District Updates

  • May 6: District to Realign to CDPH Guidelines for Masking Beginning June 1

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    Last night, the SMUHSD Board of Trustees voted to extend the current mask mandate in our schools through May 31. Effective June 1, the District will follow the recommendation of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) which, given present COVID conditions, makes masks strongly recommended in K-12 schools across the state.  

    The discussion leading up to the vote focused on staff and student health and safety with a sense that an extension of the current mask mandate through May 31 may help to preserve end of the year activities such as AP exams, finals, performances and graduations. 

    The Board tabled the discussion about Board Policy 6145.1 which requires weekly testing of unvaccinated students participating in athletics or extracurricular activities outside of the school day. Staff will come back to the Board with a recommendation at a future board meeting. 

    Thank you for your patience in this process. We have three weeks of school remaining for our students, and I have every confidence that we will finish the year strong. I am extremely grateful that we can have serious discussions like the one last night in this District characterized by respect, civility and reasonable discourse. 

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • May 5: Masking and Learning Schedule Update

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    Staff will bring an updated recommendation to our Board tonight regarding our mask mandate. San Mateo County is in the Yellow Tier for COVID cases meaning the risk of transmission of the virus is minimal. 

    The outbreak we experienced last month has receded, and I believe it is time to realign ourselves with state and county guidelines. 

    We will recommend to the Board:

    1. Beginning May 9, the District should realign itself to the County and State to make masks strongly recommended indoors to follow guidelines set forth by the California Department of Public Health.
    2. We recommend following this for summer school and in the 2022-23 School Year and following guidelines set forth by the State and County moving forward. 
    3. We recommend retiring Board Policy 6145.1 which requires weekly testing of unvaccinated students participating in athletics or extracurricular events outside of the school day. 

    The full presentation to the Board can be seen on our website. Whatever the Board decides, I’m fully confident that we’ll all continue to provide exemplary experiences for our students during the remaining days of the school year.

    Learning Schedule

    The Learning Schedule recommendations for 2022-2023 will also be presented to the Board tonight. The schedule will be very similar to our current schedule with four days of block, one day with all periods. The major change will be to flip the Odd and Even day schedules to allow for shorter days on Wednesdays and Fridays. The special embedded PD Monday schedule was eliminated and a 50 minute collaboration time on Wednesdays and Fridays was added. Finally, the passing period was shifted to ensure a consistent time of seven minutes for all days. The full presentation can be seen on our website

    Finally, this is Staff Appreciation Week. I try to be flexible in my thinking, but I’m absolutely fixed on the notion that nothing matters more in positively affecting the student experience than having the best possible staff. I’m deeply grateful that I have the opportunity to be inspired by the folks with whom I work these seven years. If you have the inclination and opportunity to send an email of thanks to someone in our District this week or next, I hope you will do so.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • April 22: Board Direction on Mask Mandate

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    Last night our Board of Trustees approved staff’s recommendation to continue to require masking indoors in our schools for the next two weeks based on our current outbreak situation and advice we received from the California Department of Public Health - which I wrote about in my April 20 message. They will reevaluate this decision at their May 5 meeting. If we have no further outbreaks and cases decline in the County and our District, I will recommend that the District move to masks being strongly recommended for the remainder of the school year. You can see presentation materials on our website and view the Board Meeting recording on YouTube the discussion begins at: 58:00.

    I want to thank our students, families and staff for their ongoing support and enduring patience. The District cares deeply about the health and safety of members of our community and creating opportunities for students to enjoy and benefit from student activities such as performing arts, athletics, and senior rites of passage. We have been and will continue to be driven by these values, and we believe that continuing to require masking for the next two weeks will help to preserve these opportunities for our students.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

  • April 20: Mask Mandate Direction, Staffing Announcement and Earth Day 

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    As you know, on March 12 the San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees voted to continue to make masks mandatory indoors at our schools. They also agreed to revisit this topic at their meeting this Thursday. Staff were directed to share recent developments and COVID case numbers in our schools and community, and we were directed to make a recommendation for mask guidelines moving forward.

    COVID Update

    • After a sharp decline, COVID cases in San Mateo County are on the rise again, albeit relatively slowly.
    • We are currently experiencing a high number of COVID cases after the Prom at one of our schools. At this event, masks were "strongly recommended." Many students did not wear masks at this event. To date there have been nearly 90 positive cases of those attending the event. 
    • As a result of the outbreak that seemed connected to the Prom, our situation is of interest to the California Department of Public Health. Staff met with a medical officer and a virologist who recommended maintaining masks for the next several weeks.
    • Besides the cases related to this Prom, we have not seen numbers increase week over week. See our dashboard.
    • Other districts in San Mateo County are seeing some increases in their COVID cases since going to masks strongly recommended in mid-March, but this may be due to more COVID in the community, and not as a result of changes in mask wearing.

    Based on the above, staff will recommend continuing to require masks for students and staff indoors in our schools for the next two weeks. Further, if there are no more outbreaks and cases are declining in two weeks in our schools and in the county, I will recommend we follow the lead of the state and go to masks being strongly recommended. 

    The District continues to encourage all eligible individuals to get the COVID vaccine and booster. The vaccine is free and readily available to all Californians ages five and older regardless of immigration or insurance status. Visit myturn.ca.gov to find a free vaccine near you today. We strongly encourage boosters as the science indicates that being boosted is strongly linked to better health outcomes in positive COVID cases.

    When the Board decided to continue to require masks in March I was extremely pleased that students and staff accepted the decision and continued the exemplary work we have been doing all year. I have no doubt that this will continue and we'll finish the school year with energy, purpose, and celebration for all the year's accomplishments no matter what happens on this topic. On we will go!

    Staffing Announcement

    I am extremely excited to be recommending Mr. José Gōmez to the Board Thursday night as the next principal of Capuchino High School. In all, Mr. Gōmez has been in education for 17 years. He has served as Assistant Principal at Mills for the past seven years.

    Mr. Gōmez is a graduate of Capuchino and long-time resident of San Bruno. I have every confidence that he will build on the achievements made by Jesse Boise, our staff and students. 

    Please see the District’s press release to learn more. 

    Earth Day

    This Friday is the 52nd Earth Day.  As we contemplate our planet and its future, there's plenty of action for us to take both individually and collectively.  I'll be at the Earth Day 2022: Hillsdale Bike-O-Rama on Saturday. Further, I plan to enjoy our verdant beautiful region with a hike on Sunday. I hope you too will find time to contemplate how fortunate we are to live in this unique part of the world so filled with beauty, variety, and splendor.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

     





  • March 11: Mask Mandate Extended - Board to Reevaluate on April 21

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    Last night our Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend the mask mandate indoors in our schools until their April 21 Board meeting when they directed staff to put this topic back on the agenda for discussion. This means students and staff will be required to continue to wear masks indoors at our school sites.

