GUSD: Return to School Update from Superintendent Vivian Ekchian

The email below was sent today by GUSD Superintendent of Schools, Vivian Ekchian, Ed.D. Please note the inclusion of the GUSD COVID-19 dashboard.

Dear Glendale Unified Students, Families, Employees and Community:

I want to provide you with an update on where we stand in regards to reopening schools for in-person teaching and learning. Los Angeles County remains in the Widespread (Purple) Tier for COVID-19 transmission. Schools may not reopen fully for in-person instruction until the county has been in the Substantial (Red) Tier for two weeks. However, on September 14, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued guidance that students with special needs were allowed to return for in-person learning in small cohorts. Based on this guidance, we have been negotiating diligently with our teachers’ union to return our highest need students for on-campus instruction.

On October 12, the Glendale Unified School District sent a proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) to the Glendale Teachers’ Association bargaining team establishing a plan to safely return small cohorts of students with special needs for on-campus instruction. Despite a prior agreement to bargain the return of students with special needs on an expedited basis, union leadership requested two weeks to review Glendale Unified’s proposed MOU. The counter-proposal we received today from GTA did not include any indication that our teachers’ union plans to return students to school. District leadership has provided GTA with six proposed dates to continue negotiations: November 4, 12, 18, and December 2, 9, 16. We hope to settle negotiations and return our highest need students to campus as soon as possible.

Since March 2020 when our schools were abruptly shut due to the pandemic, Glendale Unified employees have worked tirelessly to ensure that we are ready to safely welcome students back to our school sites when permitted. We have implemented strict health and safety protocols that have proven effective for our students and staff through the operation of our summer childcare program and our Technology Learning Pods. To date, we have zero cases of on-site COVID-19 transmission at our school and district facilities.

We are committed to providing accurate and transparent information with our community as we plan for the careful and deliberate return of students for on-campus instruction. Today, Glendale Unified released a public dashboard to share real-time COVID-19 testing and positivity rates at our school and district sites. You can find this dashboard on our website at

Student and employee safety is and always will be our top priority. We follow all guidelines from the Los Angeles County and California Departments of Public Health and the CDC. Following the most recent health department guidance, and based upon our successes with our summer childcare program and Technology Learning Pods, we are confident that our schools and staff are well equipped to safely welcome back our highest need children, who face the most challenges with Distance Learning.


Vivian Ekchian, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Author: GCGW admin

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