Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Wednesday, Sept. 14 @ 11:07 a.m.

With State Changes to COVID Guidance, DNUSD Will Lift Vaccine, Testing Requirements for Staff Starting Monday


Image courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A letter Del Norte Unified School District trustees planned to send to state health officials turned out to be moot Tuesday after the California Department of Public Health announced it was ending COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements for school staff.

Starting Saturday, weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated and under vaccinated individuals in high-risk workplaces and schools will not be required, the CDPH announced Tuesday. The requirement for health care facilities and other congregate settings to weekly test its unvaccinated and under vaccinated staff will also be lifted Saturday.

DNUSD Superintendent Jeff Harris told trustees at a special meeting Tuesday that district staff will no longer have to show proof of vaccination starting Monday. Mandatory screening of unvaccinated staff is also not needed, Harris said, “we wouldn’t know who to screen regardless.”

However, COVID precautions still come into play if an individual school experiences an outbreak, Harris told trustees.

“If there are four or more people who have COVID, there is a requirement for all those staff members to wear masks for 14 days after the last exposure to a positive person on campus,” he said, adding that that requirement comes from CalOSHA.

DNUSD’s letter to State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon, California Health and Human Services Agency secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, and CalOSHA Chief Jeff Killip urged the state to align its COVID practices with those recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Aug. 11, which did away with quarantine practices for people who are unvaccinated.

According to Harris, however, the district will still have self test kits for staff who want them, and if they are positive for the coronavirus, they’re required to let their employers know.

“If there are already outbreaks amongst staff there are certain protocols we have to follow,” he said. “But if there is a high transmission rate the only thing the law says we have to do is send home a letter to all students at the school (saying), ‘Dear parent or guardian, there is a high transmission rate at your child’s school. If they’re showing COVID symptoms, you might consider testing them at home.’”

Though the district will no longer be requiring staff to screen, it will be asking them to review it and if they can’t pass the screener to notify their supervisor, Harris said. This practice is still a requirement under CalOSHA, he said.

Jeff Napier, the district’s assistant superintendent of business, noted that the first question asks if the person has symptoms.

“If the answer’s no then you’re basically done,” he said.

This announcement comes as the state has distributed another round of 10 million at-home tests to K12 schools and supports additional testing resources for schools including school and community test sites.

According to the state’s COVID-19 Dashboard, Del Norte County averages 3 cases per day. There have been a total of 56 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 in Del Norte County since the pandemic began.

Documents

DNUSD's Draft letter to CDPH


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