First published in the Dec. 16 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
In the La Cañada Unified School District’s annual organizational meeting Tuesday, the Governing Board unanimously voted to have Dan Jeffries to serve as president in 2022 and appointed Joe Radabaugh and Josh Epstein as vice president and clerk, respectively.
Jeffries commended outgoing Board President Kaitzer Puglia for her leadership during a difficult time.
“It’s been a challenging year for many of us and for the community, and I think we’re very fortunate and very blessed to have had you as our leader,” Jeffries said.
Puglia expressed similar gratitude for her colleagues and district staff for helping her navigate through a year that included what she called “interesting experiences” with the COVID-19 safety on campuses and La Cañada’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative — issues that were met with resistance from a group of stakeholders.
“I’m also grateful to our community for holding us all accountable,” she said. “In all honesty, I’m not too thrilled about the approach and tenor of some of that accountability, but I am truly grateful because when we have the community holding us accountable, it means the community members are engaged, and who wouldn’t want the engagement from [the] community?”
Puglia also thanked the students for their work and appreciation, saying, “They’re amazing young people who provide leadership and show us what leadership is from a very young age.”
Jeffries enters 2022 having already served as president once before, and hopes for a less eventful year.
“I greatly appreciate [my colleagues’] confidence and trust in me,” he said.
LCUSD URGES FAMILIES TO ‘BE SAFE’ DURING WINTER BREAK
La Cañada Unified has successfully kept transmission of COVID-19 at bay on its campuses throughout the year, and Superintendent Wendy Sinnette hopes to keep it that way after the holiday.
Sinnette updated the Governing Board on the district’s current safety protocols Tuesday and said they may be more restrictive should there be a surge in coronavirus cases.
“It is important to be mindful of the risk of infection,” Sinnette said. “They’re talking about a potential surge.”
In an effort to avoid having infected staff and students returning to campus after the break, LCUSD will have voluntary testing clinics at every school site on Jan. 3 and 4 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and request that staff and parents provide vaccination updates. The district will also be offering booster shots to eligible families this Friday.
“Families are strongly encouraged to test, whether you’ve traveled, whether you’ve not traveled, anybody who has been in a multifamily gathering,” Sinnette said. “We really want to make sure we start the new year off right and make sure that we know that our entire population is COVID free.”
As of Tuesday, the district had reported 54 positive COVID-19 cases throughout all four school sites, 29 of them from Palm Crest Elementary. For comparison to the other school sites, Paradise Canyon has reported 11 cases so far and La Cañada Elementary has had only eight.
However, Sinnette wasn’t concerned about the higher number of cases at PCR because it has more families opting in for testing than any of the elementary sites with 351 weekly tests. PCY performs 250 tests per week and LCE has only 191, with the largest percentage of families opting out of testing, according to Sinnette.
“[PCR is] the site that has been impacted the most but I also have to commend them for their diligence and the pervasiveness of their testing because I think it’s the most robust program that we have in the district,” Sinnette said.
La Cañada Flintridge has one of the highest vaccination rates in Los Angeles County, with 97.7% of children 5-11 and 87.9% of individuals 12 and older having received at least one dose of the vaccine.