    The Board’s decision was rooted in safety for all students and staff and reflects their desire to see further improvements in community health and develop a plan for implementation before changing masking restrictions. The Board also expressed concerns for the most vulnerable members of our population including those who are immunocompromised.

    The District continues to support and promote important, proven strategies to fight the spread of the virus including:

    • Promoting vaccinations and boosters for all who are eligible
    • Weekly testing availability at our sites for students and staff and the expectation is that any staff member or student who experiences symptoms should be tested
    • Continued expectation that students and staff will stay home when sick
    • We will continue to provide free, high quality KN95 masks to students and staff.
    • We will provide free rapid home COVID 19 tests to all students and staff to take before returning to school from Spring Break. Families can also order free tests from the federal government

    Our efforts this year have helped our District to deliver on our intention to keep schools open for high-quality in-person instruction. I appreciate your cooperation and support of extending the mandate until health conditions further improve. Thank you to our parents, students and staff for continuing to support health and safety on our campuses. 

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

     

  • March 1: Masking Announcement and Women Making History

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    The State made an announcement yesterday which changes the requirement of masking in schools to make masking strongly recommended effective March 12. We are entering a new phase of the pandemic as we approach the third year of co-existing with COVID-19 in our communities. We await updated guidance from our County and are hearing feedback from our community as we plan for how we’ll implement new guidelines. Stay tuned.

    In the meantime, we want our school communities and families to persist in their efforts to safeguard students and staff and take actions that minimize the risk of transmission to all, including vaccination of all those eligible, staying home when ill, utilizing testing where appropriate and reducing opportunities for exposure.

    Today is the first day of Women’s History Month.  Women are constantly making history, and one needs look no further than the girls basketball teams in our District! Tonight, five of our six comprehensive schools’ girls teams will be playing their first round games in the state basketball playoffs. On Saturday, four of these teams played in the finals of the Central Coast Section -- Aragon, Hillsdale, Mills, and Capuchino. Congrats to Aragon and Capuchino for winning section championships. This is unprecedented -- I don’t think a District has seen this kind of success among so many teams! (the Burlingame boys team won their second CCS championship in a row and the Aragon boys soccer team also won a CCS championship). Good luck to our seven teams tonight. If you want to see great basketball, stop by the Aragon, Capuchino or Mills gym tonight to see more history in the making!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

    February 24: Covid Update

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    COVID-19 cases continue to fall in our District and County. As a reminder, we update our COVID Dashboard every Monday with cases from the previous week. Weekly COVID testing continues to be available.

    We expect the state will reassess guidance regarding masks for schools soon, and we will share updated information with our staff, families and students when it becomes available. Any individual who feels more comfortable wearing a mask regardless of vaccination status can continue to do so.

    Given that the mandates for masking and vaccination status may change, we need to gather information on the vaccination/booster status of our students. Students may share their vaccination and booster status using the form included in this email. (Please see your email to fill out the form.) 

    As always, thank you for supporting student health and safety in our District and in your school!

    Sincerely,

    Sara Devaney, MS
    Health Services Manager


    February 11: COVID Update

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    COVID cases in San Mateo County and our District continue to decline. The State of California and San Mateo County will change the guidance for face masks on February 16 allowing for vaccinated individuals to unmask in certain indoor settings, however universal masking will remain a requirement in specified settings, including K-12 schools. This means students and staff will continue to wear masks at all times while indoors on our campuses for now. We will keep you updated on the latest revisions to guidance as it unfolds.  

    In order to keep this momentum moving in the right direction we must remain vigilant:  

    Get vaccinated and boosted - The District continues to encourage all eligible individuals to get the COVID vaccine and booster. The vaccine is free and readily available to all Californians ages five and older regardless of immigration or insurance status. Visit myturn.ca.gov to find a free vaccine near you today. We strongly encourage boosters as the science indicates that being boosted is strongly linked to better health outcomes in positive COVID cases. 

    Continue to get tested weekly at school - The District will continue testing all students regardless of vaccination status who are participating in extracurricular or athletic activities. The District continues to encourage ALL students and staff to test weekly.  

    At the same time we are opening things up! Schools in our District can now accommodate nearly 500 spectators at indoor athletic contests such as basketball. For now, all spectators must remain masked while at these events. 

    Schools are in the process of planning proms. Many of our schools have held their proms in San Francisco in the past. Currently the City of San Francisco requires vaccination OR proof of a recent negative COVID test to enter certain venues, so our students will need to plan accordingly in order to take part in these dances. Again these guidelines may change between now and April. You can learn more about your prom and any requirements to attend from your schools. We want to make this a special event for students -- they certainly deserve it!

    Spring plays and musicals are at every school in the coming months. If you want to make yourself happy, take in one of the fabulous performances. Finally, field trips to NYC and tournaments of all kinds are on the horizon.

    Our District will continue to follow the guidance of the California Department of Public Health and the San Mateo County Office of Education’s Pandemic Recovery Framework in our school operations related to COVID. Thank you to our families and students for your support of safe schools.

    Sincerely,


    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

    Sara Devaney, MS
    Health Services Manager  

  • February 1: Happy Lunar New Year, Black History Month and More

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    Happy Lunar New Year! 2022 is the Year of the Tiger which is a symbol of strength and bravery. Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities, among others. The New Year celebration is usually celebrated for multiple days - not just one day as in the Gregorian calendar’s New Year. In 2022, Lunar New Year begins on February 1 and festivities may go on for more than two weeks. 

    February is also Black History Month - an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. We are bringing a proclamation to our Board at their February 10 meeting to recognize this important month. 

    The Domini Hoskins Black History Museum & Learning Center in Redwood City is celebrating Black History Month with an exhibit featuring the history of extraordinary contributions that African-Americans have made throughout history. The exhibit will be on display February 5 - 27, 2022 at 890 Jefferson Avenue in Redwood City. Download the exhibit flyer.

    On a curricular note, the SMUHSD Social Science Council will be recommending to the Board of Education at its March 10, 2022 meeting, adoption of the Voyages of Exploration, published by Cengage in collaboration with National Geographic Learning as the core textbook to be used in its 10th grade Modern World History classes. This recommendation was made after a teacher-led textbook committee reviewed several options and narrowed the field to two that were then piloted in the fall of 2021. After completion of the pilot, the participating teachers overwhelmingly recommended the Voyages of Exploration for adoption. The textbook is aligned with the CA History-Social Science Standards (2000) and Instructional Framework (2016). As part of the process of formal adoption by the SMUHSD Board of Education, the district must make the text available for public review for at least 10 days, in advance of Board action. In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the District has opted to make this review virtual. If you would like to access a virtual copy of the text and/or to complete a comment form, please go to this link. The site and form will be available until February 18, 2022.

