John Bowes
Superintendent's Newsletter
January 21, 2022
Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. Today’s message focuses on MB Preschool, the MBEF Annual Appeal Campaign, a series of important COVID-19 updates from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), an update on elementary parent conferences and report cards, high school report cards, and Kindergarten Information Day.

Spotlight on MB Preschool (with special thanks to Children’s Services Director Kim Johnson.)
MB Preschool students have been focusing on science the past couple of weeks. Students learned about cold weather, the properties of ice, and the habitats of animals that live in the cold. We taught this through our Scholastic curriculum, Let’s Find Out, to help the kids explore, learn, and have fun. Classes played games using mittens to make patterns and conducted science experiments with melting ice. And then, on Friday, they got to experience cold and ice in a big way with one of our all-time favorite days of the year - Snow Day! We were able to bring in a company to blow snow, build a snowman, and set up sled runs. It was a winter wonderland right in Manhattan Beach. Even though Friday was the warmest day of January, students dressed in their snow outfits and came out to play and have fun!
Snow day 1
Snow Man
Snow day 3
MBEF Annual Appeal Campaign Underway!

I am proud to have served as the Superintendent of this amazing District for more than five months now and feel lucky to work with talented, passionate educators, support staff, community members, and strong partners who work to keep MBUSD moving forward. Manhattan Beach Education Foundation has been a vital long-term partner to MBUSD and integral to keeping our one-of-kind programs going strong.

MBEF has funded and supported our schools for the past 40 years and it wouldn’t have been possible without your support. MBEF contributions have greatly enriched the educational experience for our amazing students. Now, more than ever, I hope you can continue to support MBEF by donating to its Annual Appeal campaign before it comes to an end this month. The programs MBEF funds offer hands-on experiences starting at TK and continuing through high school - such as amazing STEAM programs, comprehensive music instruction, and staff to support our students’ emotional well-being, to name a few.

We appreciate all that our community has done to support MBEF and our schools. If you have not donated yet, please give what you can to help our students and teachers excel! We appreciate the support of our families and community partners.

Thank you to all of you who have donated, and I ask that you please donate today by visiting here!
covid updates
Information is constantly changing, and we are doing our best to share the latest with our families and staff. The following COVID-19 health and safety updates are in place for now but may be revised again by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health at any time. As we continue to prioritize in-person learning and maintaining a healthy and safe teaching and learning environment, we will continue to focus on mask wearing, encouraging vaccination, and testing.

Quarantine and Close Contacts:

Importantly, LACDPH has updated its guidance related to potentially exposed individuals. While this has created more categories of individuals, it will also allow more individuals to stay in school. Through the current guidelines, we are now able to implement a “modified” quarantine for staff. In addition, current guidelines provide a “group tracing” model for students, where anyone who shared the same indoor airspace at school with an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period is considered to be potentially exposed, and all of the students in that group can continue to be at school (see chart below).

Asymptomatic Students*
Must wear an upgraded mask** and monitor for symptoms for 10 days
Table 1
*LACDPH applies this guidance to TK-12th grade students only; preschool students must follow a different protocol
**Per LACDPH guidelines, if a student cannot wear an upgraded mask, they must quarantine at home unless exempt.

Asymptomatic Staff Potentially Exposed in Any Setting
Must wear an upgraded mask and monitor for symptoms for 10 days
Table 2 again
Testing Requirements for Positive Cases and Close Contacts
In order to be able to continue to attend or return after day 5 -

  • Some close contacts or positive cases must provide evidence of a test taken on day 5 (others must test between days 3 and 5; see table above). Results must be submitted as soon as they are received. Individuals who do not comply with this will need to stay home from school until the full 10 day quarantine or isolation period has ended.

  • We recommend individuals submit lab-verified or supervised test results to ensure greater accuracy and reliability when submitting evidence that they do not have COVID-19. FDA approved at-home tests are also recognized as valid. 

Importantly, we recommend PCR testing for initial diagnosis (surveillance and close contact testing) and antigen testing for individuals who have previously tested positive and are testing in order to return on Day 5. Antigen tests are a better indicator that the infectious period has passed than the more sensitive PCR tests that can detect non-contagious levels of the virus long after the individual has recovered. 

While we always recommend lab-verified or supervised test, if an individual must submit an at-home over-the-counter test, it needs to be an FDA-authorized test, and the individual must provide:

  • A photograph of the negative test with the individual’s name and test date. 
  • A signed school-specific attestation form confirming the test was administered properly and shows results for the individual submitting it (please contact your school for a link to the form).
Test kit
Sign-up for Free Antigen Tests from the Federal Government!
The federal government is providing each household with up to four free antigen tests sent directly to individuals’ homes. If you have not already done so, you can register to receive these tests at
Upcoming COVID-19 Testing Clinic on January 22 & 29
We are pleased to announce two free Saturday test clinics scheduled for January 22 and January 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. These clinics are open to the community and will be held in a drive-thru format on the Mira Costa High School student parking lot, located at Peck and Artesia.
Testing clinic
Booster Clinic
We are hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics on January 29 and February 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Manhattan Beach Unified Middle School for students and staff. Watch for more details, including how to sign-up.

