• Health & Safety Update: Coronavirus

    02/27/2020

    UPDATE:  March 26, 2020

    Superintendent’s Update – Spanish

    Greetings MCS families and staff,

    Given the ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, I am EXTENDING our Modesto City Schools closures through May 3, 2020. This also aligns with the other school districts in Stanislaus County.

    At this point, we will plan on resuming school on Monday, May 4, 2020, but please keep in mind, this may change depending on the situation at that time. My goal is, and always has been, to preserve the well-being of more than 30,000 children and 4,500 staff in this region.

    First, I’d like to emphasize that it is VERY important that we all follow the shelter-in-place guidelines issued by Governor Newsom. This means that children and adults stay home as much as possible. I understand that children want to be out socializing with their friends, but medical experts advise this is very dangerous to the spread of the Coronavirus. So please, let’s all do our part to stay home and practice good hygiene through hand-washing and sanitizing.

    In the meantime, we have the following important updates for our students – NOTE: this is what we know right now, but the situation is changing frequently:

    • Meal Pick-ups:
      • We are continuing our Monday through Friday meal pick-up service through May 1 for anyone 18 years and under.
      • Information on meal pick-up times and locations can be found on our website at www.mcs4kids.com in the School Closure Resources section.
    • Distance Learning Options:
      • We are starting to roll-out additional Distance Learning options for our TK through 12th grade students. This will require that our teachers and principals participate in professional learning on how to support our students through distance learning. We are also developing helpful parent resources and training.
      • More information can be found on our website at www.mcs4kids.com under the Distance Learning section.
      • We will also start distributing computers to our K-6 students. Due to the large quantities of devices, this process may take a few weeks to complete, so we will follow-up with more information.
      • If necessary, printed packets can be picked up Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm, at our CIPD office located at 1017 Reno Avenue in Modesto. They can also be reached by phone at (209) 574-1502.
      • Printed packets will only be distributed through Friday, April 3.
      • On Monday, April 13, our online learning will launch with teachers and students.
    • Graduations:
      • It’s our goal to ensure all of our seniors graduate. We know how much this means to our seniors, and we want to pay tribute to all of their hard work.
      • We are awaiting guidance from the California Department of Education on reframing graduation and A-G requirements. We should know more by the end of April.
      • We are committed to having in-person graduation ceremonies, but the dates may need to be postponed to either the summer or later in the year, depending on the situation at the end of May. We will know more by the end of April, and we will keep families updated at that time.
      • If necessary, seniors can initiate contact with their teachers online via Schoology to inquire about opportunities that teachers may be providing to improve student grades.
    • 8th Grade and Senior Trips:
      • We understand there is a lot of uncertainty right now given the current situation with the Coronavirus.
      • We will provide families with an update on the status of both 8th grade and Senior trips by mid-April.
    • High School Proms:
      • Again, with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, many details are still up in the air. Some of our High Schools are taking steps to postpone their proms to a later date.
      • However, it’s important for our students and families to understand that proms may need to be cancelled due to the unknown situation with the Coronavirus.
      • We know how much this means to our students, so we are doing our best to keep you informed.
      • Keep in mind, consistent with guidance from local and state public health, we are focused on student and staff safety, so that will always be our primary consideration as we make decisions moving forward.

    Also, it’s important to point out that, as a school district, Modesto City Schools is an essential government service, which is demonstrated daily in our commitment to providing meal distribution, technical support and device assistance, and distance learning options, to name a few. However, except for some of our essential services, I am instructing the majority of our District staff to continue working remotely to encourage safety and social distancing.

    Please continue to check our website at www.mcs4kids.com for important updates. We also have an information hotline available at (209) 492-6000. I understand the concerns and many opinions that are circulating about the Coronavirus. Rest assured, we are doing our best to continue to meet the very important needs of our students, staff and families during this unprecedented time.

    Sara Noguchi, Ed.D
    Superintendent, Modesto City Schools

     

    UPDATE:  March 20, 2020

    Due to the Governor’s “stay-at-home” order, Modesto City Schools is closing its District Office and support sites to the public, with the exception of the Curriculum and Instruction, and Professional Development, or CIPD, Center. This change is effective immediately.

    The CIPD Center will remain open to provide families a location to pick up printed distance learning packets, in addition to the meal pick up times and locations. Their office is located at 1017 Reno Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

    Although the District Office and support sites will be closed to the public, our staff will continue working remotely to provide the essential services needed to keep the District running. The main number for the District Office, (209) 574-1500, will be staffed Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

    The Information Hotline will also remain staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with updates, technology support, a recorded meal pick-up schedule and mental health support services. The Hotline number is (209) 492-6000. We will also post regularly to our website, so be sure to check online for important updates as well.

    We are committed to keeping you informed as we continue to work through these closures.

     

    UPDATE:  March 18, 2020

    All school sites will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, through Sunday, April 5. Remember that staff may be at schools tomorrow and Friday finishing up essential work, but they will not answer phones or welcome any visitors on campus during this time.

    We’ve added a list of Parent Frequently Asked Questions to our website that addresses general information about the closures, meals for students, and distance learning. The list of questions is on the School Closure Resources page on mcs4kids.com and it will be updated on a regular basis.