    On we go!

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

     

  • January 27: Covid Update

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    My sense is that we’re collectively regaining our footing after the overwhelming increase in Omicron cases at the beginning of January. Attendance rates have recovered, winter sports are proceeding, robots are being built, and spring plays and musicals are either in production or scheduled. As the rest of the year unfolds, I encourage students to find healthy outlets to support their considerable energy. We have plenty of school-based opportunities to explore.  

    Here are seven items related to COVID:  

    1. Our COVID Dashboard is updated weekly on Mondays. As you can see our cases have fallen across the District since we returned from winter break the week of January 3. 
    2. In response to the recent increase in cases the District will begin testing all students regardless of vaccination status who are participating in extracurricular or athletic activities. Schools are beginning to coordinate this increase in testing for their communities. The District continues to encourage ALL students and staff to test weekly.  
    3. We are resuming contact tracing this week following the updated guidance in the Pandemic Recovery Framework (PRF). 
    4. The District continues to encourage all eligible individuals to get the COVID vaccine and booster. The vaccine is free and readily available to all Californians ages five and older regardless of immigration or insurance status. Visit myturn.ca.gov to find a free vaccine near you today. 
    5. Students should plan now for a likely mandate requiring them to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend school in the Fall of 2022.
    6. We are continuing to offer vaccination opportunities to our students on campuses. We held vaccine clinics at Capuchino last week and Peninsula Tuesday. We will continue to offer small and large scale events for those needing the vaccine or booster.
    7. We strongly encourage boosters as the science on this indicates that being boosted is strongly linked to better health outcomes in positive COVID cases. In the coming days we will share how families can update their student’s booster status with their school. 

    As always, there are reasons for optimism and pessimism. Isn’t there cause to be hopeful as Omicron crests and schools have a sense of normalcy? I think so!

    And on we go!

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

  • January 21: COVID Update

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    This week we have seen a decline in the number of cases since schools opened the week of January 3. As a reminder, the District’s COVID Dashboard is updated weekly on Monday with the previous week’s data. This reflects what we are seeing at the county level. 

    We expect updated guidance to be released by the county in the coming days and will continue to follow the Pandemic Recovery Framework and inform our community of any changes. 

    The District's hope and expectation is that all students are testing weekly at their school site. Since school returned from Winter Break, we have administered over 16,700 COVID tests. We understand the lines for testing have continued to decrease this week in large part due to the new appointment or day/grade strategies created at each site. Please check in with your school for additional details.

    This week, the United States Postal Service announced that it has made four free COVID test kits available to all households. To sign up for your free home tests visit the USPS website.

    Schools continue to distribute free KN95 masks to students and staff. New masks are available as students need them. The current state and county guidance recommends that all upgrade to this type of mask for additional protection against the Omicron variant. 

    The District encourages all eligible individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot. Vaccines are free and readily available to all Californians aged five and older regardless of immigration or insurance status. Visit myturn.ca.gov to find a free vaccine near you today. 

    Sincerely,

    Sara Devaney, MS
    Health Services Manager

    January 14: New CDPH COVID Guidance for Schools

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    The CDPH issued updated guidance on Wednesday which offers a group-tracing approach to contact tracing. We are working to resume contact tracing as a District as quickly as we can. The new guidance will be reflected shortly in San Mateo County Office of Education’s Pandemic Recovery Framework (PRF). When new guidance is issued we will always look to the PRF as our source of direction which we will share with families and students.  

    The SMUHSD COVID Dashboard will now be updated on Monday mornings to reflect positive cases from individuals testing on our sites or using rapid home tests provided by the District from the previous week. Next week the Dashboard will be updated on  Tuesday because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday.  

    We continue to encourage students to test weekly at their school site. We have updated our website for what to do if you test positive. These guidelines still apply to students and staff.   

    SMUHSD Health Services will continue to provide weekly updates to COVID guidelines as they evolve. Thank you for supporting safe and healthy schools. 

    Sincerely,

    Sara Devaney, MS
    Student Health Manager


    January 7: Updated CDPH Guidance for Isolation Reduced to 5 Days with Negative Test

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    Yesterday, the California Department of Public Health updated guidance specifically for schools related to student and staff positive case isolation.  

    CDPH K-12 Schools guidance (in Section 10) recommends that individuals follow the general CDPH recommended action regarding isolation, which applies to everyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms.

    The CDPH isolation and quarantine guidance applies to students and school staff: 

    Isolation Guidance for Those Testing Positive 

    • Stay home for at least 5 days.  Positive test date or symptom onset is "day 0"
    • Isolation can end after day 5 IF symptoms are not present or are resolving AND a diagnostic specimen (rapid test preferred) collected on day 5 or later, tests negative.
    • Although PCR tests are acceptable, they are much less practical and useful in attempting to return to school after 5 days
    • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.
    • If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.
    • If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving, continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
    • Wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings 

    Quarantine Guidance for Those Who are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19

    • Students who are not fully vaccinated OR are vaccinated and eligible but have not yet received their booster dose, would follow the 5-day quarantine recommendation in the CDPH December 30 guidance.
    • Students who are boosted OR are vaccinated but not yet booster-eligible do not need to quarantine. 
    • We are asking if you have a household case that you reach out to your health care provider prior to returning to campus. 
    • it is our understanding that Cal/OSHA will be providing updated information shortly.

    The District health team is mobilizing to respond to these new guidelines.

    Students who are beyond five days from a positive test or the onset of symptoms and are symptom free by Monday morning, may return to school with proof of a negative test. 

    • Take an over the counter rapid test
    • Take a PCR test in the community over the weekend. Please note results for PCR tests may take longer than 24 hours. 

    Free COVID Testing Resources: 

    If taking an over the counter rapid test or PCR prior to return, students must email a photo of a negative test with your first and last name, school and grade to covidresults@smuhsd.org.  Please do not return to your school prior to submitting your negative result or receiving negative test results at onsite testing.

    Many of the return dates that have been communicated to you this week will be amended by the new guidance. See the new return dates

    My sincere thanks to you for your work in keeping schools safe.  So many have responded positively to our messages.  In one of the classes where I substituted yesterday I polled students. Every student had a quality mask, a quarter of the class had increased the quality of their mask this semester and every student had tested over the past week. I also appreciate the fact that over ninety percent of staff tested this week. Let’s keep this momentum and vigilance!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent 

    Sara Devaney, MS
    Health Services Manager

  • January 6: Responding to Increased Cases During Omicron Surge

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    Thank you to all of our students who took rapid home COVID tests or took a test at school when returning to school from winter break.

