2022-2023 COVID-19 Response for Opening Schools
COVID-19 Response Overview
The health and safety guidelines outlined in this document directly reflect the COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
As stated by CDPH: Preamble.
“Disease management strategies in K-12 schools are guided by the principle
that safe, in-person learning is critical to student well-being and development.
COVID-19 is here to stay, but we have learned methods and gained tools to decrease its impact on our health and well-being. California's schools can manage this disease in sustainable and adaptive manners. Additionally, many of the strategies used to address COVID-19 can protect school communities from other diseases and support healthy learning environments.
The guidance is based on current scientific knowledge and anticipated trends. It is subject to change, as COVID-19 conditions can shift rapidly, and our response in schools must remain nimble and responsive to dynamic challenges.”
OVERVIEW OF STRATEGIES TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
Layering mitigation strategies decrease the risk of in-school transmission of the coronavirus. Following are the Mitigation Strategies from the CDPH that will be implemented in the Mount Pleasant School District for 2022-23.
● Staying Up to Date on Vaccinations
● Optimizing Indoor Air Quality
● Encouraging Facemasks
● Getting Tested for COVID-19
● Maintaining Clean Hands
● Managing Individuals with Symptoms
● Reporting COVID-19 disease burden to local health authorities
● Managing Students Diagnosed with COVID-19
● Managing Students Exposed to COVID-19
● Managing COVID-19 Outbreaks
● Cleaning Facilities
What to Do If You Test Positive for COVID-19
If your student tests positive for COVID-19, please see the Managing Individuals with Symptoms section.
The California Department of Public Health offers this link to a secure platform for reporting at-home COVID-19 test results to your California Local Health Department. Please report negative and positive results to help your local health department track COVID-19 in your community. (https://my.primary.health/l/caschools)
Mitigation Strategies by Topic
The virus that causes COVID-19 has reached a level known as Community Spread. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are unsure how or where they became infected. Individuals can reduce their risk of infection by layering multiple mitigations.
Staying Up to Date on Vaccinations
According to the CDPH Guidance:
"Vaccinations prevent illness by working with the body's natural defenses to help safely develop immunity to disease. Not only do vaccinations provide
individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of disease in schools and communities and may help protect individuals who are not vaccinated or those who may not develop a strong immune response from vaccination.
a. California strongly recommends that all eligible individuals get vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up-to-date to protect oneself and reduce transmission of the virus.
b. Additionally, children have fallen behind on receiving other vaccines over the course of the pandemic, placing them and their communities at increased risk of falling ill from other vaccine-preventable illnesses. Schools should review statutory vaccination requirements for entry into K–12 schools and visit Shots for School for information."
To locate a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Santa Clara County, visit sccfreevax.org or phone 2-1-1.
Optimizing Indoor Air Quality
To ensure healthy indoor air quality, we have optimized our ventilation systems following the CDPH Guidance on Ventilation. Our HVAC systems are equipped with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 filters. A MERV rating of 13 or higher (MERV 13+) means that the filter gets rid of at least 90% of the particles the size of virus-containing aerosols. Our system also has the capacity to increase outdoor airflow.
The CDPH guidance strongly recommends using face coverings for all staff and students, regardless of vaccination status.
Masks, particularly high-quality and well-fitting masks (PDF), remain highly effective, inexpensive, and dynamic tools to protect oneself and mitigate transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory pathogens.
Following the guidance:
- Wearing masks is a strong recommendation and no konger a requirement for K-12 and Childcare settings, regardless of vaccination status. Students and staff should follow CDPH masking guidance for the general public, unless otherwide directed by local health departments or as indicated for specific situations. See the Guidance for use of Face Masks web page.
- Students who use face covering will use those provided from home. School will maintain a supply of masks if a student or staff member does not have one and needs one for the day.
- No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a school unless wearing a mask would pose a safety hazard (e.g., watersports).
Maintaining Clean Hands
Hand hygiene can prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
As the CDPH guidance recommends, our staff will teach proper handwashing (soap and water or hand sanitizer) and conduct routine, frequent hand-washing activities throughout the school day. Hand hygiene instruction will include:
- Reinforce washing hands, avoiding contact with one's eyes, nose, and mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes among students and staff.
- Promote hand washing throughout the day, especially before and after eating, after using the toilet, and after handling garbage or removing gloves.
- Ensure adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, tissues, no-touch trash cans, face coverings, and hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol for staff and children who can safely use hand sanitizer.
Managing Individuals with Symptoms
Daily screening for symptoms is essential to reduce spreading illnesses, including the coronavirus.