    The District Hotline mentioned yesterday will be ready for callers beginning March 19 at 8 a.m. The Hotline will provide technology support, a recorded list of meal pick-up times and locations, and mental health support services. The Hotline number is (209) 492-6000 and it will be staffed Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

    Finally, we are committed to keeping you informed as we work our way through the school closures. We will continue to use our messaging system, website and social media to share updates as needed. If you don’t already, please be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter at MCS4kids, and on Instagram at Modesto City Schools. 

     

    UPDATE:  March 17, 2020

    Meal pick-up will be available Monday through Friday starting March 19 through April 3, for those 18 years and under. Children must be present to receive a meal. Each child will receive a bagged lunch and breakfast for the following day. Locations are set up to be drive-through and families are asked to stay in their vehicle. Walk-ups are discouraged, but if it is necessary, please maintain social distancing of six feet. The schedule for meal pick-ups is available on our website at mcs4kids.com under the School Closure Resources banner. Printed copies of the schedule will be available at schools tomorrow, or at the District Office.  

    Information on how to access distance learning materials is available at mcs4kids.com. Printed copies of the information will be available at schools tomorrow, or at the District Office. The distance learning options, which include educational resources and practice exercises, are available on the District website, and will be available on school websites in the coming days. If you prefer printed materials, packets will be available at all scheduled meal pick-up times and locations, and at the District Office located at 426 Locust Street, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.   

    Finally, we are working on providing a hotline for families who need assistance during the school closures. The hotline will provide technical support for online learning, but more importantly, it will provide free counseling services during this trying time. We understand the challenges our families are experiencing and hope that the counseling services will help.

    Remember, school closures begin Thursday and staff may be at schools finishing up essential work before spring break. Staff will not answer phones or welcome anyone on campus during this time.

    We will continue keep you informed using our messaging system, websites and social media as needed. Thank you for your patience as we work through these details. 

     

    UPDATE:  March 15, 2020

    As your Superintendent, I value the enormous amount of trust invested in me to ensure we are providing a quality education and preserving the well-being of close to 30,000 children and 4,500 staff throughout this region. This is a responsibility I take very seriously.

    After much deliberation, I have issued the order to CLOSE all Modesto City Schools sites effective this Thursday, March 19 through Sunday, April 5. I strongly feel this is in the best interest of our students and staff. Later this month, we will notify you if there will be an extension to the closure beyond April 5th.

    By closing on Thursday, this gives our families who need it time to make arrangements for childcare. However, if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our County increases between now and this Wednesday, we will close our schools earlier.

    During the closure, Modesto City Schools will continue to provide much-needed nutrition services to our families with pick-ups at our schools. We will provide the distribution schedule early this week.

    We are also working on providing school work for our students to continue in their education while the schools are closed. This is not finalized at this time, but we will send updates once more information is available.

    Also, with the exception of essential services, I will be instructing the majority of our District staff to work remotely to encourage safety and social distancing.

    I understand the concerns and many opinions that are circulating about COVID-19. I am issuing this executive order as the Superintendent in order to meet the very important needs of my students, staff and families.

    Please continue to check our website for important updates.

     

    UPDATE:  March 13, 2020

    In alignment with all Stanislaus County Public School Superintendents, Modesto City Schools is following the guidelines issued today at 3:00 p.m. by Stanislaus County Public Health Official, Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, MD, MPH, pertaining to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidelines are linked below.

    Based on Dr. Vaishampayan’s guidance and advice, we are keeping schools OPEN at this time. As a District, we directly rely upon and support the guidance from the County Public Health Official, especially given as medical experts, they are focused on the best interests of the community.

    As parents/guardians, Modesto City Schools supports your decision to keep your children home amidst the schools remaining open. If you decide to keep your child home due to illness or related concerns to the Coronavirus, it would be considered an excused absence, with the expectation that your student complete their school work that was missed. This excused absence provision applies for any students missing school as of today, March 13, 2020. The absence notification needs to come directly from the parent/guardian, not from the student.

    It is important to note that all MCS schools are taking precautions on a daily basis to thoroughly disinfect our sites using cleaners and sanitizers that are recommended by the CDC to protect against the COVID-19 virus. In addition, we are advising students, parents and staff to practice good hygiene by washing your hands for 20 seconds; using hand sanitizer; coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or tissue; and staying home if you are sick with a fever and other flu-like symptoms.

    This is a fluid situation, so please continue to check our website for important updates.

    Guidelines Issued from the Stanislaus County Public Health Official – English

    Guidelines Issued from the Stanislaus County Public Health Official – Spanish

     

    UPDATE:  March 12, 2020

    Today, March 12, Modesto City Schools learned that two Downey High School students in the same household have been exposed to the Coronavirus as the result of a family member testing positive yesterday. The students have been tested, but at this time, they have NOT been confirmed to have COVID-19.

    Modesto City Schools remains in close consultation with Stanislaus County Public Health to assess how to best keep our students and school community healthy and safe. Per Public Health’s recommendations, as well as the guiding principles on the COVID-19 virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all Modesto City Schools sites, including Downey High, will remain OPEN until further notice.

