And yet again, just when I think we’ve seen it all, an intense winter storm! If we are one thing in our community and if our students are learning one thing throughout the past few years, it is resilience! I’ve been in Mendocino County most of my life, and I don’t remember a storm like the one we had last week! On the night of the storm, I listened to trees cracking all around my house, hearing loud thuds in the night as trees were falling, and read stories about power outages. I guess you could say things were bad.
We all take on a little more each time something like this happens. Our natural inclination is to reach out and help those around us who may have been more affected by one of the many crises we have experienced over the last several years. I keep trying to keep the vision of the beautiful snow in my head as my mind wanders to the view of my sister’s house with a tree on it. We all have strategies to keep ourselves grounded and out of a dark hole that life sometimes sucks us into. The main strategy I use is to look for the good.
I believe there’s a lot of good out there; I guess I’m an optimist. I am often overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and admiration for the stellar people I work with here in our district and our community. Many of our employees were deeply impacted by the recent storm, yet they continued to come to work each day despite the personal impacts the storm had on them. They’re looking for the good and trying to make the lives of our students better.
Take Assistant Superintendent Nicole Glentzer, for example. Last week, a large part of a tree fell on Nicole’s house, puncturing the roof in three different places. Water was coming into her bathroom through the light fixture. That didn’t stop Nicole from coming to work the next morning to ensure that the last of our staff members were scheduled for vaccines this week? No! She comes to work every day with a positive outlook, ready to serve staff and families despite what is going on around her. She makes things better.
Director of Student Services, Jason Iversen, continues to conduct home visits for kids and families as do our Family Liaisons, site administrators, counselors, and other staff. Our students are so happy to see familiar faces and people who care deeply for their well being. We’ve even had teachers teaching from their vehicles because they had no power. They all show up no matter what to serve and support their students! Everyone is trying their best to find the good.
Now we all have the opportunity to find the good for our kids. Bringing our students safely back to site-based instruction when local health conditions allow is what we know is best for them. We have a strong well-thought-out plan with input from our stakeholders including UTA and CSEA that ensures student and staff safety. I am grateful to our community partners such as the City of Ukiah, the County of Mendocino, Mendocino County Public Health and the Mendocino County Office of Education for working together with us to get our education staff vaccinated. It is one of the keys to getting our schools reopened. Getting our kids back in school is a great thing.
We’ve submitted our COVID Safety Plan to the CA Safe Schools for All Team and the Mendocino County Public Health Officer for review. You can read the plan on our website at www.uusd.net. February 16, 2021, is listed as our reopening date, but this depends on plan approval and local health conditions. Week 1 opening would be for Grades TK - 2, Ages 3 - 22 Special Day Classes, Grade 5 at Eagle Peak, and Grade 6 at Pomolita. During the second week of the gradual reopening, we would open Grades 3 - 6 (including Eagle Peak Grade 6).
Grades 7 - 12 are subject to being in the Red Tier. We are not sure when Mendocino County will be in the Red Tier, so we have not specified a date for reopening Grades 7 - 12. Visit www.uusd.net to learn about our phased reopening to a hybrid model, health and safety protocols, mitigation, testing, and more. We look forward to being able to serve our students safely in person very soon!
I am so grateful for everything you do to support our students despite whatever storms you’re dealing with at home. The thing we always need to remember is that we never know what people are dealing with personally. Continue to reach out to one another. Check on one another. Love and support one another. Find the good. We have an amazing and supportive community! I am grateful!