VCUSD plans to follow vaccine mandate for students, staff – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

The Vallejo City Unified School District, in an email sent to students and their families across the district Wednesday, says it will comply with a state mandate that students and staff must be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend school in person.

The district will host two upcoming vaccination clinics for students and staff: Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Vallejo High School and Thursday, Oct. 14 at the same time at Hogan Middle School.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that students and staff would need to be vaccinated to attend school in person.

Source: Vallejo City Unified School District plans to follow vaccine mandate for students, staff – Times-Herald

Jesse Bethel High School football team expected to begin season this week – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

The fall football season for Jesse Bethel High hasn’t yet been determined by wins, losses or even ties.

The Jaguars’ biggest obstacle hasn’t been a lack of depth or beefy defensive linemen on the other side of the ball. It’s been uncertainty.

Bethel’s season opener against Fairfield last Friday was cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests. The players were tested again on Monday and the team was cleared to practice Wednesday afternoon.

Source: Jesse Bethel High School football team expected to begin season this week – Times-Herald

Jesse Bethel High football program on pause due to positive COVID tests – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

The Jesse Bethel High School football team, which played just one game in the spring, has had at least one game canceled in the fall.

Principal Kirsten Wollenwever announced on Tuesday that all football players — varsity and junior varsity — must not come to campus for instruction or practice for the remainder of the week due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Source: Jesse Bethel High football program on pause due to positive COVID tests – Times-Herald

VCUSD partners with Touro for vaccine workshop – Times-Herald

The Vallejo City Unified School District has once again partnered with Touro University to offer a vaccine workshop.

The workshop is intended to assist families in processing through vaccine hesitancy, a news release by VCUSD stated on Wednesday afternoon. The workshop will be facilitated by three Spanish/English bilingual doctors.

“Even though your students may not be of age for the vaccine, many members of their families likely are – and every vaccinated person helps us with our goal,” VCUSD Assistant Superintendent, Mitchell Romao said.

Source: Vallejo City Unified School District partners with Touro for vaccine workshop – Times-Herald

CC Sabathia gives out thousands of free backpacks – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Although he’s been retired from playing baseball for a few years, CC Sabathia is still making a few good pitches toward his hometown of Vallejo. About 3,000 of them.

All Vallejo students in first through third grade will receive a nice surprise on Thursday with their free backpack from Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation. The backpacks, going out to approximately 15 schools in the city, will come with numerous supplies including pens, pencils, markers, binders, crayons, folders, masks, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc. The backpacks come in four colors — blue, black, yellow and red.

Source: CC Sabathia gives out thousands of free backpacks – Times-Herald

Vallejo students go back to school – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Although they hadn’t been away from campus for as long as the Adam Sandler character “Billy Madison,” there were still many kids in Vallejo on Monday that had their lunch packed up, their boots tied tight while hoping to not get in a fight.

It was the first day of school for students in the Vallejo City Unified School District, which meant for some a return to their schools for the first time in nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. VCUSD let students come back last spring but many finished the 2020-21 school year in distance learning.

The district, which is currently using both the in-person and from home instruction, requires staff to get vaccinated per a mandate made by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month. Teachers and other personnel will be required to be vaccinated or test negative for the coronavirus on a weekly basis, although vaccination is only encouraged for students. Everyone on campus must wear a mask.

Source: Vallejo students go back to school – Times-Herald

VCUSD will follow Newsom’s mandate on teachers, staff – The Vacaville Reporter

By Matt O’Donnell

When the Vallejo City Unified School District opens for school on Monday, it won’t be business as usual.

After a mandate from Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, teachers and other personnel will be required to be vaccinated or test negative for the coronavirus on a weekly basis.

California will be the first state in the country to require this mandate for public schools. Many of the state’s 6.1 million students are returning to classrooms for the fall term amid a sharp rise in infections, partially due to the Delta variant.

Source: Vallejo City Unified School District will follow Newsom’s mandate on teachers, staff – The Vacaville Reporter

Local high school football teams get back to work – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

For the first time in the history of the school, Jesse Bethel High football players were welcomed to official practice on Monday by a different voice.

