low. The vast majority of such contacts in our year rounds occurred outside of the school setting. Approximately 15,000 students attend our year round schools and 77 have tested positive. Of the 77 students that tested positive, 69 contacted the virus outside of school. Of the 21 staff that have tested positive, 20 contacted the virus outside of school. We placed additional health care staff at every school and dedicated staff to conduct contact tracing and testing as necessary. Again, this is a clear indication that our planned protocols have been working. We will continue to work closely with our public health agency partners to make any necessary adjustments to our protocols.
We were committed to the health and safety of our students and staff from the very beginning of the pandemic, we remain committed and the health and safety of our entire EGUSD community will remain our top priority. Just like many of you who are concerned about the safety of our students, I also experienced many sleepless nights mentally running through all of the scenarios related to reopening our schools to in person learning. Today, after visiting the schools that opened yesterday and seeing our numbers, I feel assured that in cooperation with our students, families and staff our safety protocols will help to keep us safe.
With greater certainty before us, particularly now that all TK-12 workers are required to be fully vaccinated or be tested weekly, it’s time to move forward together and use every tool in our toolkit to keep in person learning at school a priority. We will adjust where we can such as cohorting or staggering during recess and having lunch in cohorts outside or as spread out as possible at our elementary schools. These are practices that the public health experts have recommended before and seeing the need now, we will lean on that expertise. To further avoid situations that could increase the spread of the virus, some activities will need to be modified and we will continue to encourage our parents and eligible students to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
We provide many exciting and engaging activities at our schools but we need to be mindful and make appropriate modifications in order to protect our commitment to in person learning. We will monitor guidance from our health partners, provide school staff with support and site staff will make sure that those participating understand specific protocols for these events. I have faith in our community and believe we can do this together.
We all hope for the better and we see a bright future ahead. This week, the annual meteor showers known as the Perseids will reach their peak between Aug. 11 to 13. During these meteor showers, it’s tradition to make a wish when you see a shooting star. Aside from wishing for an end to this pandemic, I will be thinking of every single one of you and how I want each child to succeed. Welcome back to the entire EGUSD Community! We will work tirelessly to provide our kids with an excellent and safe educational experience full of growth and fun.
Christopher R. Hoffman