PUSD: Updates and Steps Taken to Increase Safety in Light of Spikes of COVID-19 Cases due to Omicron Variant
***CLARIFICATION: The paragraph on in-person meetings refers to parent meetings. Schools will continue in-person learning.
Dear PUSD Community,
This week was a new beginning with some familiar challenges for our community. We are grateful to all Pasadena Unified employees for stepping up to open our campuses. The energy and commitment to serving our students has been truly inspiring, and the support from our community has been invaluable.
We have taken steps to increase safety in light of the spike in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. As always, it is our top priority to continue in-person learning safely and in order to do so, we are following guidelines from state and local health officials. Guidelines from public health authorities are being issued almost every day, and we know it has been confusing for everyone. Below are some key points:
Universal masking is still required indoors and for all outdoor activities where physical distancing is not feasible, except while eating or drinking.
• Cloth face coverings alone do not provide the same level of personal protection as a proper surgical mask or higher level PPE. Better options include a double mask (cloth mask worn over a surgical mask), a fitted medical mask (surgical mask). The best protection is offered by N95, KN95, or KF94 masks which are not recommended for small children. The new masking options are not required but strongly recommended for our students at this time.
• We’ve made 3-ply surgical masks with nose wires available at every school to meet the new mask guidance for students and employees.
• Please refer to the LA County update for more details. Masking Updates for Students
PUSD IN-PERSON PARENT MEETINGS NOW VIRTUAL
In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and in consultation with local public health, PUSD has opted to move all in-person parent meetings to virtual until further notice.
We are reminding parents and guardians to keep students home if they are experiencing any symptoms. Until further notice, our schools are following the PUSD isolation and quarantine procedures that have been in place for several months and are stricter than the newest local, LA County and State guidelines. We are working with Pasadena Public Health officials to determine the best way to implement the recently released local, LA county and state guidelines. We will work together to create a plan that can be implemented safely and we will communicate the changes as soon as they are made available. We are continuing to follow our guidelines as these guidelines reduce the risk of transmission.
As a reminder, here are PUSD’s current quarantine and isolation protocols:
• ISOLATION – Any student with COVID-19 may not return to school until they have met criteria to discontinue home isolation, including at least 24 hours with no fever and no use of fever-reducing medication, other symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. For persons who never developed symptoms, isolation can be discontinued 10 days after the date of testing positive.
• QUARANTINE – Any student who is not fully vaccinated and boosted if eligible and has been exposed to an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 may return to school after 10 days, if they do not test. However, if your child takes a laboratory-confirmed FDA authorized viral COVID-19 test on or after the 5th day post exposure and receives a negative result AND they have no symptoms, they can return after the 7th day past exposure. Test results must be verified by school personnel. These tests are offered at our District Health Clinic everyday M-F 8:00 am-3:30 pm, no appointment necessary.
Students sent home for isolation or quarantine may be engaged in short-term independent study. They can access their class content and assignments through the Canvas platform. Please contact your child’s teacher and school site for specific information, if needed. We need to keep instruction at the forefront and continue to support students in every way possible.
ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND SUPPORT
PUSD’s Office of Student Wellness and Support Services works to ensure that students have the necessary resources to access learning
These resources include:
• Student Wellness and Support Services: Access PUSD’s School Support Referral form to help children get the support and services. For Mental Health services, please contact Lara Choulakian, Manager of Mental Health, for further information at x 88233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• PUSD Families in Transition (FIT) is PUSD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance program for student and family support addressing socioeconomic barriers to student success like housing and food insecurities, lack of access to health and mental health care, recent immigration, and other educational challenges. For assistance or an appointment, please call 626.396.5782 or text the FIT cell at 626.720.2476.
TESTING AND VACCINE CLINICS
Since the beginning of the school year, PUSD has conducted thousands of tests each week through our robust PUSD COVID-19 Testing Program, which includes weekly tests at mobile testing clinics at each school. We have also held weekly drive-through testing/vaccination clinics at the PUSD Education Center since August. Weekly Mobile Testing Clinic
In addition to the testing clinic held January 3, PUSD Health Programs staff held three testing clinics between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We also held successful vaccine clinics at Willard Elementary and at Madison Elementary this week.
Students and staff can get tested at regularly scheduled weekly mobile testing at their campuses. If you cannot attend one of our District or mobile testing clinics, there are several local options for testing and vaccinations.
Appointments are available through myturn.ca.gov.
Thank you for all you are doing to support our students. It has been a challenging week for everyone, and I am grateful for the PUSD team who have worked so hard to offer our students an opportunity to learn in-person.
Dr. Elizabeth J. Blanco, Ed.D.
Chief Academic Officer