It was no longer from the stern and wise-cracking Jeff Turner. Instead, the instructions and expectations came from cerebral new head coach Daniel Martinez.

Martinez was officially hired in June to replace Turner, the Jaguars’ first and only head coach since the school opened its doors in 1998. Turner stepped down after his team beat Vallejo 14-7 in the Mayor’s Cup on April 17.

Source: Local high school football teams get back to work – Times-Herald

Local high schools to begin practicing Monday with some COVID guidelines in place – Times-Herald

BY Matt O’Donnell

When coaches and athletes left fields and gyms in June, many figured that August would be different when it came to COVID-19 protocols.

However, for many school districts, it’s still a wait-and-see scenario. Schedules are not exactly written in pencil. But they’re not scrolled in permanent marker either.

With the Delta variant spreading across California, school districts are planning on in-person instruction and athletic events but moving forward with caution. That includes the Vallejo City Unified School District.

Source: Local high schools to begin practicing Monday with some COVID guidelines in place – Times-Herald

Solano County students earn State Fair scholarships – Daily Republic

Two Solano County residents are among those to share in $46,000 in scholarships to college students from the Friends of the California State Fair.

Keaton Stout of Vacaville and Alexandria LaRoche of Vallejo each received $1,000 scholarships.

Twenty-three cities were represented among the winners.

Source: Solano County students earn State Fair scholarships

VCUSD partnering with Touro for vaccination programs – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Although the Vallejo City Unified School District is not requiring COVID-19 vaccinations in order to attend in-person instruction, the district has partnered once again Touro University’s Mobile Program to ensure all members of the community have access to the vaccine.

Both groups have collaborated to organize vaccination clinics directly on a few school campuses. This is the district’s last push for vaccinations prior to the startup of the 2021-22 school year.

“Vaccinations are not required, for students or teachers, but we are encouraging vaccination for all who are eligible,” VCUSD spokesperson Stephen Nichols said. “Masks are required for indoor instruction and activities, per CDPH guidelines.”

Source: Vallejo City Unified School District partnering with Touro for vaccination programs – Times-Herald

Jesse Bethel High replaces Cusi with Wollenweber as principal – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Kirsten Wollenweber has been named the new Jesse Bethel High principal and will replace Dr. Ramon Cusi, who decided recently to resign for “personal reasons” after three years at the helm.

Wollenweber comes to the school with a lot of experience, having been the associated principal at Pittsburg High for the past two years. She began her career at Pittsburg in 1999 at Foothill Elementary where she worked as a teacher and an Early Literacy Coach. She became an administrator in 2004 with the Albany Unified School District. In 2007 she was an assistant principal at Pittsburg High School, and in 2011 was appointed Principal of Marina Vista Elementary School.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Santa Barbara, her master’s degree in educational leadership and her administrative services credential from St. Mary’s College.

Source: Jesse Bethel High replaces Cusi with Wollenweber as principal – Times-Herald

Jesse Bethel Class of 2021 ready to party – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

When giving his speech Friday morning, Jesse Bethel valedictorian Ethan Shull decided to quote the late Scott Heinecke — a longtime teacher and coach at the school who passed away recently:

“Work hard and party even harder.”

The last four years, the Bethel Class of 2021 navigated through numerous difficult situations. On Friday morning at Corbus Field, however, it was finally time to party.

Three-hundred forty-four Jaguar students graduated in a two-part ceremony divided by last names due to COVID-19 safety reasons with maximum occupancy. Although many students wished it could have been done in one ceremony, all of the graduates seemed to be thrilled to have the chance to have a more normal ceremony a year after the 2020 class received its diplomas in a drive-thru parking lot event.

Source: Jesse Bethel Class of 2021 ready to party – Times-Herald

Vallejo High School Class of 2021 embraces its destiny – Times-Herald

By Katy St. Clair

Graduation Day is always a time to celebrate, and the students of Vallejo High School could not have asked for a more perfect day on Thursday as they took to the stage to grab their diplomas and grasp a whole new future.

Most of the grads were born in 2003, the year the Iraq War began, Martha Stewart was indicted for insider trading, “Finding Nemo” was released, and 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” dominated the charts. Now they are emerging in a world where the internet is an even larger part of their lives, Tik Tok rules, and BTS and K-Pop have millions of United States fans.

