BUSD Steps Up COVID Measures

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

A winter surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to rage through Los Angeles County and the Burbank Unified School District is doing what it can to allay concerns from families and employees.
The district distributed at-home coronavirus test kits to families last week and hosted three testing clinics to keep transmission low at BUSD sites. It also acquired medical-grade masks that are now required for employees and surgical masks for students.
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Wrestlers Get a Room of Their Own

First published in the Jan. 13 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The winter season is one that is known to be one of giving with the holidays, and two local Girl Scouts bestowed the ultimate gift to the La Cañada High School varsity girls’ wrestling program — one that will keep on giving for years to come.
Anna Kleineahlbrandt and Amber Mase — both 8th-graders at LCHS — recently converted a storage and laundry room into a locker room for the girls’ wrestling team, which didn’t have any private space to call their own. The project earned the pair their Girl Scout Silver Award, one of the highest honors given to Cadettes who complete a plan that can improve their community.
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District OKs Cloud-Based Security System

First published in the Jan. 13 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The La Cañada Unified School District took a major step in beefing up its security at all school sites with the Governing Board’s approval of a contract that will replace the existing system with one that is modern and cloud-based.
Board members voted 5-0 in favor of purchasing hardware, software and a 10-year licensing agreement from Verkada, a California company that specializes in cloud-based security systems. The total cost amounts to $508,706. The district will also require additional wiring for the cameras, which is estimated at $189,759, but La Cañada will seek funding from the federal government through the Schools and Libraries Program, which was created to give discounts to schools looking to make telecommunications and information services upgrades.
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LCUSD’s COVID Precautions Pay Off

First published in the Jan. 13 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

One week removed from having to postpone the return to in-person instruction following the winter break due to a concerning number of COVID-19 positive cases, the La Cañada Unified School District had better news for stakeholders during the Governing Board meeting on Tuesday.
The precautions taken worked, with the positivity rate dropping from 10% last week to 1.8% on Monday. After having nearly 300 students and staff test positive for the coronavirus at testing sites on Jan. 3 and 4, the district distributed at-home COVID-19 test kits provided by Los Angeles County to families and staff and asked them to test on Sunday and submit the results by the evening.
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BUSD Returns to School Amid COVID Spike

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Schools throughout the state grappled with returning from the winter break for in-person instruction amid a concerning COVID-19 surge due to holiday gatherings and a more transmissible Omicron variant.
The majority of districts in Los Angeles County had scheduled reopening for business this week, including the Burbank Unified School District, which held an emergency meeting on Sunday, Jan. 3, to explore the possibility of extending the break by one week to give stakeholders and employees an opportunity to test before returning to campuses and get accustomed to the new health and safety protocols implemented by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
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County Issues Stricter COVID Rules for Schools

First published in the Jan. 6 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health revised its health order for schools last weekend in an effort to combat a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across Southern California since Christmas.
All school employees are now required to wear medical grade masks — such as surgical or KN95 masks — while working and the county suggests that students also wear them.
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It Was a Year of Living Hesitantly

First published in the Dec. 30 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The year 2021 is coming to a close much like it did in 2020: with a rise in COVID-19 cases due to families throughout the nation gathering for the holidays amid the discovery of a more transmissible Omicron variant — which has supplanted Delta as the dominant strain.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported nearly 12,000 new coronavirus cases on Christmas, a stern reminder that the pandemic is still very much present and will likely remain in our lives in 2022. The disease has claimed more than 815,000 lives in the United States alone and continues to affect municipalities, businesses and everyday life across the world.
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Relief Funds Keep BUSD’s Finances Afloat

First published in the Dec. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank Unified School District looks to be in good shape financially for this fiscal year thanks to one-time COVID relief money but declining enrollment numbers and the rising cost of employee pensions paint a dire picture for the next two years.
Debbie Kukta, BUSD assistant superintendent of administrative services, presented the first interim report that projects finances through 2023-24 to the Board of Education on Dec. 16. She started with the good news: the state’s Legislative Analyst Office projects a surplus which could increase funding for public schools.
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City Council Sets Zoning Standards With New Ordinance

First published in the Dec. 23 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

In a race against the Jan. 1 deadline, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council adopted an urgency ordinance Tuesday that imposes objective zoning standards as well as subdivision and design standards to implement Senate Bill 9 within the city’s General Plan.
The LCF City Council unanimously approved the urgency ordinance 4-0 — Mayor Pro Tem Keith Eich was absent from the meeting — and LCF staff will then have a regular ordinance reviewed by the Planning Commission on Jan. 13. The panel will provide staff with direction and its own recommendations before it makes its way to the City Council sometime in February.
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New Local Sheriff Pleased to Serve LCF

First published in the Dec. 23 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

Several members of the La Cañada Flintridge community attending the final City Council meeting of the year Tuesday were introduced to the new sheriff in town.
Lt. Robert Hahnlein provided a public safety update and did so as acting captain, a position that was appointed to Todd Deeds more than two years ago.
“I’ve been here maybe five weeks now,” Hahnlein told the Outlook Valley Sun in a phone interview, “and it’s been a good experience. Everyone here is very friendly and has been very welcoming.”
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