The Goleta Education Foundation (GEF) is committed to supporting Goleta elementary schools through the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID Relief Fund is designed to help the Goleta Union School District (GUSD) financially during this challenging time to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and staff in order to promote the best learning opportunities for all students in GUSD. GEF’s goal is to raise $80,000 to increase teacher and staff COVID testing.
“Currently, 25% of GUSD staff are tested every two weeks. Most universities are testing their onsite staff once a week. More frequent testing and early identification of COVID-positive staff members will reduce the chance of outbreaks and keep students and their families safer. It also provides us a clearer and more accurate picture of the health of our local community so we can make better-informed decisions about classroom and school safety,” said Vicki Ben-Yaacov, the newly elected GUSD Board of Trustees Member.
Currently, GUSD schools are open for special needs students and provide essential child care for employees. The District is gradually bringing back small groups of students who are the most adversely affected by remote learning. Some students have acclimated to distance learning, however, many need in-person instruction to be successful academically, socially, and emotionally.
While most evidence shows that schools don’t usually cause widespread outbreaks, it is likely that community outbreaks will increase the number of students and staff who need to quarantine due to exposure to someone with COVID-19. The cost of testing half the District’s employees is nearly $40,000 per month. With $80,000, GUSD could add at least two additional testing dates for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
“GEF is proud to partner with GUSD in this important effort. There have been tremendous demands placed on the school district this year in addition to remote learning. The need for PPE, changes to food service, and essential technology updates have been unexpected costs to the District,” said Emily Izmirian, GEF President. “Your donation ensures that our local schools can meet the highest standards for safety precautions for GUSD students and school staff.”