    We had 71 cases across the District out of about a thousand tests administered in the District yesterday. Every school had multiple positive cases. Given the high number of cases, we cannot contract trace to the levels we have been doing. 

    SMUHSD will suspend positive case letters for now so we can shift our limited resources to testing. Instead, we are asking staff, students, and families to operate as if they have daily exposure to the virus.

    Given the prevalence of the virus, students and families should act as if they are in close contact with someone who is infected with the virus, test regularly, wear a high quality mask, and pay close attention to their health for symptoms indicating they may be positive.  

    If you test positive or have symptoms, please stay home and see our website for further information. Our health staff will get back to you as soon as possible.    

    If the consensus of health experts is correct, cases may decline in a few weeks.  For now, our primary goal should be to continue to offer in-person instruction to our students as safely as possible. I will continue to communicate with you as new developments unfold. Thank you for your commitment to our students and one another. I’m confident we can make it through this tough time together.


    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

     

  •  

    January 4: Update on Cases and Details for Returning to School

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    We are working to start the spring semester as safely as possible given the high number of cases and resulting staff and student absences. We will continue to serve our students in person. Our schools will remain open unless we are directed to close by the County of San Mateo. 

    Important updates as of January 4:

    • Between January 1 and 4 at 10:30 a.m. we have had 167 positive cases of our staff and students reported through iHealth rapid home tests or testing on our campuses (141 of these are students).
    • Students should test using the rapid home tests they were offered before winter break or test when they return to school. Testing is available January 5, 6 and 7 at each of our campuses. See our website for exact times.  
    • Staff are testing at their school sites.
    • As of January 4, San Mateo County has not adopted CDC guidelines to reduce the number of days for isolation/quarantine for positive cases to five days, therefore ALL positive cases are required to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or a positive COVID test. This means the individual may come out of isolation on the 11th day. 
    • If your student is experiencing symptoms, has tested positive for COVID OR  was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID over winter break they should stay home!
      • Students - email your school’s health aide and provide:  
        • Date symptoms started
        • Date you tested (swab date not results date)
        • Last day on campus 
        • Anyone in your household attend or work at any of our sites please list names and locations
      • We will get back to you as soon as possible. Please know that we are dealing with a high number of cases and are working as quickly as possible to give guidance and give staff and students clearance to return to school. 
    • Students who are absent should get their assignments from Canvas and be on the lookout for teacher messages specific to their classes. 
    • Indoor sports contests originally scheduled for the week of January 3 have been postponed until later in the month. Student-athletes will receive more information from their coaches. As of January 4, contests will resume the week of January 10. The District will introduce spectator limits for indoor contests. These events will be limited to 6 spectators per student-athlete for the first few weeks of league games. 
    • Students may experience longer lunch and brunch lines than usual due to staff absences related to COVID. We will still offer brunch and lunch at all of our campuses.  
    • As has been the practice, masks should be worn at all times while using District transportation. 
    • Field trips in the month of January will be postponed. Teachers/Advisors will communicate directly with students and their families about rescheduling these events.
    • The District continues to require masking indoors. Unless your student has a particular reason NOT to do so, we expect students to wear a high quality, tight fitting mask. These will be available from teachers.

    We will keep you updated on issues that impact our school operations. Thank you for all that you are doing to support a safe return to school. 

     

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

  • January 4: Reminder About Testing

    Dear Families and Students:

    This message is a reminder for students who received a free iHealth COVID test from their school to take a COVID test today. Further directions can be reviewed on this flyer. Students who do not have internet access can report their results to (650) 275-5419. 

    Students who did not take a test kit home before the break may test onsite at their school when they return this week. Students and their families can also take advantage of free testing opportunities in our community. Learn more on the County’s website, or visit the Virus Geeks website

    Additionally, our District has received enough KN95 masks to distribute to our students and staff the first week we return from recess. We strongly encourage the use of these provided masks as they are significantly more effective in preventing the spread of the Omicron Variant of COVID-19 than cloth masks. 

    Remember, if your student tests positive, has COVID symptoms, or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID, please keep them home from school and call their school’s Health Aide to report the absence and receive further directions. Our schools will respond to these calls and emails as quickly as possible. 

    Thank you for your support of school and student safety!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

2021-2022 Updates

  • January 1: Reminder to Test and Request to Wear High Quality Masks

    Dear Families and Students:

    Happy New Year!

    Given the rise of COVID cases, including the high presence of the Omicron variant, we are ramping up our testing requests to include ALL students and staff regardless of vaccination status. In addition, our District has received enough KN95 masks to distribute to our students and staff the first week we return from recess. We strongly encourage the use of these provided masks as they are significantly more effective than cloth masks in preventing the spread of the Omicron Variant of COVID-19.

    SMUHSD staff is excited to welcome students back to school from Winter Recess for the start of the second semester on Wednesday, January 5. Students who took a free iHealth COVID test offered by their school should  take the first test on Sunday, January 2 and the second test on Tuesday, January 4. Further directions can be reviewed on this flyer. Students who do not have internet access can report their results to (650) 275-5419. 

    Students who did not take a test kit home before the break should  test onsite at their school when they return this week or take advantage of free testing opportunities in our community. Learn more on the County’s website, or visit the Virus Geeks website. For more information about testing please see Dr. Skelly’s December 3 and 13 messages

    Remember, if your student tests positive, has COVID symptoms, or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID, please keep them home from school and call their school’s Health Aide to report the absence and receive further directions. Our schools will respond to these calls and emails as quickly as possible. 

    Collectively we’ve done a great job managing COVID-19 exposures while keeping schools functioning smoothly this school year.  Let’s keep it up!

    Thank you for your support of student and staff health and safety.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

    Sara Devaney, M.S.
    Health Services Manager

  • December 17: Hate Incident in Our Community

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    Our District was informed Wednesday about an incident that occurred at a middle school in our community last week. SMUHSD students harassed a parent and two elementary school aged children from their vehicle as the family played on a nearby field. It appears that one of these individuals used a painful racial slur directed at this family.

    The San Mateo Union High School District denounces all hate incidents including the use of racial slurs or threatening behavior. We are gathering information about the incident to decide appropriate next steps. We take this type of behavior very seriously as it cuts to the core of who we are, what we stand for, and what we aspire to become as a District. We are committed to providing a safe learning and working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment and where all students feel safe. The District does not tolerate hate-motivated incidents or crimes based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or retaliation in any form for reporting such incidents/crimes.