Participants in any eligible age group can receive first, second, or booster doses through these clinics. This is important because updated LACDPH guidelines emphasize the importance of being “fully vaccinated” by being “up to date” on vaccinations. This means receiving the full course of the initial vaccination series and receiving a booster dose as soon as you are eligible. 

The State of California and LACDPH requirement to wear masks at all times indoors for school districts, campuses, classrooms, and offices remains in effect.

As a reminder, guidelines include:
  • A requirement to wear masks outdoors. LACDPH has clarified their interpretation of this guidance to mean that everyone will wear masks during recess, nutrition, lunch, passing periods, and other campus activities, except when eating and drinking, unless the activity is closely supervised and a 6’ distance between participants can be ensured.    
  • A requirement for staff to wear upgraded masks and a recommendation for students to wear upgraded masks. Per new LACDPH guidelines, all District employees have access to upgraded masks, which are currently available for staff at our schools and offices.
mask wearing
An upgraded mask is defined as a well-fitting, non-cloth mask with multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose-wire. While cloth masks are permissible for students, medical/surgical, N-95 and KN-95 masks provide good single mask protection (please be sure to consider whether N-95 and KN-95 masks are the right size for younger students). Additionally, LACDPH states that, for those wearing surgical masks, double masking, with a cloth face covering worn over the surgical mask, is recommended for enhanced protection. 

See the most recent LACDPH mask guidance for students here and for staff here.

COVID-19 Testing
MBUSD’s weekly on-site testing program is open to asymptomatic students and staff members only. If you haven’t done so already, please sign your student(s) up for our weekly testing

Instructional Support for Students at Home During Illness and Quarantine
If your child needs to stay home due to illness and quarantine, short-term independent study is available. At the elementary level, students can stay engaged by joining our live elementary synchronous morning meetings via Zoom with our MBUSD Elementary Independent Study teacher, Mrs. Opfer. Your child’s teacher will share the Zoom link with you and provide additional ways for your child to stay engaged in their learning.

At the middle or high school level, students should email their teachers and stay up to date by checking Aeries and Google Classroom daily. If your student is required to quarantine, a short-term independent study agreement coming from Informed K-12 will be sent to you via email. The process for initiating the contract, communicating with staff, and preparing student work is time-intensive, and due to a large volume of quarantine cases, this contract may be delayed. Please assist us in moving the process forward by signing the independent study agreement as soon as it is received. Students who are on a short-term independent study agreement due to quarantine may access Air Tutors support. Contact information for Air Tutors is included in an email sent to each parent regarding the short-term independent study learning agreement. Please visit our Educational Services Independent Study webpage for more information.  
Elementary Parent Conferences 
Elementary conferences will be held virtually during the week of January 24-28, 2022. During the conference, your teacher will discuss the winter report card and answer questions with regards to grade level academic and social and emotional expectations. The conference is an excellent opportunity to set goals for your child and ask any questions you may have. If you have not scheduled your conference, please contact your child’s teacher.

Elementary Report Cards 
Elementary report cards will be sent home on Friday, January 21, 2022 and will be available for viewing through our Aeries portal so that you may review your child’s report card prior to the conference. Please visit the Grade Reporting page on the Educational Services website to view a sample report card for your child’s grade level and for additional parent resources.

High School Report Cards
The Mira Costa High School first semester grading window closed on Wednesday, January 12, and first semester grades are now visible to students and families through the Aeries Parent Portal.
Upcoming Events!
Kinder Info Day
We invite families of all rising kindergarteners to attend our Kindergarten information day to hear from our principals, kindergarten teachers, parents, and students about the programs we offer in MBUSD. All children who will be five years old as of September 1, 2022 are eligible to enroll in kindergarten.
You can also learn about Transitional Kindergarten (TK) during Kinder Information Day! TK is the first year of a two-year Kindergarten program that uses a modified Kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year through 2025-2026, there will expanded opportunities for Transitional Kindergarten, which will eventually allow children who turn four years old by September 1 of each year to attend TK in that year. For the 2022-2023 school year, students who turn five between September 2, 2022 and February 2, 2023 will be eligible to enroll in the MBUSD TK program.
The next Superintendent Newsletter will be published on Friday, January 28. 

Thank you for helping us keep our community healthy and safe! I am proud of the steps we’ve taken to provide our students the in-person, safe and healthy, and high-quality educational experience they deserve.

John Bowes, Ed.D.
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266