The school’s Class of 2021 consists of 291 graduates, with 53 students (18 percent) graduating with the Golden State Seal Merit, showing “mastery” of at least six high school subjects.

Source: Vallejo High School Class of 2021 embraces its destiny – Times-Herald

Aevril Figueroa is Vallejo High valedictorian – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Vallejo High School senior Aevril Figueroa envisions a job and a future for herself in architecture. For now, she’s building up quite a resume, including the latest addition: Class Valedictorian.

Figueroa is the top student in the Class of 2021, just four years after moving to Vallejo from Daly City and the Philippines before that.

“I’m in disbelief since I learned I was valedictorian,” Figueroa said. “I didn’t think I would win it and I almost didn’t believe it until one of my friends who is a salutatorian told me it was true. But I’m still kind of in disbelief right now.”

Source: Aevril Figueroa is Vallejo High valedictorian – Times-Herald

Vallejo High wrestler Maylin Reyes signs with Elmira College – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

Like most of her fellow classmates, Vallejo High senior wrestler Maylin Reyes did not have the typical prep career due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Reyes, however, also did not have the quintessential four years due to a serious eye injury.

The 17-year-old put all those obstacles in the past on Saturday when she signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Elmira College in New York. She signed her letter in front of family, coaches and friends in an emotional ceremony in the Bottari Gym lobby.

Source: Vallejo High wrestler Maylin Reyes signs with Elmira College – Times-Herald

SELPA advisory committee recognizes 28 for work with children who have special needs – Daily Republic

Nearly 30 school district staff, community members and one student have been selected for the annual Solano County Community Advisory Committee Recognition Award.

This year’s selections were specifically chosen “for demonstration of outstanding accomplishments and services for individuals with special needs during the 2020-2021 (Covid-19) pandemic.”

Among the qualities attributed to the nominees are “knowledgeable, approachable, welcoming, energetic, enthusiastic and 100% student-focused.”

Source: SELPA advisory committee recognizes 28 for work with children who have special needs

Local high schools going back to traditional graduation ceremonies – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

The days of watching a graduation ceremony from the passenger seat of a car seem to be over for local high schools.

Vallejo, Jesse Bethel, St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Benicia, American Canyon and John Finney high schools will all be returning to a more traditional commencement event during the next few weeks, starting with St. Pat’s this Saturday. Some schools, such as Vallejo, Bethel and possibly Benicia, will be doing two events on the same day, with certain students showing up at one time and the other half at another time later in the day based on what letter their last name begins with.

St. Pat’s has 107 students in its 2021 graduating class, according to the school’s dean of students, Lane Hawkins.

Source: Local high schools going back to traditional graduation ceremonies – Times-Herald

ELITE Public Charter to feature sports in 2021-22 – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

Since Hogan High School closed its doors in 2010, the city of Vallejo has featured four high schools with sports competition — Vallejo, Jesse Bethel, St. Patrick-St. Vincent and North Hills Christian.

A fifth — ELITE Public Charter School — will give local athletes another option starting in the fall.

The Whitney Avenue campus featured classes for the first time in 2020-21. ELITE has about 500 students.

The Eagles will feature competition in six sports — football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and track and field. ELITE will be an independent program in the Sac-Joaquin Section, meaning the school will not be part of any conference.

Source: ELITE Public Charter to feature sports in 2021-22 – Times-Herald

Vallejo, Benicia schools aim for in-person instruction in the fall – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

With the end of the school year on the horizon for the Vallejo and Benicia Unified school districts, focus is now starting to switch to the fall and whether or not the new school year will involve only in-person instruction.

Vallejo is moving toward mostly in-person instruction while keeping the option of distance learning, according to Vallejo City Unified School District spokesperson Stephen Nichols.

Nearby school districts have been back to hybrid or some form of in-person instruction for months, but VCUSD returned just recently with 7th grade through high school coming back on April 19 and kindergarten through sixth grade on April 12.

Source: Vallejo, Benicia schools aim for in-person instruction in the fall – Times-Herald