Superintendent's Update - August 27, 2021

As I have visited classrooms, I have been impressed with the work that our teachers are engaging in to build strong relationships and connections with their students, build a sense of community and belonging in their classrooms, and, of course, rigorous instruction.
I would like to thank all of our teachers and staff for working together to get us to this moment. I also want to express my gratitude to our parents and families for their trust and confidence in our team to provide a safe return to in-person learning.
Last week, I had the opportunity to introduce myself formally to all of our teachers and staff at our in-service prior to the first day of school. In addition to sharing more about myself, I spent some time reviewing my definition of equity. Equity is a word that many use these days, especially in education circles, but often there is not a common understanding of what it means. Below is the definition that I shared:
“All students achieve at high levels regardless of their demographics, backgrounds, or circumstances by ensuring a world-class education that is:
• Rooted in high expectations
• Relevant and meaningful
• Personalized
• Inclusive and free from bias
Resources are allocated based upon what each student needs to be successful.”
I think it is important you know how I define equity, as it is an important lens I use when thinking of how we can continue to improve the work we are doing on behalf of students. I look forward to engaging with everyone further on this topic in the future.
Below are some important updates related to the start of the school year.

Ryan D. Smith, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms

As we have shared in previous updates, we continue to ask that parents screen their student(s) for any COVID-19 related symptoms prior to sending them to school.  If a student has any of the symptoms below, the student should be kept home:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Prior to COVID-19, it was not uncommon for a parent to send a student to school with any of these symptoms.  Times are different now.  If your student is exhibiting any of these symptoms, please keep your student home.

MUSD COVID-19 Dashboard

To ensure transparent and accurate information regarding COVID-19 cases within our district, we are providing a dashboard as of the start of the 2021-22 school year (Wednesday, August 18).  A link to the dashboard is located on the district’s COVID-19 webpage. All data in the dashboard indicate confirmed active cases among our students and staff.  Dashboard data is updated within 24 hours of learning of any confirmed active cases, and is not updated on weekends or other non-school days.  Cases are removed from the dashboard once the student or staff member is cleared to return to school or work.

Quarantine Procedures for Close Contacts

In the event that a case of COVID-19 is identified in any of our schools, our staff works together to identify any students who might have been a “close contact.” A close contact is defined by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) as anyone who was: a) within 6-feet of the person who is confirmed positive for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, or, b) had unprotected contact with the person’s body fluids and/or secretions, for example, were coughed or sneezed on, shared utensils or saliva, or provided care without wearing appropriate protective equipment.

LACDPH requires students who are close contacts to be sent home to quarantine for 10 days unless they are vaccinated and not showing symptoms.  If the student takes a COVID test on the fifth day of quarantine, the student can return to school after seven (7) days, so long as there are no symptoms.  Please note that these rules are specific to Los Angeles County.

California’s Vaccination Requirement for School and District Staff

At the August 25 Board of Education meeting, district staff shared information about how our district will address Governor Newsom’s order requiring school district employees to show proof of vaccination, or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing; while the order is currently in effect, schools and districts have until October 15 to comply.  This presentation to the Board details our plans regarding this, as well as our timeline.


ParentSquare is an important tool for our parents and families to stay connected with news and information that is happening in our schools and around the district.  We have added a ParentSquare section to our district and school websites for parents who would like to learn more about Parent Square and how to sign up.  Please help us spread the word to any parents or families who may not be aware of this tool.

Picture of the Week

The Monrovia High School Wildcats kicked off the start of the 2021-22 football season on Friday, August 20 at home against West Covina High School. Our team pulled out a thrilling 28-26 victory! It was great to cheer our team on to victory, along with our students, parents and families, community members, and, of course, our amazing band and cheerleaders. The picture below is of our team getting ready to run out onto the field.  I especially loved seeing our country’s beautiful flag proudly on display.