    We seek appropriate disciplinary action and restorative justice that serves our community as a whole, and all that were harmed in the incident. Repairing the damage such incidents cause is our top priority, and we will work with all parties involved to disrupt patterns of hate incidents.  

    The harm of this event reverberates through our whole community. It has the potential to particularly affect our students of color and their sense of safety and belonging. As a school community, we commit to move beyond simply denouncing the incident and towards bringing awareness and learning in our classroom and school communities. This is all of our work and in some ways the most important work we need to engage as educators. This work will continue into the new year and beyond.
     
    Last Winter, our District embarked on an anti-racist school and community transformational journey. As a District we are committed to: developing an anti-racist organization, positive educational experiences, accountability and equity-focused outcomes. This is on-going work and it is our responsibility and privilege to uphold these values.

    We know these events may be traumatizing to our students. While schools are closed, we want to remind you of the mental health resources available in our community. Here is a list of community resources for support during the winter break and beyond.  
     
    I encourage our community members to reach out to me if you have questions and or ideas for disrupting these incidents of hate speech. We are committed to listening to our community on how we can do better as a learning organization. Our community members are also encouraged to report any safety issue to a school administrator or via Anonymous Alerts. It is our collaboration as a community that makes us stronger. We appreciate your role in this partnership.

    Sincerely,


    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

     

  • December 13: Update on COVID Testing Resources

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    In my December 3 email, I shared the CDC’s and San Mateo County’s recommendations in support of COVID testing for those who travel in the coming weeks. The guidelines recommend that vaccinated individuals test three to five days after returning from travel. I am both encouraging and hoping that every student takes advantage of the opportunity to take a free COVID test whether they have traveled or not. 

    We received just over 9,900 free home COVID testing kits from the state. The intent of this program is for students to test at home before returning to school from winter recess. Each kit includes two tests. Tests have been distributed to sites and schools are developing plans to distribute them to students on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week in either 2nd, 3rd, or 4th period. Please see the flyer for further information and directions on testing. We will also allow students to test in person at their sites when they return to school on January 5-7. Students and their families can also take advantage of free testing opportunities in our community. Learn more on the County’s website, or visit the Virus Geeks website. We will not offer testing at our sites over recess. 

    Students who are not fully vaccinated and who travel over the holidays should:

    • Stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if you test negative at 3-5 days.
    • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

    Families of unvaccinated students who plan to travel should contact their students’ health aide before the break to report this absence, learn about testing resources and coordinate their students’ return to school. 

    I have communicated with staff asking them to test at their school site the day they return to work. I believe we all need to do our part to help keep schools open and keep our community healthy and safe in the New Year. 

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • December 3: Omicron Variant Update from San Mateo County

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    Information is emerging about the new COVID-19 variant of concern called Omicron. On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant as a Variant of Concern and has named it Omicron. This variant was first reported from South Africa, but there are already preliminary reports of detections in many other continents. You can read more about this on the WHO website

    On November 28, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement and fact sheet on Omicron Variant, which emphasize the importance of “vaccinations and boosters to prevent serious illness and deaths” and the important role of testing and isolation if symptoms develop. 

    What does this mean for you?

    San Mateo County Health currently emphasizes the existing CDC recommendations for US residents returning from any international travel.  This includes (as of 11/30/21):

    1. All Travelers Domestic and International
      • Get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after travel.
      • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
      • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.

    2. If you are NOT fully Vaccinated
      • Stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if you test negative at 3-5 days.
      • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

    3. As always, stay home if you are sick. Students should call their school’s attendance office to report an absence, and they will be given further instructions. 

    In order to support students and staff, the District will continue to offer free weekly testing at each of our school sites. You can see the schedule and additional information on our website. Sites will not offer testing during winter recess, so staff are encouraged to use community resources listed on our website if they wish to test during this time period. We are developing a plan to provide home tests to students and staff who wish to test when they return to school after recess. 

    Each dose of the safe and effective vaccines prevents infections, severe disease, and transmission to close contacts, and the District continues to encourage all eligible individuals to get the vaccine. The vaccine is free and readily available to all Californians ages five and older regardless of insurance or immigration status. Visit myturn.ca.gov for more information about vaccination appointments.  

    We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more from the county and state. 

    Early in the pandemic when less was known about the virus, schools were the first to close and the last to reopen. For many reasons, it seems that schools are now the last to close and would be the first to reopen. We’re committed to providing high quality, safe, in-person instruction.

    On we safely go!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • November 3: Vaccination/Testing Policy Unanimously Approved by the Board

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    Last Thursday night the Board unanimously passed a  policy requiring unvaccinated students to test once weekly in order to participate in extracurricular activities that take place outside school hours. The policy and presentation can be found on our website. Please note that the policy goes into effect Monday, November 15. Students can continue to participate in free weekly testing at their school sites whether they are vaccinated or not, but unvaccinated students who are participating in extracurricular activities must test to participate beginning November 15. Learn more about site opportunities and other free testing opportunities in the community on our website

    We are working with school administrators on exactly how schools will manage vaccine/testing verification at large events. Your schools will communicate more about this process prior to November 15. 

    The District continues to encourage all eligible individuals to get the vaccine. At least 87% of school student populations are fully vaccinated. We’re continuing to encourage vaccinations and we’re providing more opportunities on campus. In the meantime vaccines are free and readily available to any Californian aged 12 and older regardless of immigration status. Visit myturn.ca.gov to find a vaccine near you today!  

    As a reminder, we now use ParentSquare to communicate with parents. Parents can download the app, and decide if they would like to receive push notifications, and adjust their settings to receive messages via email and/or text. Learn more about how to download the app on our website and read tips for parents

    As I travel around the District this week, students seem a little more diligent as the second six week period ends on Friday. We’re also transitioning from fall sports to winter ones. The start of November marks a new phase in the school year, with holidays, different sports, and changes in the pace of the year.  Here’s hoping all goes well with these changes in your home. 

    On we go!

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • October 28: Board Meeting Tonight

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    This month I’m working from schools as opposed to working from the district office. Besides the masking, it feels like a regular school year.  And even though we’ve been back for almost three months, so many people remark how glad they are to be in person. Sometimes falling back into old routines is what makes us the happiest!

    Our Board meets tonight. We’ll host a Study Session with students at 5:30 p.m. to hear what ways our schools are meeting the needs of all students as well as what areas need improvement. The rest of our agenda will begin at 7 p.m. As I mentioned in my previous note, staff will bring back the draft policy which if approved would require unvaccinated students to participate in weekly COVID testing in order to participate in extracurricular activities that take place outside of school hours. The presentation and the policy (in both English and Spanish) can be found on our website. The agenda and Zoom login information can also be found on our website

    After record breaking storms over the weekend, our buildings are holding up well with very few leaks. This speaks in large part to the strength of our bond construction program and ongoing maintenance of our facilities. Thank you to facilities managers and school maintenance and operations  teams for their hard work. We owe you, our voters and taxpayers, a debt of gratitude for your support of bond measures over the years, Thank you! 

