Updated Covid 19 Guidance for Schools 08/10/2022
Updated Covid 19 Guidance for Schools 08/10/2022
Areas of Covid 19 Policy Change:
-For the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, there is a masking policy update for all students, staff, and visitors. Recommendations and requirements can be found below and in the Appendix T-1 COVID-19 Protocol and may reflect changes in health officer orders and/or changes in community and school conditions including: the level of community and/or school transmission, changes in illness severity associated with COVID-19, changes in vaccine effectiveness, and changes in state and/or federal guidance.
-Expanded section on student mask exemptions.
-Change in reporting method for COVID-19 exposures to the online secure web application, SPOT (Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking) to align with Appendix T2.
Changes in response and outbreak testing requirements for employers to align with updated Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and the LA County Health Officer Order
-As of August 1, 2022, reporting of individual cases of COVID-19 in the school setting is no longer required. Moving forward, any clusters of 3 or more linked cases within a 14-day period must be reported immediately and no later than 1 business day.
A Health Officer Order issued by the State of California on August 11, 2021 required all school workers to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week. At the time this version was posted, the State Order for Vaccine Verification of School Workers remains in effect. The State also announced that students will be required to be vaccinated for in person learning starting the term following full FDA approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6), however this requirement was postponed for the 2022-2023 school year and the earliest it may go into effect is July 2023. With the recent approval of the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine for persons ages 12-15, state COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students in grades 7-12 may begin in July 2023.
AACA has a protocol outlining steps that will be taken immediately upon notification of school officials that any member of the school community (faculty, staff, student, or visitor) tests positive for COVID-19.
• Immediate separation of the case from the school community to self-isolation at home if notification occurs while the case is on-site. The plan must allow for temporary, on-site isolation of the case if arrangements are needed for the person’s return to their home.
• Fact sheets or other informational materials that are to be given to the case (or appropriate family member/s if the case is a child) covering regulations governing self-isolation and links to sites with further information.
❑ Protocol to initiate Appendix T2: Exposure Management Plan for TK-12 Schools consistent with DPH guidance that outlines procedures for:
• Isolation of case(s)
• Identification of persons exposed to cases at school
• Actions for exposed staff and students per guidelines described in Appendix T2: Exposure Management Plan for TK-12 Schools
• Assurance of access to testing for all exposed students and staff within the school regardless of vaccination status.
❑ Adherence with New Case Reporting Guidance Effective August 1, 2022. Schools are required to report clusters of 3 or more cases of COVID-19 in a classroom, office, or pre-defined or identifiable group (i.e., teammates, club members, cohort, etc.) who were on campus at any point within the 14 days prior to illness onset date. The illness onset date is the date COVID-19 symptoms started or the COVID-19 test date, whichever is earlier. All cluster notifications should be reported to DPH immediately, and no later than 1 business day of the school being notified of the cases by submitting a report online at: https://spot.cdph.ca.gov/s/?language=en_US or calling the TK-12 School COVID-19 Case Reporting Call Center. For any questions or assistance with reporting clusters, contact DPH by calling the TK-12 School COVID-19 Case Reporting Call Center or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Department of Public Health will work with the school to determine whether the cluster is an outbreak that will require a public health outbreak response.
Contingency plans for full or partial closure of in-person school operations if that should become necessary based on an outbreak in the school or community. The school has developed and circulated a communication plan in case full or partial closure is required due to a possible cluster of COVID-19 cases.
• A protocol for providing COVID-19 response testing. At a minimum the protocol should describe the strategy for ensuring access to testing for students or employees who are symptomatic or students and staff who have known or suspected exposure to an individual infected with SARS-CoV-2 regardless of vaccination status. Note that current Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (Cal/OSHA ETS) requires
Current Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards
(Cal/OSHA ETS) requires COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER APPENDIX T-1: COVID-19 Protocol for TK-12 Schools Page 4 of 13 Revised 8/10/2022 employers to offer testing at no cost to employees during paid time for: Symptomatic employees, regardless of whether there is a known exposure, and all employees after an exposure with the exception of staff close contacts who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 within the last 90 days.
o Testing must be provided for all employees exposed during an outbreak regardless of vaccination status
❑ The plan must provide that all positive test results are reported to the Department of Public Health.
Mask Exemption Update:
Mask Exemption Policy: At times when the Health Officer Order requires universal masking in indoor public settings including schools, alternative protective strategies may be adopted to accommodate students who are on Individualized Education or 504 Plans and cannot tolerate masks or in situations where use of masks is challenging due to pedagogical reasons, student safety, or an existing disability. Individuals may be exempt from wearing a mask for the following reasons:
• Persons younger than two years old.
• Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
• Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability or whose medical provider has determined that it is unsafe for them to wear a mask, may file for an exemption with their school. A certification from a state licensed health care provider attesting that the student has a condition or disability that precludes them from wearing a mask safely will be accepted as proof of exemption.
The following licensed health care professionals may COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER APPENDIX T-1: COVID-19 Protocol for TK-12 Schools Page 5 of 13 Revised 8/10/2022 provide such attestations: Medical providers including physician (MD or DO), nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA) practicing under the authority of a licensed physician; and licensed mental and behavioral health practitioners including Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), clinical psychologist (Psy.D.) Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), or Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
At times when the Health Officer Order may require universal indoor masking, students who are exempt from wearing a mask should wear a face shield with a drape at the bottom, as long as their condition allows it. Schools should enter into an interactive process with individuals who are exempt from wearing a mask and may choose to implement alternative protective strategies when accommodating such students in school. Alternative strategies for consideration include: regular (weekly) screening testing of any unmasked students; strategies to improve ventilation in indoor spaces that accommodate unmasked students; seating unmasked students closer to open windows, exhaust fans, HVAC intake vents, and free standing air purifiers; and offering students and staff who share indoor air spaces with unmasked students upgraded respirator masks (e.g N95, KN95, KF94).
Masking is strongly recommended for anyone entering indoor portions of school buildings or transports (school buses as well as school buildings) and who has contact with others (students, parents, or other employees) in alignment with the current Health Officer Order. Well-fitting and better filtering masks (e.g., double masks, high filtration cloth masks, medical masks) and respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s) are highly recommended. Nothing in this protocol requires that the school provide upgraded masks to its general student population. However, maintaining a supply of masks for students who may develop symptoms during the school day is recommended to for consistent safety of the campus
• Mask exemption for close contacts: Regardless of universal indoor masking policy, the LA County Blanket Quarantine Order currently requires close contacts to a case who remain asymptomatic to wear a highly protective mask for 10 days after last exposure when around others while indoors, and to test at least once 3-5 days after exposure, if they wish to avoid quarantine at home.
Students who are identified as close contacts with a valid mask exemption who wish to remain in school after an exposure must remain asymptomatic, monitor for symptoms for 10 days after last exposure, and test negative for COVID-19 at least once 3-5 days after exposure and once 6-9 days after exposure. Students who are not able to meet these requirements and cannot wear a mask after exposure will need to remain at home for ten days after last exposure. Furthermore, students, staff, and administrators at schools must cooperate with instructions from LA County DPH outbreak investigators who may implement temporary strategies that differ from these protocols if an outbreak occurs at the school. For example, students who are unable to mask may be instructed to stay home during an active outbreak for the safety of those students and the campus population as a whole.
• For employees who are unable to wear a mask, refer to Cal/OSHA ETS for return-to-work requirements after an exposure event.