Weekly roundup: Anaheim district offers free staff testing, local teacher is among OC’s ‘Most Influential,’ and more

The Anaheim Elementary School District on Monday officially kicked off an initiative to offer free COVID-19 testing to all of its 2,500 employees.

District employee with maskThrough a partnership with the OC Health Care Agency, AESD staff members can visit Key Elementary School at 2000 W. Ball Road in Anaheim from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays for testing in the parking lot. The program is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

“The health of our staff members is our number one priority,” Superintendent Christopher Downing said. “This move will offer our employees more access to free testing. It will make it easier for them to make appointments and to avoid potentially long lines. It is our duty to provide such care to our staff members, and we hope that they will take advantage of this service should the need arise.”

The school district has also been providing free COVID-19 testing to all Anaheim families in collaboration with the the HCA and community partner Latino Health Access.

More information on the Anaheim Elementary School District’s COVID-19 testing sites, dates and times can be found on the district’s website.

And here are some of the other stories we’ve been tracking this week:

  • Laura Gómez, a third-grade teacher at Martin Elementary in Santa Ana who was recently named one of five California Teachers of the Year, can add a new accolade to her resume: She’s been selected as one of the most influential figures of 2020 by the Orange County Register, which published a profile this week.
  • Orange County’s graduation rates continue to trend in the right direction. Of the students who started high school four years ago, more than 9 out of 10 graduated with their peers in 2020, according to figures released by the California Department of Education.
  • Los Alamitos High School shifted back to distance learning this week, with Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Andrew Pulver citing “a substantial increase” in quarantines resulting from close contact with positive cases. The district’s elementary and middle schools will continue with their hybrid schedules, and Los Al High plans to resume on-site instruction on Jan. 14.
  • “Our hospitals are now bombarded,” says Orange County’s top health official, who delivered an emotional appeal this week urging the public to wear masks and avoid gathering with people outside their households.
  • New guidance from the California Department of Public Health classifies youth and adult sports by their level of contact — low, moderate or high — and their transmission risk. Permission to hold competitions and practices will depend on where a county falls on the state’s four-tiered monitoring system, and it would come until at least Jan. 25.
  • An Orange County network is dedicated to bringing community members, health care professionals and other leaders together to collaborate across sectors to prevent and respond to adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs.
  • As advocates push to reopen campuses in Los Angeles County, some teachers associations in Orange County were seeking a return to distance learning, highlighting the intense divide over how to handle schools as COVID-19 rates surge.

The weekly roundup plans to take a two-week break for winter recess, but we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.