    On we go, almost a third of the way through the school year!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • October 20: Proposed Board policy for extracurriculars, weekly testing, COVID flowcharts and more www.smuhsd.org/messages

    Spanish 

    Dear Families and Students:

    It was so wonderful to experience rain on Sunday night! When growing up on the east coast, I found rain to be a nuisance. Now few things make me happier than a good soaking. Here’s hoping for more during the rest of the week, especially if it’s not during lunchtime at school as we are really trying to eat outside!

    At the last School Board meeting, staff were directed to bring back for Board consideration the policy requiring students to be either fully vaccinated or participate in regular COVID testing in order to participate in extracurricular activities. A few key points in the draft policy we’ll bring back to the Board on October 28 - 

    The policy would require unvaccinated students participating in extracurricular activities to:

    • Test once weekly and ideally within 48 hours of a contest or activity. Visit the COVID testing webpage for a full list of free weekly opportunities on our campuses as well as other testing resources. 
    • Testing would be required for unvaccinated students participating in athletics or extracurricular events outside of the school day. Lunchtime club members who meet during the school day would not be required to be vaccinated or tested under this policy.
    • We are not proposing to test or check the vaccination status of spectators at athletic, performing arts or other school events whether they are adults, students, siblings or community members. We are opting to focus on students within our scope rather than the community at large. This aligns with what other large school districts are doing with regards to spectators. None of our events are “mega-events” (indoor events with greater than 1,000 people or outdoor events with greater than 10,000) for which the state of California recommends that attendees provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID test results.  
    • We are proposing that the policy take effect Monday, November 15. 

    We made some recent changes to our COVID exposure flowcharts to be in alignment with the updated SMCOE’s Pandemic Recovery Framework. These changes include recommended testing for all vaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19. The flowcharts have also separated the seven-day (with testing) and the ten-day (without testing) quarantine guidelines for unvaccinated individuals. Remember, when a student is sick, they should stay home, and contact your school’s Health Aide for clearance to return to school. 

    Our District LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee is looking for additional student members. The group meets about once quarterly to support and discuss issues that are important to our LGBTQ+ community. If you are interested in joining this group please contact Kirk Black

    Over the past few weeks I’ve attended meetings with superintendents from other places and heard their horror stories of incivility and rudeness. I mentioned this at the October 14 Board meeting and complimented our school board for their ability to argue strongly about issues but then put aside their differences after votes and discussion are done. This commitment to be hard on issues and soft on people spills over to all parts of our organization, to our collective benefit.

    Thank you for continuing to entrust your student’s education to us.

     

    On we go!

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

  • September 21: Vaccination/testing policy, reasons to consider subbing in SMUHSD

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    On Thursday night staff will bring a revised policy (English | Spanish) to the Board regarding student COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for participating in extracurricular activities. If approved by the Board, the policy would require students participating in extracurricular activities to be fully vaccinated or submit weekly negative COVID test results as recommended by the CDC. The tests must take place within 48 hours of the contest or activity. Students can take part in free testing at our school sites, at venues within the community, through their private healthcare provider or using a home test. Staff are recommending the policy take effect on Monday, October 4. Parents may view the draft presentation (English | Spanish) regarding this topic and find the full agenda and zoom login information on our website

    We are seeing more and more students vaccinated!  In fact, our stats show that about 96% of the Mills student body is now protected from serious illness by the vaccine for example. Our community health is stronger when we have more people vaccinated, particularly for those who cannot be vaccinated because of serious health conditions. 

    A special note to parents and guardians - we are actively looking for substitutes in our District. When we don’t have enough subs, administrators and others are pulled from other tasks to take on this responsibility, and our effectiveness suffers.  There are lots of reasons to consider subbing, but here are the top six reasons to sub for SMUHSD. Learn more about how to get started. 

    At a recent PTO meeting there were so many comments from parents/guardians about how happy students are to be back at school in person. The same is definitely true for staff. Let’s keep having fun while being safe.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • September 3, 2021: Update on COVID notification process, vaccination requirements and testing for unvaccinated students

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    In order to promote student and staff safety, we are making a change to how we identify and  notify close contacts within the classroom setting. Previously, we were only sending close contact messaging to those whom we could identify as being closer than six feet to the case for longer than 15 minutes. We will now notify all families, students and staff that they are a “likely close contact” if there is a positive case in their class, without trying to determine how close they were to the case. Using this criteria allows us to capture all potential close contacts regardless of length of time in class, movement in the classroom, group work by students, etc. An added benefit is that this will allow us to notify individuals who are potentially impacted more quickly. 

    Our Board requested that staff prepare a policy for their consideration that would require all students participating in extracurricular activities (athletics, clubs, and any other school activity that isn’t part of the school day) be vaccinated unless they have a religious or medical reason not to vaccinate. This will be discussed at the September 9 Board meeting. You can read the proposed policy on our website. View the full agenda and zoom information on our website.  

    We will begin weekly testing of unvaccinated students Wednesday, September 8 - Friday, September 10 at school sites. Students requiring testing will be excused from class to go to the onsite designated testing location. 

    If your student is vaccinated, and you did not upload their vaccination card through the data confirmation/school registration process, please share it with their School Health Aide

    We’re sending you many emails focusing on student and community health, as the pandemic continues to challenge us all. Please know, however, that there are so many wonderful things going on at our schools these days.  As I visit campuses I am elated by the spirit and energy.  Here’s hoping that your students’ reports are equally positive.

    On we go!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

     

  • August 19, 2021: A Great Start, Responding to Positive Cases, and Employment Opportunities

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    I am so enjoying visiting schools, seeing students, and taking in some of the great energy our schools emit. 

    With the number of COVID cases in our community, we are going to have positive cases in our schools. Some of you have already gotten notifications of positive cases. As part of our contact tracing, staff members provide information such as seating charts, attendance and club rosters, etc. We issue appropriate guidance to all individuals as quickly as possible. As communicated earlier, vaccinated students can monitor for symptoms but in general, unvaccinated students must quarantine for at least seven days and cannot participate in extracurricular activities during that time. For specific information you can view our COVID Exposure Flow Chart on our website

    Students should not come to school if they are sick. This means don’t come if you have the sniffles, a cough, sore throat, congestion, etc. In the past many of us came to school with minor symptoms. We can’t do that in this environment. Please contact your school’s health office to report your illness and your school’s attendance office to report your absence. 

