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CORONAVIRUS

March 13, 2020

Dear Simi Valley Schools Community,

I would like to start by saying that I appreciate your patience during this time as we maneuver through a difficult and ever-changing situation that has never been experienced before. As you now know, I made the decision to close schools until after Spring Break. While we hope and expect to return to school on Monday, March 30, we will evaluate the conditions over the next two weeks before making a final decision on returning to school. Whatever the final decision is, we will communicate with parents, students and staff by Friday, March 27.

I take closing schools very seriously as I know that this is a hardship on families. However, when it comes to the safety and health of nearly 17,000 students and 2,200 employees, I will always err on the side of caution. This decision was made in conjunction with local, county and state officials. In addition, all Ventura County public school districts have closed next week in an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Since the reason for closing our schools is to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, we strongly encourage families to practice social distancing during this time. The effort to slow the spread of the virus will be impeded if students continue to gather in malls, movie theaters and other public places while schools are closed. We also respectfully ask that our families consider revising any travel plans in the next few weeks if possible. 

Lunch Services

From March 16 to March 20, the Child Nutrition Department will provide lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Berylwood Elementary School (ADDRESS) and Santa Susanna High School. Any child age 18 and under may participate and receive a meal free of charge, regardless of enrollment in the Simi Valley Unified School District. We are implementing a drive-through system for meal distribution to prevent large groups from forming. In order to receive a lunch, the child must be present in the vehicle. Meals will include an entrée, a fruit and vegetable option and milk. Please know that students will not be allowed to eat at the schools after picking up their lunches.

At-Home Activities for Students

Based upon guidance received from California Department of Education (CDE), Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) and legal firms including Atkinson, Adelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR) and Capitol Advisors Group, the decision to close schools and not provide online instruction or distance learning was made because of our district’s responsibility and desire to ensure equal access. We recognize that online learning does not necessarily provide equal access to the diverse students we serve.

With this said, we ask all parents to encourage their students to read over our break and engage them in academic activities. Parents can certainly review academic skills with students to the best of their ability.

The following link provides students with online enrichment activites. These activities are optional and will not impact students’ academic grades. Please be aware that all of the links offered are public links.

www.simivalleyusd.org/enrichment 

Also, we have learned that public television stations will provide educational content to students. KCET will distribute high school level content; KLCS will provide programming for grade levels 3 through 8; and PBS and SoCal KOCE will air preschool through 2nd grade. (Please contact your television carrier for the specific channels.)

Helping Your Children Emotionally

You might see that your children are showing signs of stress from all of the uncertainty happening now. Providing your children with developmentally appropriate information allows them to understand what is happening while staying calm. The link below provides some tips and tools to support your children in processing our current situation.

www.simivalleyusd.org/parent-tips  

I want to thank our community again for your patience and flexibility during these times. We will continue to communicate often in the days to follow.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jason Peplinski
Superintendent
Simi Valley Unified School District

Dear Simi Valley Schools Community,

As Spring Break approaches (March 23 to 27) and more news about COVID-19 (coronavirus) is reported, we wish to provide an update with additional information and the steps we are taking to prepare for coronavirus in our area.

Each day, our staff members, our school board members and I continue to work closely with our county public health officials, the California Department of Education (CDE), the Ventura County Office of Education, our partner organizations (Rancho Simi Recreation & Parks District, City of Simi Valley, YMCA, etc…) and our neighboring school districts. All of these organizations and more share our mission to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff as we find our way through a scenario none of us has seen before. For this situation, our primary guidance comes from the county and state public health officials, who work in conjunction with our county and state education offices.

The CDE recommends that school districts create contingency plans for potential school closures. As of right now, our schools are open, but we know that this situation is fluid and can change quickly in the coming days and weeks with very little notice. At some point, the coronavirus will most certainly touch our community and our schools, and we are preparing for every possible scenario if and when that happens. 

Some decisions made in the last few days include:

  • New cleaning protocols for our classrooms, bathrooms and buses.
  • No new field trips or student/staff travel will be approved until further notice. Unless otherwise advised, prior-approved field trips and travel will continue. (Please make sure that you check directly with your child’s school/teacher if you have an upcoming trip, especially over Spring Break.)
  • Optional activities will continue but parents have the discretion to decide on their child’s participation. This would include any non-school sponsored trips and non-academic events.
  • Already scheduled on-campus and district activities will continue until further notice.

We will continue daily to monitor student activities. Depending on the logistics and any changes in our community’s health status, more cancellations could occur. Cancellations of specific activities will be quickly communicated by your principals through our normal channels (email, app notifications, website, social media, all-calls). Please make sure that your contact information is up-to-date and please make sure that you mark the district’s email and your school’s email addresses as “approved” senders in whatever manner your email system requires.

During over the next few weeks and especially during Spring Break, we strongly urge families to avoid any non-essential travel and re-evaluate all travel plans. (Many airlines and hotels are accommodating cancellations due to coronavirus concerns.) If your family plans to travel during Spring Break, please pay attention to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel advisories, alerts and guidelines for your destination. The CDC publishes a list of foreign travel advisories for coronavirus (you can find it here).

For families who are traveling, please know this situation is changing daily and you may be asked to self-quarantine when you return. Additionally, please be aware that since this is a very dynamic and fluid situation, we do not know what travel restrictions may be enacted by the U.S. government over the next few weeks. It is entirely possible that you may end up traveling through a region (or an airport) that is added to the CDC watch list, which would place you and your children in a 14-day mandatory isolation period upon your return.  

Right now, there are no cases (presumed or confirmed) of COVID-19 among any Simi Valley students or staff members. If a student or staff member were to test positive and expose others at a school, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends that we meet with local public health officials to determine the risk level and to consider if a school or district closures is warranted. The Simi Valley Unified School District has established protocols for managing school site health and safety should an exposure be identified. The CDPH has published the School Guidance on Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 document to clarify their recommendations, which you can read here.

