Pandemic’s Second Year Drafts the New Normal

First published in the Jan. 1 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The coronavirus pandemic induced a wave of changes — some small, others major — across the United States, California and Burbank in 2021.
COVID-19, which has killed more than 800,000 U.S. residents, still leered over the resumption of public events, face-to-face classes and crowd-thronged sports games. And with the rise of the virus’ Delta variant, as well as the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, officials announced additional restrictions and requirements, often influenced by the coronavirus vaccines.
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BUSD Says Its Employees Must Be Vaccinated

First published in the Sept. 4 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine officially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Burbank Unified School District is following the lead of other educational institutions and districts in requiring all employees to be vaccinated.
The BUSD Board of Education stood firm on its decision, voting 5-0 to adopt the resolution despite pleas from some who work with the district opposing the vaccine mandate. Continue reading “BUSD Says Its Employees Must Be Vaccinated”

BUSD Students to Return to Campuses on Monday

This article was originally published in the Burbank Leader on Aug. 14

The past 17 months have been anything but ordinary for California students and teachers who dealt with distance learning and, later, limited in-person instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the Burbank Unified School District is ready for a semblance of normal life with a return to a full five-day, in-person schedule on Monday, Aug. 16.
“I am very excited,” said BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill in an interview on Thursday. “Last year’s school opening just wasn’t the same. To have our teachers and employees back on campus — I can’t wait. The energy we got in the fall from hybrid learning and full in-person [instruction] for the summer was a good start, and I feel comfortable with the safety measures we’ve been putting in place.”

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School Budget Study Session Reveals Effects of Cuts

Burbank Unified School District staff members on Thursday updated the Board of Education on the district’s budget situation, presenting the most recent financial projections and the potential fallout of local cuts amid the threat of state funding reductions — a situation that itself appeared highly changeable.
The figures shared at a special meeting were in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revise — a proposal that would severely cut school funding due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — but they could change if he approves the budget agreed upon by both houses of the California Legislature on Monday. That version would essentially eliminate the 10% reduction proposed by the governor.
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