    About 90% of our staff have attested to being vaccinated, and 83% of students have been vaccinated. We will have opportunities for students to get vaccinated at clinics at Capuchino and Hillsdale HIgh Schools from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on August 27. We will provide more information about appointments soon.

    With the exception of Peninsula High School, our Back to School Night will be held virtually this year on the evening of September 2. Your school will share more information with you shortly. 

    So far the air quality in the Bay Area has not suffered too much from the fires in California.  If this changes, we will be in contact with families. In the meantime, be assured that the ventilation in all classrooms meets or exceeds industry standards.

    We are in need of staff members to join us in various positions. You can find information about positions on our website

    In my travels, I’ve noted how many students and staff fill our quads and other outside spaces during lunch. We are so fortunate to live in a climate where we can count on mostly mild weather and very little rain until November (and then, we hope, lots of it!).  Lunchtime also reminds me how many students and their families count on our collective efforts. No matter the staff member’s role, they are mindful that they are contributing to work that is noble, and important.

    On we go, grateful to do what we do where we get to do it!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • August 10, 2021: Recap of town hall, guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated students and more 

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    We hosted a District-wide Back to School Town Hall last night. Here are links to the slide deck in English and Spanish, and the YouTube recording of the meeting. Please note our slide decks have been updated to incorporate some of the questions families had.  

    We receive questions consistently about mandatory vaccinations.  It certainly feels that we’re moving toward a vaccine requirement soon, and this mandate push will only accelerate when and if the FDA gives full approval to the vaccines. Once again, I strongly urge all eligible individuals  to get vaccinated  as soon as possible.  We all need to be in this together.  

    The following guidelines apply to vaccinated vs. unvaccinated staff and students when exposed to a positive case:

    • Vaccinated individuals 
        • Staff and students who are not experiencing symptoms are cleared to attend school and are not required to quarantine
        • There may be testing requirements for staff or student between 3-5 days after exposure

    • Unvaccinated individuals 
      • Unmasked exposures (exposures where any of the individuals were unmasked) - require COVID testing at 5 days with a negative result by day 7 in order to return to work/school. In total this individual would quarantine for 7 days. 
      • Masked exposures (exposures where all individuals were wearing masks)- require two negative COVID tests within 10 days of the exposure. This individual may attend work/school as long as they do not develop symptoms. 
      • Unmasked/Masked - If the individual does not want to participate in testing they will be required to quarantine for a full 10 days.

    A special note about athletics and extracurriculars: unvaccinated students who are exposed to a positive case will not be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities including sports and clubs for a full 10 days. This has already been an issue for some athletes.

    If you completed the summer data confirmation process but did not upload your student’s COVID vaccine card, please reach out to your school’s Student Health Aide to share this record with them today. Contact information for Student Health Aides can be found on our website

    There are multiple opportunities for vaccinations. We’ll host the following at school sites: 

    • August 18 - Capuchino High - 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
    • August 23 - Hillsdale High - 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
    • August 31 - Peninsula High - 9:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m.

    We will provide additional information about how to make an appointment soon. 

    We will add more opportunities throughout the school year, and keep you updated. Please see our website for additional pop-up opportunities. 

    For your reference, the messages we have sent to families and students over the summer are on our website

    On we go, excited for a new year.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

  • August 5, 2021: Back to School Town Hall is August 9 and More  

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    We’ve missed students so much!  This emotion rises up now as students return to campus in large numbers for orientations. Our school campuses are waking up and will be full of learners when school starts Thursday, August 12! 

    To the extent possible, we want to make the year as normal as we can while maximizing safety.   Even though there’s the requirement for universal masks indoors that fit well and cover both nose and mouth, most other elements of school should feel familiar. It has been our experience that students and staff follow this health directive faithfully. In fact, I can’t think of a single case where anyone, after a reminder, has failed to comply with this expectation. We have fantastic students in the District!  

    The District will host a virtual Town Hall for families and students on Monday, August 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to share information on health and safety protocols and address questions and concerns you might have. Zoom login information can be found on our website. Questions in advance of the meeting may be sent to comments@smuhsd.org. Spanish interpretation will be provided. We will host a similar event for Spanish speaking families and students on Tuesday, August 10 from 6:30-7:45 p.m. Additional information can be found here.  

    Our Board will hold a special meeting tonight at 7 p.m. where staff will make a presentation on school reopening for the fall semester. The agenda, draft presentation material, and zoom information is available on our website

    Additionally, here’s another reminder about recent legislation which provides California school districts direction on repeating school years, requesting grade changes and independent study. You can learn more by visiting our website.

    As educators, we feel extra responsibilities to serve our community effectively this year. The pandemic has affected our sense of community.  Many of us have felt “unmoored” by the absence of a more traditional school experience in the past year and a half. You can count on our best efforts this year and invite you to “lean in” to your student’s school as we all rebuild and remoor ourselves.

    On we go, full of hope and passion for the challenges ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

     

  • July 30, 2021: Important information on repeating school years, grade changes and independent study

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students: 

    The Governor recently signed legislation that provides California school districts direction on repeating school years, requesting grade changes and independent study. 

    State Assembly Bill 104 

    Repeating School Years 

    AB 104, signed into law on July 1, 2021, created a process for parents and guardians to request that their students repeat a grade level from the 2020-21 school year. Parents/guardians or students 18 or older must complete this form in order for the request to be considered. The request should only be made for students who received a D, F or No Pass for more than half their courses in the 2020-2021 school year.  Staff from student services will review the student’s records from the 2020-21 school year in order to determine eligibility. If eligible, student services will coordinate a consultation meeting within 30 days with the parent/guardian, student, counselor/administrator and Director of Student Services.

    Requesting Grade Changes

    AB 104 also allows parents/guardians or students 18 years old or older to request a grade change from a letter grade to a pass/no pass mark for any high school course on a student’s transcript for coursework taken during the 2020-21 school year.  Parents/Guardians must complete the grade change form by Monday, August 16, 2021. For the 2020–21 through 2023–24 school year, postsecondary institutions listed on the California Department of Education’s Website will accept, for admission purposes, a transcript with a pass or no pass grade instead of a letter grade for an applicant pursuant to Education Code Section 49066.5(b). Institutions not on this list and/or out of state may not accept the pass/no pass mark. For the purposes of participating in athletics, the CIF requires a minimum unweighted GPA of 2.0. A “Pass” mark is weighted as a 2.0. If you need additional guidance on the grade change, and potential impact, please contact your student's counselor.  

