Dear Families, Our annual District of Choice (DOC) program application period is now open. The application process for NEW students opened on October 1, 2021 for the 2022-2023 school year, and it will remain open until December 31, 2021. We want to share this information with our existing families so that you are aware of this timeline. In case you have a sibling that you would like to bring to Oak Park USD next school year, you must complete an application for that child by December 31st. Once your application is successfully submitted, you will receive an email that confirming the submission. Applications received after December 31st cannot be considered for the 2022-2023 school year. Legislation governing the DOC program mandates three priority levels when accepting students into the district under this program. These students will be the first to be admitted if there is a lottery according to the following priority:
Siblings of students currently attending Oak Park Schools
Students who qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program
Students of active-duty military personnel
A separate application must be submitted for each student within a family requesting a transfer under the DOC program. When families apply under the DOC program within the October 1st - December 31st window, they do not need to obtain a release from their resident districts. The application is simple and can be accessed along with information about our DOC program at http://www.opusd.org/DOC . Please Note: If your child(ren) are currently DOC students attending any Oak Park DK-12 school, YOU DO NOT NEED TO RE-APPLY . Students accepted into the district under this program are not required to get year-to-year approval and may continue attending our schools through high school graduation. Admission into Oak Park USD under the DOC program is subject to space availability and is governed by the school board's action in December, determining the number of projected vacancies for next year. If the number of applications exceeds the number of vacancies, a lottery will be held at the January 22, 2022 Board of Education meeting to determine the order of acceptance. If you know people who reside outside of Oak Park who may be interested in bringing their children to our schools, please forward this email to them and invite them to the Virtual Parent Information Night Zoom webinar ( www.opusd.org/DOCinfo ) to be held on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 6:30 pm, with a grade-level Q&A session at the end. It is not essential for new applicants to attend the information night. However, if they are interested in learning more about our schools as well as the application and admission process, this session would be informative and helpful. We will post the recording on the DOC website as well. Thank you, Dr. Jeff Davis Superintendent October 20, 2021 District of Choice Webinar - www.opusd.org/DOCinfo
Dear Families, I want to provide you with an update on the message I sent on October 4, 2021 regarding Governor Newsom’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and share some additional information with you. As you are aware, the Governor’s mandate directs the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required for in-person school attendance. The requirement will be phased in by grade span and will apply to all public (which includes charter schools) and private elementary and secondary school students throughout the state. In addition, all school and district staff will be required to be vaccinated when this requirement takes effect for students. We understand some families have questions and concerns about this proposed mandate and that others support the decision. As a district, we are obligated to implement and follow state Health and Safety Code requirements, laws and regulations, and vaccination requirements under sections 120325 - 120380 of the California Health and Safety Code . Our school board, district administrators, principals, teachers, and staff must comply with the Governor’s mandate. We want to address the concerns we have heard from our families and offer clarity as to what this proposed mandate means. Below is what we know right now:
The mandate for students to be vaccinated is not currently in effect. The mandate cannot go into effect until a COVID-19 vaccine has full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for specific age groups of students.
Current immunization requirements (Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis (whooping cough), Poliomyelitis, Rubella, Tetanus, Varicella (chickenpox)) were approved through a legislative process, not a governor’s mandate.
California Health and Safety Code Section 120338 allows the CDPH to add to the list of required student immunizations for school admission. Neither public nor private schools have the authority to disregard this requirement.
Under the current order established by regulation, exemptions will be permissible for students. While we wait for additional interpretation and guidance regarding exemptions, our understanding is that requirements established by regulation, not legislation, must be subject to exemptions. For exemptions to be limited, the legislature must take action, which has not happened at this time. Please see this fact sheet with additional information.
Exemptions for student COVID-19 vaccines are not yet applicable because the proposed mandate has not yet taken effect.
The state intends to implement the new mandate in two phases following full approval of a COVID-19 vaccine by age group from the FDA. Phase one will include students in grades 7 through 12, and phase two will include students in kindergarten through sixth grade. While it is anticipated that the first phase will go into effect at the beginning of the 2022/23 school year, the date is subject to change depending on the FDA approval timeline.
Oak Park will continue to offer the Independent School option through Oak Park Independent School (OPIS) for families who do not want their students to be vaccinated per the Governor’s mandate or the current legislative regulations.
K-12 staff vaccinations - the current testing options would be eliminated when phase 1 is implemented for students. Governor Newsom has stated that he wants the vaccination requirements for staff to be at least as rigorous as those for students. We do not have any guidance for exemptions for staff.