    Public Health encourages any student or staff who is sick to stay home until free of symptoms for 72 hours, or after seven days from the start of symptoms, whichever is longer. Additionally, Modesto City Schools has been taking proactive steps to sanitize, deep clean and disinfect all school campuses and support sites on a daily basis.

    The District will continue to work very closely with Public Health and the community to provide updates on any new developments. In the meantime, in order to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, remember to practice good hygiene including: wash your hands for 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer; cough or sneeze into your sleeve or tissue; and stay home if you are sick with a fever and other flu-like symptoms.

    Continue to check our website for ongoing updates.

     

    UPDATE:  March 11, 2020

    This morning, the Stanislaus County Public Health and Health Services Agency announced that two cases of coronavirus are confirmed in our County, pending verification from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One is a passenger from the Grand Princess cruise ship to Mexico, and the other case is being investigated in order to determine the source of the individual’s infection.

    Modesto City Schools takes this very seriously, and we continue to take precautions in our regular cleaning and disinfecting of the school sites. Currently, there are no confirmed cases within Modesto City Schools’ student or staff population. Per Public Health guidance, we are not closing schools at this time, and we will continue to keep the public updated as more information is available.

    As a reminder, to help prevent the spread of the flu or any viruses, please continue to practice good hygiene including washing your hands for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and when sneezing or coughing, be sure to cover your mouth by using a tissue.  And if you are sick, please stay home.

     

    UPDATE:  March 9, 2020

    Over the weekend, the California Department of Public Health issued new School Guidance meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state, reduce the number of people infected, and protect those who are most vulnerable to severe illness.

    Per the updated guidelines, effective tomorrow, March 10, 2020, we are restricting or cancelling all non-essential previously approved out of county and out of state travel and field trips to locations that have confirmed “community spread” cases of the coronavirus. The list of locations experiencing community spread will be reviewed daily. 

    Read the full letter from Superintendent Noguchi:

    March 9, 2020 Coronavirus Update – English

    March 9, 2020 Coronavirus Update – Spanish

    March 7, 2020 California Department of Public Health School Guidance

     

    UPDATE:  March 3, 2020

    We continue to monitor the coronavirus, or COVID-19, situation. As of right now, there are NO confirmed cases in Stanislaus County. We understand there are concerns from parents and the public, and understandably so. This is a new virus and we are still learning from it. However, the health risks remain LOW in Stanislaus County and the general public in California.

    Currently, all Modesto City Schools’ sites are following the same protocols that were set during the H1N1 pandemic, including:

    • Increasing the cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces with a CDC and EPA approved cleaner for “emerging pathogens”
    • Changing practices in school cafeterias to prevent the spread of germs
    • Providing hand sanitizer dispensers at all of our support and school sites
    • Monitoring students’ health based on current guidelines
    • Separating students exhibiting flu-like symptoms and arranging for them to be picked up to go home
    • Encouraging students, parents and staff to stay home if they have flu-like symptoms

    To help prevent the spread of the flu or any viruses, please continue to follow the important tips we previously shared:

    • Get an annual flu shot – this reduces flu related illnesses and the risk of complications.
    • Practice good hygiene etiquette:
      • When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth by using a tissue.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
      • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.  In the absence of soap and running water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • Avoid touching your face since hands can become contaminated by objects.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home if you have flu symptoms.

    Remember – the California Department of Public Health does not recommend the use of face masks for general prevention and says that handwashing provides better protection from infectious diseases.

    We continue to work closely with our county public health official and local school districts to ensure we are all up to date on the latest information, and will keep you up to date of any changes or developments affecting Modesto City Schools.  

    For additional resources, visit: 

    Stanislaus County Health Services Agency

    California Department of Public Health

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

     

    ORIGINAL POST:  February 27, 2020

    We are closely monitoring the coronavirus, or COVID-19, situation. As with any health concern that reaches beyond Modesto City Schools, we have been working closely with our county public health official and local school districts to ensure we are all up to date on the latest information.

    At this time, we are following the same protocols that were set during the H1N1 pandemic. We are monitoring students’ health based on current guidelines. Staff will separate any students exhibiting flu-like symptoms and arrange for them to be picked up to go home. Students, parents and staff are encouraged to stay home if they have flu-like symptoms.   

    To help prevent the spread of the flu, please follow these important tips:

    • Get an annual flu shot – this reduces flu related illnesses and the risk of complications.
    • Practice good hygiene etiquette:
      • When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth by using a tissue.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
      • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.  In the absence of soap and running water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • Avoid touching your face since hands can become contaminated by objects.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home if you have flu symptoms.

    Additionally, the California Department of Public Health does not recommend the use of face masks for general prevention and says that handwashing provides better protection from infectious diseases.

    This is a fluid situation. Our chairperson of school nurses receives regular updates regarding the coronavirus from state and local officials and shares these updates with school nurses across the District. Staff met last week and will meet again later this week following the District’s meeting with the County Public Health Official.

    Please know that student and staff health and safety is always our top priority. We will keep you up to date of any changes or developments affecting Modesto City Schools.