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OUSD updates COVID-19 protocols as students return to campus

photo resource guide

Graphic via OUSD website

 

Grant Phillips, Ojai Valley News reporter

As students returned to Ojai Unified School District schools this week, they were greeted with new COVID-19 protocols to keep children safe during in-person attendance. 

Despite the Centers for Disease Control lowering the quarantine requirements to five days for individuals who contract COVID, these guidelines have not been adopted by the California Department of Public Health or Ventura County Public Health, so there is a longer quarantine requirement for California schools.

In a written statement released to parents from OUSD Superintendent Tiffany Morse on Dec. 31, it was announced that all OUSD schools will be open for in-person instruction. 

“If, at any time, your child shows even mild symptoms of COVID-19 — including a sore throat, fever, cough, headache, body aches, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting — please keep them home,” she wrote. 

This includes practices, games and performances. 

If a student is feeling ill, OUSD recommends filling out an “Absence from School” form, available at: https://bit.ly/3HuRP7T, along with keeping the child home. 

OUSD will also offer free COVID-19 testing for students only at each campus. 

In addition to on-site testing, OUSD has partnered with the Ventura County Office of Education to provide at-home testing kits. 

The State of California delivered 132,000 COVID-19 test kits to the Ventura County Office of Education in Camarillo on Wednesday, Jan. 5. The kits are intended specifically for K-12 public school students as part of a program announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom in December. Each kit contains two COVID-19 tests, and VCOE has received enough kits to provide one to every student in the county at no charge. 

As of Thursday, Jan. 6, the kits are being sent to local school districts, which will coordinate distribution to students and families. 

“At-home COVID-19 tests are in high demand, and we’re grateful that the state has provided kits for every student in Ventura County,” said Dr. César Morales, Ventura County superintendent of schools. “These kits will provide peace of mind for families and support our efforts to keep schools open during the ongoing pandemic.” 

Ventura County Public Health is working on expanding community testing options to handle the increased demand from school staff and the general public. 

For face coverings, OUSD provided an update based on CDC recommendations: 

— Face coverings should have two or more layers of washable fabric. 

— Should completely cover the nose and mouth.

— Should fit snugly against the sides of the face without gaps. 

If a student is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, they will not be required to quarantine if they are vaccinated, unless symptoms are present. 

Unvaccinated individuals who have been deemed a close contact to a COVID-19 positive case have two quarantine options:

1. 10-day quarantine: If the person exposed remains asymptomatic, they can end quarantine after Day 10 from the date of last exposure without testing. 

2. 7-day quarantine: If the person exposed remains asymptomatic, they can end quarantine after Day 7 if a COVID-19 test is taken after Day 5 from the date of last exposure and the test returns negative.

The California Department of Public Health calculates 10 days from the date of the positive test or the date of symptoms beginning. 

In order to be cleared from isolation and return to campus, symptomatic individuals must:

1. Allow 10 days to pass since symptoms onset; AND 

2. At least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; AND

3. Other symptoms have improved.

For asymptomatic individuals: 

— At least 10 days must have passed since the date of the first positive COVID-19 test. If symptoms develop, then the criteria for symptomatic individuals should be used. 

Several universities have also adjusted their measures to allow for distance learning. 

California State University, Los Angeles; Sacramento State and CSU Channel Islands will begin their instruction in 2022 with distance learning due to the surge in COVID cases. 

While Cal State LA will be closed for three weeks, from Jan. 24 until at least Feb. 11, Cal State Channel Islands and Sacramento State will be remote for at least two weeks until Feb. 6. 

“The state of California does not currently permit pre-K-12 schools to offer distance learning and expects all schools to keep their doors open for in-person instruction,” according to a VCOE press release. “Schools do provide an independent study option that allows students to learn from home. But unlike distance learning, it must be requested individually by families and is not intended to serve large numbers of students.” 

An additional COVID-19 resource guide from OUSD can be viewed at:  https://bit.ly/3ERtHLd.

 

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