Before sending your child to school or the bus stop:
- Parents/Guardians need to check their child for symptoms of illness. Common symptoms of the virus that causes COVID-19 are: Fever or chills; Cough; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Fatigue (tiredness); Muscle or body aches; Headache; New loss of taste or smell; Sore throat; Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; Diarrhea.
All persons with COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status or previous infection, should
● Isolate. If the student is sick, keep the child at home and report the absence to the school.
● If symptoms are concerning for COVID-19, it is strongly recommended that students wear a mask and get tested immediately. If the results are positive, students should also follow CDPH recommendations for retesting and/or isolating.
● Administer a COVID-19 antigen test to determine the child's infection status.
○ CDPH recommends that antigen tests be the primary option for detecting COVID-19 in schools rather than PCR tests. Both the professional, on-site antigen tests as well as over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen tests have been effective in identifying persons who have infectious levels of all known variants of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2).
○ As supplies are available, the school will provide an antigen test for each student.
Due to the increased travel and social interactions that often occur during school breaks, it is recommended that students and staff get tested for COVID-19 before returning to school following major breaks (e.g., summer, winter, and spring).
Support from School Staff
● Alternate assignments are available to children who need to stay home because they are sick or in isolation due to COVID-19 infection.
Reporting COVID-19 Disease burden to local health authorities
Prompt reporting of positive COVID-19 cases can help reduce greater virus transmission.
By law, health care providers (HCP) and laboratories are required to report cases of COVID-19.
When using an at-home test, please notify your healthcare provider of any positive test results. If your child tests positive, please keep the child at home and contact the school to report the absence due to COVID-19. Please contact the Santa Clara County Public Health Department if you do not have a healthcare provider.
Schools are no longer responsible for tracking and tracing student cases. The Public Health Department will manage all tracking and tracing. The California Department of Public Health offers this link to a secure platform for reporting at-home COVID-19 test results to your California Local Health Department. Please report negative and positive results to help your local health department track COVID-19 in your community. (https://my.primary.health/l/caschools)
Guidance for isolating and testing is available from the Public Health Dept. and/or your healthcare provider.
Managing Students Diagnosed with COVID-19
Students diagnosed with COVID-19 should follow recommendations listed in Table 1 (Persons with COVID-19) of CDPH's guidance for the general public, including staying home for at least five days and wearing a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings.
Managing Students Exposed to COVID-19
Prompt notification to students and families regarding exposure to infectious diseases, including COVID-19, can allow for rapid testing, early treatment, and prevention of further spread.
It is recommended that families notify schools if their child has COVID-19 and was on school grounds during their infectious period.
When the school is notified of a positive case, the school will send a general notification, via Blackboard, to families of students who were a close contact with an individual confirmed positive for COVID-19.
All students with known exposure to persons with COVID-19 should follow the recommendations listed in Table 2 (Asymptomatic Persons Who are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19) of CDPH's guidance for the general public. If they remain without symptoms, students may continue to take part in all aspects of K–12 schooling, including sports and extracurricular activities. As recommended in Table 2, they should wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days and get tested 3–5 days after the last exposure.
We will continue to follow County Public Health Department notification guidelines, including protection for student and family privacy.
Managing COVID-19 Outbreaks
CDPH will continue to support local health and education officials in managing suspected or confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19.
● Broad disruptions to in-person learning, such as temporary school or classroom closures, due to COVID-19 should remain a last resort and considered only after all available resources have been exhausted and only after conferring with local health officials.
● Local public health officials are encouraged to contact CDPH to learn more about consultation, testing, and vaccination resources to support the management of COVID-19 outbreaks
Visitors on Campus
We value the participation of family members in their student's education and welcome their visits to our campus with the following understanding:
● Symptomatic individuals should not come to school.
● Masks are strongly recommended and not required.
● All in-classroom volunteers and individuals who provide essential
services/support to the school’s educational program must be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative test taken within 24 hours before visiting a school site.
● Families may come onto campus for various school events, such as plays, celebrations, and graduations, and will not be required to show proof of vaccination to attend, but masks may be required depending on the size and location of the event.
In general, routine cleaning is enough to sufficiently remove the virus that causes COVID-19 from surfaces.
“Cleaning” involves water and soap or a detergent, does not use disinfecting agents, and significantly decreases germs on surfaces and decreases infectious risks.
The District uses greener products for cleaning and disinfecting and keeps those products away from students. The use of disinfectants follows health and safety guidelines for school settings.
“Disinfection” kills germs on surfaces using specific agents (see below for those approved for use). Frequent disinfection can pose a health risk to children and students due to the strong chemicals often used.
For more information in Spanish, please click the following link: 2022-23 COVID-19 Respuesta Para La Apertura de las EscuelasFor more information in Vietnamese, please click the following link: ứng phó với COVID-19 Niện khóa 2022-23