Dr. Robert Gilchick, of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, joined a livestream discussion with Lynwood Unified to share his positive outlook on students returning for in-person instruction and give the District his blessing ahead of its secondary school reopening on May 3.
Gilchick and LUSD Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite convened on April 22 for a Facebook Live audience where they talked about safety protocols, the improving health outlook of LA County, and the District’s strong work in welcoming back children to campuses.
“We’ve been to your schools - we do a site visit on every school that opens,” Gilchick said. “Schools have scored very high on our evaluation tool. Schools are really doing a great job.”
Lynwood Unified began returning elementary students on March 22 for the beginning of a staggered restart and now offers optional in-person instruction at each of its K-6 campuses. Secondary students returning on May 3 will begin with eighth-graders and seniors. The schools will follow the same safety protocols of social distancing, screenings, small groups, and scheduled cleaning and disinfecting.
California’s COVID-19 case rate is now among the lowest in the U.S. A recent seven-day rate found just 40.3 cases per 100,000 people compared to the national rate of 135.5. Lynwood Unified has experienced zero cases of COVID-19 for students or staff since returning to campuses.
“Things are looking so hopeful and so positive compared to where we were a couple of months ago,” Gilchick said. “Having students be able to come back to school and not just receive support for academics, but to restart the social connections, is so important. We really feel that the benefits of having children back far outweighs the risk at this time.”
The District is offering socioemotional support through several programs, including a partnership with Think Together that offers physical activities for K-6 students, as well as partnerships with Educare and the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF). Secondary students have enjoyed the return of sports and clubs, while families have access to a support hotline along with workshops that inspire student success.
“Our support of families is not limited to school hours but continues through programs that provide the community with resources to thrive both at school and at home,” Crosthwaite said. “I’m pleased that Dr. Gilchick emphasized the importance of serving children beyond the classroom and reassured us that we are safely moving forward.”
Crosthwaite holds monthly Facebook Live sessions for the community where he provides District updates and takes questions from the online audience. The guest appearance from Dr. Gilchick also touched on the importance of being vaccinated.
Lynwood Unified continues to substantially increase its number of COVID-19 vaccinated staff and is now helping to vaccinate the entire Lynwood community through its Firebaugh High School site in partnership with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center.
“We feel encouraged by the positive health trends in Lynwood and the return of student life,” LUSD Board President Maria G. Lopez said. “Returning our schools is a major step in restoring our community.”