An official from the Pasadena Unified School District assured the public that safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools when in-person classes resume later this month.
During a meeting Thursday of the Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Julie Reynoso, head of the Department of Student Wellness and Support, presented key prevention measures that will be implemented once schools reopen Aug. 12.
The board had earlier approved a resolution offering in-person instruction to all students for the fall term, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health.
“We have a robust set of safety measures that have been in place and have constantly been amended to meet health requirements,” Reynoso said during the meeting.
She pointed out that the PUSD will impose physical distancing, combined with the wearing of masks on campuses to reduce the risk of transmission.
“We’re going to have our masks on all day long to keep everyone safe, no matter what,” Reynoso said.
Along with masking and observance of physical distancing, Reynoso assured board members that PUSD will implement contact tracing and provide regular COVID-19 screening and testing to promptly identify cases and outbreaks.
Reynoso said the PUSD will only allow limited entry of visitors and volunteers on campuses to ensure the safety of students and staff.
According to Reynoso, the list of allowed “essential” visitors and volunteers will be released soon, but most likely, mental and physical health volunteers will be included on the list, she said.
Helen Hill, assistant superintendent and head of the district’s Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development Department, said for the coming school year students have a right to enroll in either an in-person instructional setting or an independent study program.
She assured learning opportunities will not be disrupted even if students will have to go on quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 and there will be continuity of learning through the Canvas Learning Management System and video conferencing tools.
If a school is required to close due to an outbreak, a temporary distance learning mode will be activated for the school site, she said.
According to Hill, unvaccinated individuals are required to undergo self-quarantine for 10 days after contact with a person infected with COVID-19 while vaccinated individuals will not be required to undergo quarantine if they have no symptoms.
During the meeting, Reynoso urged the board to promote vaccination to help schools return safely to in-person learning.
“We need people vaccinated and safe so that everyone feels productive when they return to campus,” she said.