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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Fiesta Days Canceled Amid Hopes July 5 Parade Will Fly

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson and City Manager Mark Alexander attend a former Fiesta Days celebration. This year’s annual event has once again been canceled, but a July 5 parade is being planned in its place.

For the second year straight, the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce will cancel its annual Fiesta Days celebration held over Memorial Day weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions set by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
However, in lieu of the time-honored festival — a tradition since 1974 — the Chamber will plan a parade for Monday, July 5, pending improving coronavirus case numbers throughout the County.
“The decision to cancel Fiesta Days last year, and now, this year, was really taken out of our hands by the Department of County Health — all we could do was try to adhere to the orders,” said LCF Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson. “However, with the improving metrics, it seemed possible that we could at least hold a parade, and that seemed like something positive and hopeful to shoot for.”
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LCUSD Prepares Wider Campus Return Amid Cautious Rollout

‘They’re So Tall!’ 3rd Grade Welcomed Back

Outlook Valley Sun Photo
Energized students are dismissed from La Cañada Elementary School on Wednesday, the first day of an optional return to in-person instruction for 3rd graders. LCUSD is one of the few districts in Southern California to offer on-campus instruction.

The sight of 3rd-graders having their temperature checked before entering campus might not be a normal one for La Cañada Elementary Principal Emily Blaney, but it certainly is a welcome one. Her school, along with Paradise Canyon and Palm Crest, provided in-person instruction to children in 3rd grade for the first time in 11 months on Tuesday.
“We haven’t seen them in a whole year,” Blaney said of the 3rd-graders. “They’re so tall. We just noticed how much they grew.”
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Council Discusses Gift Card Program to Help Local Businesses

Local residents take in some warm summer weather on Wednesday to support local business Soak Nail Bar, which has moved operations outside to observe safety measures put in place by Gov. Gavin Newsom to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council is taking action in assisting businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing a gift card program that would encourage the public to spend locally.
Lisa Brancheau, senior management analyst, presented the idea in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, and the council unanimously approved a motion to allow City Manager Mark Alexander to run a pilot program that will cost up to $15,000. Mayor Mike Davitt and Councilwoman Terry Walker abstained from the conversation and vote because of their stakes in local businesses.
The program will allow people to purchase gift cards at a discounted rate and use them at participating businesses. Staff considered options that included a collaboration with Citizens Business Bank in which it would sell gift cards that function as a debit card. The idea of selling them through City Hall was also explored.
However, the discussion between Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Curtis and members Keith Eich and Richard Gunter favored a digital approach because it would present fewer challenges. Brancheau said other cities have successfully implemented similar programs through Giftbar and Yiftee, and the online platforms make it easier to conduct research and track data. The city would use the agreed-upon $15,000 to pay for any fees incurred on merchants.

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