CDPH will initiate the rulemaking process and write regulations that will address requirements such as the process and scope of medical and personal exemptions. If you have opinions that you would like to share about this new regulation or provide input on the rulemaking process associated with this new mandate, please direct those to the California Department of Public Health at 916-558-1784 or your local legislative representatives. The District is committed to providing in-person instruction to our students, and we want our staff and families to feel safe and supported. At this time, we encourage all those who are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated. The District will be hosting a mobile vaccination clinic in collaboration with Ventura County Public Health on Friday, October 29, 2021 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the front parking lot of the Oak Park USD Office, 5801 Conifer Street, CA 91377. We are making it through these challenging times by working together, and I thank you for your continued support of our safety efforts. Sincerely, Dr. Jeff Davis Superintendent
October 11, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples' Day where we recognize and commemorate the history and culture of the Indigenous communities that have lived in the United States for thousands of years. In Oak Park, it is an important day to acknowledge that the land that our schools and facilities rest on has been the home to the Ventureño Chumash indigenous communities for at least the last 13,000 years. At the May 18, 2021 Meeting, the Oak Park USD Board of Education approved a Land Acknowledgement Statement which formally recognizes and pays respect to the Indigenous communities. It is intended to raise awareness regarding the enduring relationship between Indigenous people and the land. Mr. Alan Salazar who is an educator, visionary, spiritual advisor of Chumash and Tatavian Native American descendent was involved in this discussion. The statement was approved by the Chumash tribal leadership. Mr. Salazar is a leading cultural resource consultant for the Ventura Indian Educational Consortium. This Land Acknowledgement is published on the District website and every regular Board Meeting Agenda. A plaque will be installed at the District Office and Oak Park High School in the future.
Land Acknowledgement Statement
The Oak Park Unified School District acknowledges the original inhabitants of the land that our school district encompasses. The land that our schools and facilities rest on has been the home to the Ventureño Chumash indigenous communities for at least the last 13,000 years. Please join us in honoring these ancestral grounds by expressing gratitude for the people who stewarded this land throughout the generations and continue to do so. We also celebrate the resilience and strength that all Indigenous people have shown and continue to show in our region and beyond in the face of systemic injustice.
Hello Oak Park Community! The County of Ventura and the Oak Park Unified School District are offering a mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. The clinic will be Friday, October 8th and 29th from 3 pm - 6 pm. The clinic will be at the Oak Park Unified School District Office, front parking lot (along Medea Creek Ln.) Parking is available on Medea Creek Ln for this event. This clinic will have the Pfizer booster vaccines available as well. Pfizer’s Booster shot has been approved for boosters, and VCPH/CDPH has started administering this booster to people who fit certain categories. For booster information, please visit: Booster Shots – Ventura County Recovers Thank you for helping keep our community safe! Brad Benioff Director of School Safety and Student Support
Dear Families, On Friday, October 1, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a phased-in approach requiring K-12 students to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which begins when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has issued full approval for doses to younger age groups. There are many unanswered questions related to timing and exceptions to this mandate. Here is a summary of what we do know and also what information is to be determined: K-12 vaccine mandate - what we do know:
The Governor directed the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to follow the procedures established by the legislature to add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance, such as measles, mumps, and rubella, pursuant to the Health and Safety Code .
The COVID-19 vaccine will be treated similarly to the 10 vaccines on the list already required for students attending public, charter, and private K-12 schools in CA.
Currently, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine approved by the FDA for people 16 and older but has so far only been given emergency authorization for children aged 12 to 15.
COVID-19 vaccine requirements will be phased-in by grade span, Phase 1 (grades 7-12) and Phase 2 (grades K-6).
This mandate will be a condition of in-person attendance. There will be no testing alternative to the mandate.
Requirements established by regulation, not legislation, must be subject to exemptions “for medical reasons, personal and religious beliefs" (This mandate would fall under those exemptions.)
K-12 staff vaccinations - Testing options would be eliminated for staff when phase 1 is implemented for students. Governor Newsom wants the vaccination requirements for staff to be at least as rigorous as those for students.
K-12 vaccine mandate - what we need more details on:
Date of FDA approval for 12-16 year-olds. The approval is expected in November 2021 for children 12 to 17 years old (with authorization for younger children likely in early 2022).
The mandate would go into effect either January 1, 2022 or July 1, 2022. But based on current projections, California officials say the requirement would likely begin for ages 12 and up in July 2022.
A student who is not vaccinated may remain enrolled in independent study but may not attend in-person instruction.
Students under the age of full approval, but within the grade span, will be required to be vaccinated once they reach the age of full approval (with a reasonable period of time to receive both doses), consistent with existing procedures for other vaccines .
Under the current plan, exemptions to this mandate will be available not only for medical and religious beliefs but also for personal belie. However, if the legislature adds the COVID-19 vaccine to the current statutory structure, personal and religious belief exemptions may be eliminated. CDPH will develop personal and religious belief exemptions rules following a public comment period.
According to California School Boards Association President Dr. Susan Heredia, “ The patchwork of different methods for COVID-19 mitigation at the local level was not the most effective approach for this particular crisis. California requires a more comprehensive strategy that frees local school boards from the need to act as de facto public health officials. Those decisions are better left to people at the state level who are designated to perform public health functions. ” OPUSD has stated from the beginning that we follow state and local mandates. That position has not changed. We understand this will significantly impact staff and families in our district and other districts in the county and state. Please know that for now, all of our current COVID-19 precautions and processes remain in place with no additional changes. We will continue to keep you updated with additional information as it becomes available. Thank you, Dr. Jeff Davis Superintendent