    State Assembly Bill 130

    Independent Study

    AB 130, calls for new independent study guidelines in the 2021-22 school year providing individualized study for students whose health would be at risk by receiving in-person instruction as determined by the student’s parent or guardian. Independent study courses are conducted through Edgenuity, and supervised by a district teacher. Course content meets the same A-G graduation requirements as in-person instruction. Families and students can learn more about courses by visiting Edgenuity’s Course List. Please note that only courses offered through SMUHSD are offered to our students through Edgenuity. Additional information may be found on the District’s Independent Studies webpage.  If interested, contact your student’s counselor.

    Additional information about AB 104 and AB 130 may be found on the District’s website

    While this information is not relevant for most students, we stand ready to help those students and families who need our assistance.

    See you soon.

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent

     

  • July 21, 2021: Update on Health and Safety Protocols in Schools

    Spanish

    Dear Families and Students:

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued guidance for schools for the 2021-22 school year last week. The foundational principle of this guidance is that all students must have access to safe and full in-person instruction and as much instructional time as possible.

    A few highlights include:

    • Masking - The guidelines call for universal masking indoors at schools (except when eating or drinking). Masks are one of the most effective and simplest safety measures to prevent in-school transmission of COVID-19 infections and to support full time in-person instruction in schools. Masks are not required outdoors. The CDPH has outlined exemptions for certain individuals with specific medical conditions. Students who do not wish to wear a mask at school will be enrolled in independent study. 
    • Physical Distancing - Universal masking allows schools to eliminate the requirement for physical distancing for the most part. Students should still practice distancing when they must eat indoors, though eating outdoors will be encouraged whenever possible. 
    • Vaccinations - The COVID-19 vaccine is strongly recommended for all eligible individuals. Around 80% of our students are vaccinated according to our summer data confirmation, we’d love to see even more of our students get the vaccine. 
    • Quarantine Requirements - Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine after being exposed to an individual with COVID-19. Unvaccinated individuals may continue to attend school if they continue to have no symptoms and must undergo at least twice weekly COVID tests in ten days following exposure. Unvaccinated students will not be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities including sports and clubs during modified quarantine. 
    • Staying Home When Sick - Students and staff are strongly encouraged to stay home  when they are sick. 

    Vaccination appointments and walk up clinics are widely available to everyone 12 and older in San Mateo County regardless of immigration status. For more information, please visit the San Mateo County Health website or go directly to the MyTurn website to find an appointment near you today.

    San Mateo County youth leaders are hosting a youth vaccine clinic on July 24 with music and hourly drawings for prizes. A list of clinics is on the San Mateo County Health website.

    Students who haven’t completed the student data confirmation in Aeries must do so before Friday, July 30. Learn more on our website. Students who are vaccinated and who have already completed the summer data confirmation, but did not upload their vaccination card as part of this process, should contact their health aide to share their vaccination card. 

    Make sure you check for communications from your school on important topics like orientation, schedules for the first few days, and sports/activities. You can also visit your school’s website.

    The District will host a virtual Town Hall for Families and students on Monday, August 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to share the latest information on health and safety protocols. Zoom login information can be found on our website. Questions in advance of the meeting may be sent to comments@smuhsd.org. Spanish interpretation will be provided. 

    So much to be excited about! 

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D. 
    Superintendent

  • July 12: Ramping up for the 2021-22 School Year

    Spanish

    Dear San Mateo Union High School District Families and Students: 

    I hope you are enjoying this summer and engaged in activities that will help you to recharge for a successful school year ahead. 

    Returning to Campus in August

    The first day of school is Thursday, August 12, and our District has all systems go for a school year of full-time, in-person instruction. We will continue to follow California Department of Public Health’s safety guidelines and will keep our community informed about new developments. We’ll also provide updates on our Fall 2021 webpage. For your student’s safety and the safety of our entire District community, I hope you will make sure they are vaccinated if they can be.

    Vaccine Update

    The COVID-19 vaccine is free and widely available to anyone aged 12 and older regardless of immigration status in San Mateo County. For more information, please visit the San Mateo County Health website or go directly to the MyTurn website to find an appointment near you today. 

    Free Summer Enrichment Programs

    We want students to start coming back on campus over the summer, whether it is just to walk around the campus, or to participate in the many Summer Enrichment activities. There is still time for students to enroll in free Summer Enrichment programs. You can learn more by visiting our website. Programs are open to all SMUHSD students no matter the student’s home campus.

    Athletics

    There are few better ways to jump into high school than joining a sport in the fall.  Athletics in the fall semester will include: girls golf, girls volleyball, water polo, girls tennis, cross country and football. Sideline Cheer will also be participating in the fall. Please contact your school’s athletic director for information about tryouts and practice and see our website for information about athletic medical clearance. Note that many sports have started summer conditioning.

    Transportation 

    The Transportation Department provides bus service for students living in Foster City from general pick up locations to Aragon, Hillsdale and San Mateo High Schools. Bus passes will be available for purchase online starting July 26, and walk-up service will be available on August 2. Families who wish to take advantage of this service may visit our website for more information on transportation.

    Transportation provides service for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and in many cases this is offered at no cost to the family. Families can contact the Special Education Department at 650-558-2260 to confirm your student's transportation availability. 

    Students attending Peninsula High School can take advantage of two morning and afternoon routes to and from school. Peninsula families will receive more information from the school soon to indicate their transportation request for the year. 

    Please note that transportation services (other than routes serving students with IEPs) may have limited availability due to COVID-19 protocols limiting bus capacity from the County and State. We will keep families updated as we learn more. 

    SMUHSD encourages all students who don’t use District Transportation to consider alternative modes of transportation. Getting to school via SamTrans, a carpool, biking, walking, or using one of the many newfangled inventions for short travel are all great modes of transportation that remove cars from our roadways and help the environment. 

    Student Nutrition

    During the 2021-2022 school year the District will provide free meals and snacks before school, during brunch, and lunch service to ALL SMUHSD students. Families who previously qualified for the federal free and reduced National School Lunch Program or who believe they may qualify now are still strongly encouraged to complete a program application in order to benefit from medical, housing, utilities and transportation programs. Schools also collect this confidential data in order to receive federal funding for programs that help our schools, students, their families and staff. For more information or to complete an application, please visit the EZ Meal App website.  

    District Communications

    As mentioned in my last email, we’ve changed the interface we use to send emails. This product, ParentSquare, is designed to keep parents informed and participating in school life. Families may download the app for a better user experience. In the app you can set preferences to email, text or voicemail. You can also set your notifications to receive alerts on the app. Learn more at www.smuhsd.org/parentsquare.

    I can’t wait to see all our students back on campus on August 12. It’s less than half a summer away!

    Sincerely,

    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.
    Superintendent