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September 11, 2020 Friday Letter Volume 2, No. 15
Posted 9/11/20

Friday Letter 6.0

09-11-2020 Organizational Update to the Board

     We are proud to present to our public transparent operations reports on a weekly basis. Read updates directly from our district department leaders in Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark’s weekly Organizational Update to the Board.

Org Update

Board of Education Seeks First Ever Student Board Member

     Over the years, our Board of Education has sought to hear district students’ perspective in various ways. The board has consistently included student leadership from secondary schools on the agenda for regular board meetings, where student leaders report out their schools’ recent activities and share their, “lay of the land.” Of course, trustees also take opportunities to visit school sites and programs to directly connect with those they serve. Most recently, at its virtual meetings, the board sought out student perspectives on subjects like distance learning and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Student Board Member Banner

     In the months ahead, a positive, new dynamic will be introduced, as the Board of Education selects its first ever student board member from a pool of applicants. This student board member will serve an important role of communicating and facilitating the student perspective and participate in most governing board functions. Applicants must meet requirements as listed on the student board member application, which is being shared with all MDUSD 12th graders. Our district believes this will be a fresh, direct way to continue its connection to the student body and will be a reflection and exemplification of the responsibility and accessibility of public office to our students and greater community.

Half-Staff Flag In Recognition of Patriot Day

Half-Staff Flag


     Today, from sunrise to sunset, MDUSD is flying the national flag at half-staff in recognition of Patriot Day, observed as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, in memory of the 2,977 people killed in the 2001 September 11 attacks.


Local Pandemic Data and Why You Should Get Tested

     If you have not yet seen it, California introduced a new tiered restrictions system, under which each county is assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted COVID-19 case rate. The State reviews data weekly and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. 

     Currently, for Contra Costa County to move down to the next tier, daily new cases (per 100k) must be between 4-7 and positive tests must be between 5-8%. If a county’s case rate and positivity rate fall into different tiers, the county remains in the stricter tier.

     Widespread testing provides a more accurate picture of how many cases exist in our community and helps us understand how and where the virus is spreading. Testing helps identify people without symptoms who could be spreading COVID-19 so that they can stay away from work and public places until their infectious period is over. With this in mind, our local health authority encourages residents to schedule an appointment to get tested.

Testing Flyer English  Testing Flyer Spanish

Success Ahead: Our 8th Annual MDUSD College Fair

     The MDUSD College Fair Committee has been hard at work to arrange the 8th Annual MDUSD College Fair, which will take place on Tuesday, September 29. Each year, our College Fair has improved its scope and value for students, and this year is unique in that it will be completely virtual. This event is targeted at Juniors and Seniors district-wide, and will include a total of ninety-one higher education institutions from across the nation in an organized, explorative virtual environment. We care to see our students succeed post-graduation, and for those choosing a college path, we know the high level of exposure to institutions will help to bear better-informed decisions.
     Student registration information will be published in mid-September.

Suicide Prevention: Our Roles

     As our district recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it is in consideration of some startling facts:

  • In 2018, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts nationwide.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • In California, suicide is 2nd leading cause of death for youth and young adults ages 10-34

     Life is precious, and as an organization, we take seriously our role to, “develop systems of support and interventions that focus on meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of student, and [why we] recognize that safe school climates share an important relationship with academic achievement, absenteeism, truancy and health outcomes.” (Board Resolution 20/21-16)

     On an individual level, there is a lot we can do to help:

  • Consider promoting suicide prevention resources on social media
  • Bring the topic of suicide to our family tables to foster open communication and combat the stigma of suicide
  • Reach out to friends and relatives with a wellness check when we can

     I would add to this that suicide prevention skills are more within reach than you might think, and I can testify that the skills prove to be invaluable. In a former social services role, I had the opportunity to attend a two-day suicide prevention training course called ASIST, which I now highly recommend to all able. Of course, there are several types of training opportunities available, some more suitable to busy schedules.

     If you are motivated to do more, learn about suicide prevention advocacy from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). You may be interested to know that the AFSP recently honored Gordon Doughty, a parent of College Park High School graduates, with the National Suicide Prevention Award for his extensive activism on multiple levels.

     For any and all who need help, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255, and can also be reached by texting TALK to 741741.

     Advocates for improved accessibility to help have made waves at the national level; the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, three-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The rules require all phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.

Recommended Precautions - Air Quality Resource

     In the standardized air quality rating system, our air quality today (September 11) is considered to be unhealthy, and tomorrow’s air quality is expected to improve. Here are the recommendations for today’s unhealthy air quality status:

     People with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens – take any of these steps to reduce your exposure:

  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Keep outdoor activities short.
  • Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.

     Everyone else – take any of these steps to reduce your exposure:

  • Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard.
  • Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
  • Be active outdoors when air quality is better.

     Find your local air quality information and forecasts for this week using our recommended resource, AirNow.


Austin Breidenthal
Communications Specialist
Mt. Diablo Unified School District

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