More than 200 Milpitas Unified School District employees participated in its first routine run of COVID-19 staff testing on December 15-16 before schools headed into the Winter holiday break.
In total, 213 COVID-19 tests were completed and submitted through Curative, which partnered with the district to help administer the non-contact, drive-through testing process for certificated and classified staff. Of the 213 tests, 208 came back negative with one positive result and four others deemed insufficient samples.
“Along with ensuring the utmost safety for all staff, students, and families, our intention is to test all employees monthly before moving to bi-monthly when conditions are safe to move to in-person learning support aligned with our MUSD EducatEveryWhere plan” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan, who was one of the 213 to participate in the first round of testing.
Employees, who were divided into four groups to avoid congestion, drove into the large parking lot at 1331 E. Calaveras Boulevard, stopping at four stations.
Without rolling down their vehicle window, the driver would show their QR code and registration to the employee who would in turn find that person's test packet and place it on a table at the next station. The driver would go to that station, roll down their window, pick up the test packet, and roll the window back up. At the next station, the driver would open the test packet and self-administer the mouth swab test while in their vehicle, as an employee looked on from outside, keeping track of the time and making sure the test was done correctly. Finally, the driver would move up to the last station, and drop their test packet into a test collection box before driving away.
This was a test run of a bi-monthly testing plan for staff that will continue in 2021 at MUSD, which has been proactive since the onset of the pandemic in implementing various COVID-19 safety measures such as promoting and educating social distancing and exposure protocols to staff, students and the Milpitas community through its Safety First Campaign.
“Our Safety First Testing Team made the process smooth and easy to self-administer,” Superintendent Jordan shared. “It was wonderful to see their smiling eyes, and begin this next level of safety for all."
A Q&A with Alex Lee, who at 25 years old won California's Assembly District 25 in the November 3, 2020 election. Lee is the youngest Asian American, first openly bisexual, and first Gen-Z Legislator in California history.
“I’m deeply grateful to the diverse communities of Assembly District 25,” said Lee. “The significance of our victory is part of a bigger, progressive movement ready to fight for a better future for all of us.”
Lee attended Sinnott Elementary School, Rancho Milpitas Middle School and graduated from Milpitas High School (2009-2013). The UC-Davis graduate will represent the 25th Assembly District encompassing Fremont, San José, Santa Clara, Milpitas, and Newark.
What were your experiences at Milpitas High School? Were there any Milpitas HS teachers that made an impact on you while in high school?
Milpitas High School influenced my outlook and politics. It’s a very diverse town and everyone has different political beliefs, and I think that was a strong empathy-building and relationship-building foundation for me. I got to experience through other people’s lives and working with them in classes, that everyone has different challenges in life and different experiences. Growing up that way, I really did want to make a difference in everyone’s life no matter their different challenges in life.
As a product of public schools from elementary school to college, I believe funding public education is important so others have the same opportunities I had. Students at MHS are very fortunate because of the school’s diversity.
Mr. Wrencher, Mrs. Bielski, Mrs. Roy, Mr. Roy, and Mr. Colburn were some of my favorite teachers. They were all incredibly knowledgeable and passionate.
When/How/Why did you decide to run for office?
I didn't think I would ever be running for office. However, I was inspired by the 2012 reelection campaign of Barack Obama in the fall of my senior year. I was deciding among a lot of things, including working in the film and TV industry. Ultimately, I think the Obama campaign sparked the interest in me, so I decided to pursue politics and government as an educational field as well as a career choice.
I've worked in positions that made me the best candidate to represent District 25. I've worked as a legislative policy advisor in both the state assembly and the state senate where I helped write and pass bills. The legislative process is something that is not new to me, and I understand how policy-making already works. When Assemblymember Kansen Chu announced he was vacating his seat, I decided to run. I knocked on 30,000 doors and that relationship-building paid off.
What does it mean to you being one of the youngest legislators in decades?
I have the distinction and responsibility to be a lot of firsts in California. I'm the first openly bisexual state legislator in California, the youngest Asian-American state legislator and first Gen-Z state legislator. That's an immense responsibility to make sure that more young people and more progressives are elected after me to break and shatter those records.
A contingent of former school board members joined current trustees and MUSD team members in congratulating Board Vice President Chris Norwood on his selection as the California School Boards Association’s State Board Member of the Year.
“We all share this award together,” said the 2020 CSBA Golden Gavel recipient. “I am grateful that we have this moment of celebration in these uncertain times, and I can give thanks to all of you in the midst of what we’re going through together. Together, we will continue to do what’s best for MUSD, the students, and the families we serve.”
Norwood, a Milpitas High School alumnus who joined the MUSD Board in 2014 and served as its president in 2019, was chosen among nearly 5,000 school board members making up 977 school boards throughout the state.
“We all know Chris and that he is a strong advocate for kids in the community, especially in Milpitas and MUSD,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “His sense of ‘We’ and investment in building on the greatness that is Milpitas is quite evident in what he does.”
Former school board members Marsha Grilli, Bob Nuñez, Robert Jung, Dan Bobay, Gwan Alisantosa and Michael Mendizabal attended the November 24 virtual meeting to share in the moment with Norwood—who recognized each of them for the roles they played in his governance.
“I am grateful to have each of you as a resource to be able to call whenever I need or have questions, concerns, or ideas,” Norwood said. “Thank you for taking my calls, answering my hundreds of questions, and challenging my thinking over the past six years.”
The CSBA Golden Gavel is awarded to an individual school board member who exemplifies best practices in effective governance and boardsmanship. The recipient is also inducted into the Golden Gavel Hall of Fame.
“The circle of legends that you brought about today is inspiring,” said Board Member Minh Ngo. “They’ve all added to who you are today and yet who you are today is not the end of it. Who you are today is going to continue to really benefit all. You inspire us. You are a living road map of how to be the ultimate role model in the community and better our children’s future.”