South Pasadena Unified School District

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Updates » SPUSD COVID-19 Update - August 20, 2021

SPUSD COVID-19 Update - August 20, 2021

Dear SPUSD Families, Faculty, Staff, and Administrators,

A big thank you to our entire community for making the first week of school a success! It’s a great feeling to see students in classes, happily engaged in learning and interacting with their classmates. Teachers are providing outstanding, creative lessons, and support staff are busy making sure the schools and classrooms operate smoothly. During the early weeks, it is not uncommon to experience a few bumps, especially when some students and employees have not been to school in 18 months and if this is their first time at a new school.

There are a few topics that come up frequently that I would like to address:

Vaccinations: Vaccines are the best defense against COVID-19. We continue to see more and more students (ages 12-17) fully vaccinated. With the Governor’s recent requirement for school staff members to be fully vaccinated or adhere to ongoing COVID-19 testing, SPUSD is currently collecting vaccination data from employees.

COVID-19 Testing: Earlier this week, SPUSD began weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing for students and employees. 411 students and employees were tested and all results were negative. The SPUSD COVID-19 Dashboard reports positive cases by site and is updated on a weekly basis. To register your child(ren) for surveillance testing, remember to sign up by 11:59 p.m on the Friday before the Tuesday testing period.

Masks: SPUSD follows the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) protocols stating that masks that cover the nose and mouth are required for students and employees inside school buildings and classrooms. While outside, masks are optional for students and employees at this time. SPUSD recommends masks outdoors especially in crowded settings. At our schools, it is evident that a culture of mask wearing outdoors has been established, with appropriate and safe breaks for students and employees, as needed. Some students and employees may experience dehydration, nausea, or breathing challenges while wearing masks. It is important to be mindful, sensitive and respectful to individuals who need to take appropriate mask breaks while outdoors.

Close Contacts and Quarantine: While we all are doing all that we can to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, the reality is that we will experience positive cases this school year. It’s important for everyone to understand the definition of “close contact,” and the quarantine guidelines set by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Please note that these guidelines are subject to change and are more restrictive than the California Department of Public Health’s orders. You may find more information regarding close contacts and quarantine here.

Reporting: The SPUSD COVID Compliance Officer is District Nurse Abigail Silver. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Nurse Silver has managed the COVID-19 mitigation process and practices. She communicates often and directly with LACDPH officials. She is highly skilled and knowledgeable at managing all COVID-19 reporting and contact tracing processes.

School Lunch: This year, the federal government announced that schools will provide free lunch for all students. While this is great news, the logistics of offering free lunch to a larger number of students in a defined period of time when there is a national food shortage for schools, places parameters on the type of food that is served and the options available to students. Until the food supply chain issues are resolved, it will not be possible for SPUSD to serve the posted menu each day at every school. The SPUSD Food & Nutrition Services Department is working hard to make sure that lunches are distributed efficiently during the lunch periods to allow for time to eat and play, especially at the elementary level.
Please know that our administrators, teachers, and staff have been working extended hours to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are being followed by everyone on campus and to provide an engaging, meaningful and interactive learning experience. We continue to make enhancements indoors and outdoors and will adjust our protocols according to the requirements from the public health experts at the LACDPH.

Finally, a reminder to everyone that what occurs outside of our schools now enters our school buildings. Please help us to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by doing your part at home, on the weekends, and before sending your child(ren) to school. Remember, children are to not attend school if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Thank you again for your patience and support.

Geoff Yantz, Ed.D.