Dear TUSD Families,
Last week, we shared information with you regarding the easing of masking protocols, starting this weekend. As a reminder, on Monday, March 14, masks will be strongly recommended, but optional, within indoor spaces at school sites. Even though masking indoors is now strongly recommended but not required, TUSD will still have masks available for anyone who wishes to wear one. Now that masking is a personal choice, it is important that each of us respects the choice of others, either to wear a mask or not. Bullying of any kind around wearing or not wearing a mask is not appropriate and will be dealt with by school administration.
There are also changes to exposure management procedures. Students and staff will now be considered exposed if they share an indoor space with a potentially infectious individual for 15 minutes or more, regardless of spacing. We will notify any groups of students who are exposed and recommend that they seek a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after the exposure and monitor themselves for any symptoms. Exposed students may continue to attend school and extracurricular activities, including sports, unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Testing is a recommendation, not a requirement. Additionally, testing is no longer required for students participating in athletics and certain extra-curricular activities. Each of these changes are explained below, and more detail will be provided early next week after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) issues formal written protocols.
School sites will have antigen tests available for students who are experiencing any symptom of COVID-19, or for students who are recommended to test because they have been notified under the new Group Contact Tracing protocol that they are a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Students are required to report COVID-19 test results via the Google Form for Reporting for Students. And again, testing is no longer required for either vaccinated or unvaccinated students participating in athletics and extracurricular activities where testing was required previously.
Additional details are provided below. The relaxation of requirements means that, at present, the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community is lessening, however we should all remain vigilant about our health and the health of our children. If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at a particular school site, additional LACDPH requirements will be instituted. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as requirements continue to change.\
Updated COVID 19 Policies and Procedures
On March 10th, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) announced they will align policies and procedures with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) orders (released on March 9th).
- Masks are strongly recommended for indoor settings, but not required.
- Schools must continue to make masks available to students.
- No person can be prevented from wearing a mask if they choose to.
- There are no more minimum distancing guidelines. CDPH recommends other mitigation strategies.
- Continue to optimize ventilation.
- Given the very low risk of transmission from surfaces and shared objects, there is no need to limit food service approaches to single use items and packaged meals.
- Indoor eating is allowed, however, outdoor continues to be recommended.
Staying Home When Sick & Testing
- Students should stay home when sick.
- Students should get tested for COVID-19 when they have symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19.
- Students with symptoms of COVID-19 infection should not return for in-person instruction until they have met CDPH criteria to return to school for those with symptoms:
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; AND
- Other symptoms are improving; AND
- They have a negative test for COVID 19, OR a healthcare provider has provided documentation that the symptoms are typical of their underlying chronic condition (e.g., allergies or asthma) OR a healthcare provider has confirmed an alternative diagnosis, OR at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset.
- If the student tests positive for COVID 19, follow the guidance for isolation.
- Antigen tests are preferred.
Isolation - Students who test positive for COVID 19 should follow these isolation guidelines:
- Stay home for at least 5 days.
- Isolation can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a diagnostic specimen* collected on day 5 or later tests negative.
- If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.
- If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.
- If symptoms other than fever are not resolving, continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
- It is strongly recommended that persons wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings.
*Antigen test preferred.
Quarantine - CDPH Strongly Recommends Schools Follow the Group Tracing Protocol for Students
- Schools should notify students who spent more than a cumulative total of 15 minutes (within a 24-hour time period) in a shared indoor airspace (e.g., classroom) with someone with COVID-19 during their period of infectiousness.
- Notification should occur to "groups" of exposed students (e.g., classmates, teammates, cohorts, etc.) rather than contact tracing to identify individual "close contacts" (e.g. those within 6 feet).
- Notifications should be provided to all individuals considered exposed, including those who are vaccinated and/or recently infected.
- Exposed students, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, should get tested for COVID-19 with at least one diagnostic test obtained within 3-5 days after last exposure, unless they had COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
- Exposed students who had COVID-19 within the last 90 days should monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, they should isolate and get tested with an antigen test.
- In the event of wide-scale and/or repeated exposures, broader (e.g., grade-wide or campus-wide) once weekly testing for COVID-19 may be considered until such time that exposure events become less frequent.
- Any FDA-authorized antigen diagnostic test, PCR diagnostic test, or pooled PCR test is acceptable for evaluation of an individual's COVID-19 status. For individuals who have been recently infected (within the past 90 days), antigen testing is strongly recommended as PCR results may remain persistently positive and not be indicative of a new active infection. Repeat antigen testing and/or confirmatory molecular testing should be considered in individuals who receive a negative result with an antigen test but have symptoms specific for COVID-19 (such as loss of taste and smell).
- Exposed students may continue to take part in all aspects of K-12 schooling, including sports and extracurricular activities, unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. They should test as recommended above, report positive test results to the school, and follow other components of this guidance, including wearing masks as is strongly recommended.
- Exposed students who develop symptoms or who receive a positive test should isolate.
We will update this as we receive more information.