Ukiah Unified School District (UUSD) has many plans for keeping students and staff safe and healthy during the 2020-2021 school year. UUSD has started the school-year with Distance Learning but plans to return to in-person instruction when local health conditions allow. As of early August, the District has spent over $500,000 of its emergency funds from the State on COVID-19 facilities upgrades and personal protective equipment (PPE).
UUSD staff members have worked diligently to ensure student and staff safety as they begin the 2020-2021 school year. With guidance from the CDC and Public Health officials, UUSD Director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Gabe Sherman, and his staff spent the summer preparing UUSD campuses to reopen safely.
Increased custodial staffing is in place to meet the demands of additional cleaning and sanitizing. According to Sherman, UUSD is in good shape in terms of personnel. Cleaning and sanitation are the essential building blocks for infection prevention and outbreak control. "We have the workforce to get the job done even if a situation mandates staff to be out. There are plenty of people available to continue cleaning and sanitizing workspaces," said Sherman.
Classrooms are equipped with new wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers, and UUSD has 400 gallons of sanitizer on hand with more on the way. Hand sanitizer bottles will be available for all teachers and staff members, and every school site will also provide a personal hand sanitizer refilling station for staff. In addition to hand sanitizer dispensers, each elementary school classroom has a sink and soap dispenser.
$207,000 has been spent by the District to provide new air purifiers for classrooms and other workspaces. It required two semi truckloads to deliver the 480 air purifying units. Sherman stated during the July 13th School Board meeting that he understands that teaching and learning occur in many areas other than traditional classrooms and assured board members that teachers will have purifiers in all of the areas where they instruct students.
To increase office and other personnel's safety, over 50 plexiglass barriers have been installed so far in areas where school staff interact with the public or other staff members. Over two hundred more locations have been earmarked for the barriers to be installed around the District.
UUSD Superintendent Deb Kubin said, "We are grateful for Gabe Sherman and his crew's work to ensure the safety of UUSD staff and students. Working to ensure that our health officials' guidelines are being followed to make certain all students and staff have access to safe, sanitized work environments is critical for optimal teaching and learning to occur. It is truly behind the scenes work, such as the work done by our maintenance and operations crews, that allow for schools to provide instruction safely. It is important that teachers feel safe, and parents feel confident that their children are safe when in-person instruction eventually begins."
For more information, please contact UUSD Communications Officer Doug Shald at (707) 472-5005 or email@example.com.
PHOTO CAPTION: UUSD Maintenance Staff with some of the 480 air purifying units they distributed for the 2020-2021 school year. Jeremiah ONeal, Maintenance Lead Rick McClure, Ignacio Macias, and Tony McFarland from left to right.