HUSD COVID-19 Public Update
No Vaccine Mandate:
HUSD would like to remind all students, parents, staff and community members that there is currently no vaccine mandate for students or staff in HUSD. Furthermore, there has been a softening of rhetoric with respect to a prospective vaccine mandate from Sacramento as of late. As an example, Governor Newsom commented recently on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s vaccine mandate which could lead to approximately 34,000 students being removed from in-person learning due to their COVID-19 vaccination status in an interview with Good Morning America, “We don’t want to see 34,000 kids sent home, quite the contrary. And that’s why I’d say you have to accommodate.” HUSD would like to reiterate that these comments were regarding LAUSD’s vaccine mandate and had nothing to do with Hesperia Unified School District. To be clear, HUSD has no plans to remove students from in-person learning due to COVID-19 vaccination status. The Governor also stated that his proposed state-wide vaccine mandate would include, “...personal exemptions, not just religious and/or medical exemptions, so there’s plenty of latitude for families to make decisions.” It's been months since the Governor did his press release on his proposed student vaccine mandate and since that time no actual health order has been released. Once again, there is currently no vaccine mandate for students or staff in HUSD.
A recent study showed that nearly 90% of health experts agree that COVID is an endemic. This means that COVID will always be with us, but will be less dangerous as time goes by. As such, HUSD is not reactively waiting for COVID to “go away”. To the contrary, HUSD’s efforts are firmly focused on finding a way to move back toward normal despite COVID and in accordance with the newly updated California Department of Public Health and San Bernardino County Department of Public Health requirements. As such, HUSD will continue to follow CDPH requirements to maintain safety as we work back to normal as quickly as possible.
The Omicron variant, originally found in Africa, is now in the US. This variant seems to be more contagious than previous iterations of the virus, but preliminary data also suggests that it is less severe. Recent research shows that the symptoms of Omicron are similar to past iterations of COVID-19, with two major differences:
1.) Omicron is less likely to cause loss of taste and smell.
2.) Omicron symptoms tend to be milder.
HUSD would like to remind community members that this is just preliminary data, but it is encouraging.
Sources: Healthline, CNBC, NYTimes, Fortune
CDPH Guidance Changes:
HUSD has recently updated our Pandemic Addendum to align with the nearly updated CDPH guidance. Throughout the pandemic, HUSD has followed the health experts' guidance and we are committed to continuing to do so. The most notable changes to protocols are listed below. Please refer to the CDPH guidance for schools, the HUSD Pandemic Addendum, and/or speak to the front office of your child’s school if you need more detailed information.
1.) Athletics Masking
In accordance with CDPH and SBCDPH guidance, masks are strongly encouraged when athletes are playing, practicing, and/or engaging in rigorous activity while indoors. But athletes may choose to not wear masks when actively engaging in rigorous activity while indoors per the new guidance. Athletes who choose not to wear masks when engaging in indoor rigorous activity are also strongly encouraged to test weekly. As such, HUSD is offering free weekly testing for all indoor athletes through our on-site rapid antigen testing program. Indoor athletes, or their parents, who wish to optionally test weekly, should contact their school athletics office for more information. Parent approval for student testing is required.
2.) Band/Performance Masking
In accordance with CDPH and SBCDPH guidance, masks are strongly encouraged for band/performers who cannot properly play their instrument with a mask on while playing/performing indoors. A minimum of 3ft social distancing is required between unmasked band/performers when indoors and bell covers are required for wind instruments. But band members/performers who meet the criteria above may choose to not wear masks when actively playing/performing indoors.
3.) Student Quarantine Protocols
Quarantine protocols were previously required per CDPH guidelines. Under the current CDPH guidance quarantine protocols for students, who have not tested positive for COVID-19 with a CDPH recognized test, are strongly encouraged/highly recommended per the CDPH and SBCDPH. As such, HUSD staff will strongly encourage parents to quarantine their student/s in the event that their asymptomatic student is exposed to a medically confirmed case of COVID-19. It's important to note that asymptomatic exposed students whose parents refuse to follow the CDPH quarantine recommendations may return to class, but must monitor for symptoms.
4.) Student Isolation Protocols
Isolation protocols for symptomatic students who have not tested positive for COVID-19 with a CDPH recognized test were previously required per CDPH guidelines. Under the current CDPH guidance isolation protocols for symptomatic students who have not tested positive for COVID-19 with a CDPH recognized test are strongly encouraged/highly recommended per the CDPH and SBCDPH. As such, HUSD staff will strongly encourage parents to isolate their student/s in the event that their student becomes symptomatic, but has not tested positive for COVID-19 with a CDPH accepted test. It's important to note that symptomatic students whose parents refuse to follow the CDPH isolation recommendations are still required to go home and not return to school until fever-free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours and all other symptoms have improved per the normal cold/flu health and safety protocols which were already in effect before the pandemic.
What protocols are staying the same?
It's important to note that most health and safety protocols are staying the same. Some notable protocols which are staying the same are:
1.) Indoor masking in a school setting
Per the CDPH, masks are still currently required for all, regardless of vaccination status, when at school and sharing indoor spaces with students. Per the CDPH, when at school and not sharing indoor spaces with students, masks are still required for all unvaccinated individuals.
2.) Isolation/Quarantine protocols for staff
All isolation/quarantine protocols are still required for staff/employees per CalOSHA guidance. Asymptomatic fully vaccinated staff are still exempt from quarantine protocols. Asymptomatic staff who test positive, but can medically verify that they have had COVID-19 within 90 days are still exempt from isolation protocols.
3.) Isolation for COVID-19 positive students
Students who test positive for COVID-19, with a CDPH recognized test, are still required to follow isolation protocols. Asymptomatic students who test positive, but can medically verify that they have had COVID-19 within 90 days are still exempt from isolation protocols.
4.) Contact Tracing
Contact tracing and informing exposed individuals, as defined by CDPH, is still required.
5.) Reporting Positive Cases
Reporting positive cases to the Department of Public Health is still required.