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Superintendent Update 01.14.22

Dear BUSD Students, Families, and Employees:

 

We want to thank you for your partnership as we work together to keep our students and employees safe during this COVID-19 surge. We are working closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to navigate this latest surge of COVID-19. We are working to acquire additional testing supplies. Over the course of this week, there have been several updates to State and County health guidelines, this message will provide an overview of those changes.

 

Per LACDPH guidance, “from now through the end of January, schools should prioritize identification of COVID-19 on campus and isolation of cases. This should take precedence over other COVID-19 measures.”

 

We realize there is a lot of information in this email, but we want to make you aware of some important changes in reporting and other resources to assist you. Information is changing frequently, we will continue to send updates as we receive new information. We also are working with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to host a Q&A session with our Head Nurse, Lenora Aguilera, Assistant Superintendent, Debbie Kukta, Director of Student Services, Stacy Cashman, and me to review these changes and provide updates regarding our COVID-19 response.

 

General Updates

  • Hotline: LACDPH encourages parents or staff to contact their hotline with questions about the new guidelines and isolation protocols 833-540-0473.
  • Exposure Notification – Group Tracing. Per the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), “your child may remain in school unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.  Being exposed to somebody with COVID-19 does not necessarily mean that your child will become infected.  In fact, scientific research, and experience from around the country – including from California during this school year – demonstrate that schools remain among the safest places for children to be.” Therefore, we will be implementing CDPH’s new Group Tracing Exposure Notification. This will be the main notice that you will receive going forward.
    1. Classroom Closure – Elementary Schools (4 cases within 14 days) – based on the current guidelines, we will close an elementary classroom if there are four or more cases within 14 days within the same classroom. When a classroom is closed the school will notify families, distribute Chromebooks (if needed), discuss the isolation protocols, provide testing information for the class to test on day 5, and explain the instructional model. Teachers will either provide packets, post on Google Classroom, Zoom or provide a combination of those activities for the five days of quarantine.
    2. Classroom/School Closure – Middle School and High Schools – Per the new CDPH guidance, they are not encouraging classroom or school closures. We will notify the middle school and high schools each day of the number of positive cases that we have received. Each positive case will be sent home to isolate. The entire school will receive a General Exposure Notification letter. Given the current surge, all individuals at a middle school or high school will need to monitor symptoms, wear a surgical mask (or better), and test weekly. We are currently expanding the number of clinics we offer, so that all students may test each week starting 1/24/22.
  • Independent Study: For this week and last week. Absences will be excused. Starting Tuesday, 1/18/22 – students will need to return to in-person instruction or enroll in independent study. Absences will not be excused starting 1/18/22.
  • Surgical Masks and PPE: All school sites have surgical masks for students. During this current surge, all students must wear surgical masks (typically blue, black, or white disposable masks). The school will provide a mask to all students who need them. Student KN95 masks have been ordered and will be available upon request. Appropriate exceptions are made for special education students (face shield with a drape). Sites have been allocated appropriate PPE and supplies. Please check with your office manager or supervisor to request PPE. KN95 masks, N95 masks, or supplies if you need anything.
  • Testing Mandate: We are making progress securing additional testing kits and clinics in order to start our testing mandate for all students and employees by 01/24/22. More information will be shared next week. In the meantime, if you have not registered for testing, please register before 1/24/22 via this link.
    1. Starting 1/19/22 – every household can order four tests from covidtests.gov

 

Student and Family Updates

  • Students and Staff Negative Test Reporting: Please submit and upload test results to the following link in order to return to school or work after testing positive or if you are identified as a close contact https://forms.gle/piqzEYiH7LRc9gZT7.
  • Student Vaccination Status: Please submit and upload vaccination and booster dates and verification to this link https://forms.gle/6TaNnkqqeFgDdxXD8.
  • Student Boosters: LACDPH clarified that it is encouraged for eligible students to receive their booster, but fully vaccinated students who have not received a booster are still considered fully vaccinated and they do not need to quarantine if they have negative test results and do not have symptoms. Anyone (vaccinated, unvaccinated, or fully vaccinated with a booster) MUST isolate if they test positive or have symptoms.

 

Employee Updates

  • Employee Boosters and Testing: LACDPH has updated their guidance and has clarified that fully vaccinated employees who have not received their booster and are a close contact may continue working if they do not test positive and do not have symptoms. They must test negative on day 5 to be able to continue to work.
    1. It is important that we track Booster status for all employees in order to comply with health guidelines. Please upload your status here https://forms.gle/rsBVQs7PzmqntCD79
    2. We are waiting on test kits to provide to employees. In the meantime, employees should go to our clinic or secure a test elsewhere.
    3. Once we receive the test kits, employees must test every Sunday and upload their results by noon. https://forms.gle/piqzEYiH7LRc9gZT7. If the results are positive, employees must submit a substitute request and isolate for a minimum of 5 days. If they test negative on day 5, symptoms are improving, and they are fever-free for 24 hours, they may return to work.

 

We appreciate your cooperation and assistance as we shift to new protocols. Remember to stay home if you feel sick. Your health and safety are important to us and we can get through this surge by working together.

 

Sincerely,

Matt Hill, Ed.D. (he/him/his)

Superintendent

 

 

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