We understand what an incredible hardship it will be for most of our families if our schools or district have to close for any length of time and it is the very last thing we want to see happen. But, this situation is shifting rapidly. We have to acknowledge that for the safety of our students and staff, closures may become a reality. Please try to make contingency plans for childcare in case this happens.

In the event of a school or districtwide closure, we will do our best to provide enrichment activities for our students to work on at home.

Also, if your family depends on the Free-and-Reduced Lunch Program, we will make every attempt to provide meals to all students who are in need. Locations for food pick-up will be shared with parents should a closure happen.

Lastly, please remember that Friday, March 13, is a no-student day at all of our schools.

The health and safety of our students and staff are our number one priority. We will continue to monitor this situation and to provide regular updates. I am very proud of all of our staff as they continue to work in the best interests of our students. I want to thank our community for continuing to support our efforts with patience and flexibility as we maneuver through this stressful time together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jason Peplinski
Superintendent
Simi Valley Unified School District


 

March 4, 2020

Dear Simi Valley Schools Community:

As we advised last week, we will continue to regularly update our community with information about the coronavirus/2019-nCoV and its impact on our schools. We continue to monitor the situation through our county and state public health and education offices, and we are closely watching our neighboring counties for their conditions and responses.

This week, we are continuing our normal classroom and school facility disinfection procedures and we have begun implementing additional measures for cleaning/sanitizing our campuses and offices. We wish to share the following information with you:

  1. As part of the Simi Valley Unified School District's Pandemic Response Protocol, the District prioritizes sanitizing common surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, drinking fountain handles, desktops, sinks, bathrooms, thermostats, school bus seats and rails and more. These areas are cleaned with disinfectant cleaners every day. Restrooms are sanitized twice each day.
  2. In addition, the District is starting to use a product called Protexus Evaclean System (PES) in our middle and high schools and in our school buses. (Additional systems are on order for our elementary schools.) PES takes advantage of the negative ion charge found on room surfaces and puts a positive ion charge on antiseptic droplets. These droplets are then attracted to all room surfaces and in hard-to-reach places like a magnet. PES is not a spray or fogger. It is an electrostatic system where the antiseptic coating covers surfaces and objects 360 degrees, which provides three times the coverage over conventional sprayers. PES also increases the sanitization of a room 80% faster, which allows entire schools to be sanitized quickly and effectively. (PES takes only 2-3 minutes for each classroom or office to be sanitized with this system.)
  3. The cleaner used is called sodium dichloro isocyanurate (NaDCC). NaDCC possesses a reserve killing power that continues to work even after contact with organic soil matter, making it a better cleaner than bleach, which is deactivated upon contact with organic soil matter. Overall, NaDCC has four times the killing power of bleach. Disinfecting and sanitizing more areas in this manner is the simplest and most effective way to reduce illnesses. NaDCC produces no caustic results and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as a disinfectant for potable water with no observable negative health effects over a lifetime of consumption.

We have received many questions about hand sanitizers. Students are allowed to bring their own hand sanitizers to school for their personal use.

Please remember the following measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Keep your children home when they are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Get vaccinated for the flu every year.

We also wish to remind our community that we remain steadfastly committed to observing everyone’s civil rights. District programs, activities, practices and employment shall be free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification or where anyone may have traveled.

By working together to follow these important guidelines, we can help keep our students, staff and community healthy. There is information on our district website, www.simivalleyusd.org/corona, which contains links and current information about the coronavirus, and which will also be updated regularly.


Thank you,

Sean Goldman
Assistant Superintendent
Student Support Services

February 28, 2020

Dear Simi Valley Schools Community:

We know that there is an understandable and increasing concern about the coronavirus/2019-nCoV. Our goal is to ensure the safest learning environments for our students and staff. To that end, the Simi Valley Unified School District is actively monitoring the situation through our county and state public health and education offices. The Ventura County Office of Education and Ventura County Public Health department have provided excellent guidance and timely resources for information about proposed procedures and potential outbreaks. In line with these partnerships, and our commitment to the overall health and well-being of the community we serve, we share the following information with you:

School Preparedness and Response

  • There is currently no need to alter normal school schedules and activities.
  • The California Public Health Department does not recommend the cancellation of public events at this time. There is no current evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission of the virus in the United States, and currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus/2019-nCoV in Ventura County. (Source: CDPH & VCOE)
  • Previously released guidelines (available here) for students who have traveled to China remain valid.
  • The SVUSD already has plans and procedures in place regarding the outbreak of any communicable diseases in our schools.
  • Our Health and Nursing Services teams are working on specific guidelines for a potential coronavirus-2019-nCoV outbreak.

We also wish to remind our community that we remain steadfastly committed to observing everyone’s civil rights. District programs, activities, practices and employment shall be free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification or where anyone may have traveled.

Preventing the Spread of 2019-nCoV:

Standard precautions, and best practices to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as cold and flu apply to coronavirus/2019-nCoV. PLEASE REVIEW THESE GUIDELINES AND SUGGESTIONS WITH YOUR CHILDREN. These include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Get vaccinated for the flu every year.

Additional public health information on the coronavirus is available at:

By working together to follow these important guidelines, we can help keep our students, staff and community healthy. We will continue to monitor the situation and will continue to inform our community of updates and changes through our normal communication channels. There is information on our district website, www.simivalleyusd.org/corona, which contains links and information about the coronavirus, and which will also be updated regularly.
Thank you,

Sean Goldman
Assistant Superintendent
Student Support Services

 

Click on the fliers below for PDF versions in English and Spanish of the CDC's Fact Sheet on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.