Due to the recent surge in Covid19 Cases in the Los Angeles area, the department of health and safety have come up with some additional guidance. Guidance on Quarantine remains the same for AACA. Guidance in how we handle cases, contact tracing, and notification have changed to accommodate the staggering increase in numbers and the ensuing effect on both staff and students.
Schools should prioritize identification of COVID-19 on campus and isolation of cases. This should take precedence over other COVID-19 measures.
• Schools should inform parents of infected children that they need to keep their children in isolation at home to prevent further spread on campus. Notification can be individualized or through an email blast or robocall to parents of positive cases. . Parents who have questions about isolation requirements can call the DPH COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-833-540-0473. This line is available in multiple languages and operates 7 days a week from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM.. If schools would like DPH to conduct additional outreach to parents of the infected student(s), a phone number for the family should be included in your case report to DPH. Refer to section on reporting below, for instructions on simplified case reporting during the surge period.
If schools have multiple cases in a cohort/group (e.g., classroom, sports group, etc.) that may be linked, administrators should immediately contact the DPH Education Sector COVID-19 Case Reporting hotline or email ACDC-Education@ph.lacounty.gov to report
Schools are not required to report information about close contacts to DPH during the surge period. Refer to the following section on reporting procedures during the surge period. Reporting COVID-19 Cases and Close Contacts
• Until the end of January, isolation of cases and exposure management are the most important strategies for limiting spread. Reporting cases and close contacts is secondary. If schools lack capacity to submit a REDCap report or Excel line list for case and close contact reporting, they can do the following: a. Case information: Case information may be submitted in any format the school prefers at ACDC-Education@ph.lacounty.gov. The school has the option of limiting the report to: last name, first name, and date of the infected child’s COVID-19 test. As noted above, if schools would like DPH to conduct additional outreach to the parents of the infected student(s), a phone number for the family should be included in the case report. Schools may submit additional case information, if capacity allows.
Close contact information:
Schools are not required to report close contact information during this surge period. Schools that are able to report close contacts may simplify reporting by limiting the information to: last name, first name, and date of last exposure to the infected child. Schools may submit other contact information, if capacity allows. Contact reports may be submitted via our routine REDCap report, Excel line list, or in any format the school prefers. During this surge, notifying staff and students can now be done in writing, via email or via broadcast robo-message.
Testing: Schools with limited testing capacity should prioritize response testing of staff and students with symptoms or exposures over regular, weekly testing. In particular, prioritize testing to allow asymptomatic, exposed students and staff to remain in school where possible. See quarantine and testing requirements for specific categories of staff and students below: Keep in mind that even if a student is vaccinated, or has recently had Covid19, if exposure was during a period when a mask was not worn, there is no option for modified quarantine. Many of the AACA students are unable to successfully wear a mask due to the serious impact of their disability.
a. Staff and students who had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 90 days and are asymptomatic do not need to quarantine or test after exposure.
b. Asymptomatic staff that are fully vaccinated and boosted (if eligible) and asymptomatic students who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after exposure. They may remain in school if they test negative on a viral test (e.g., PCR or Antigen) after exposure, preferably on or around Day 5 (Day 4 or Day 6 is acceptable). Though not required, consider also testing immediately. This is provided that the exposure was mask to mask.
c. Staff who are fully vaccinated, and eligible but not yet boosted are required to quarantine after exposure. They may remain in school if they are asymptomatic and get a viral test (e.g., PCR or Antigen) within 3 to 5 days after last exposure and test negative but must quarantine at home when outside of work.
d. Students who are not fully vaccinated AND students who have symptoms are required to quarantine after exposure. If students are asymptomatic and had a mask-on-mask exposure at school, they may remain in school under modified quarantine provided they meet testing and masking requirements.
During the surge period, the testing requirement is modified to a minimum of once weekly testing, preferably on or around Day 5. Ideally they should test twice: once as soon as possible after exposure and once again on or around Day 5.
e. Staff who are unvaccinated are required to quarantine and may not remain in school during the quarantine period. They must follow the Quarantine and Other Instructions for Close Contacts at ph.lacounty.gov/covidquarantine.
f. All staff and students who remain in school must wear a well-fitting medical grade mask at all times for 10 days, (in most cases this is not possible for AACA students which is why they cannot do a modified quarantine) except while eating or drinking; children should wear a well-fitting, non-cloth mask of
multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire. See ph.lacounty.gov/masks for more information.
Though response testing is the priority for school testing, schools may continue to conduct weekly asymptomatic, screening testing if they have enough testing capacity to do both.
To improve testing access, schools may accept results of students’ at-home or over-the-counter tests for all testing needs. This is true for staff as well, except for required weekly testing for unvaccinated staff, which needs to be performed in a healthcare setting or certified testing site.
AACA has a plan or protocol to initiate a School Exposure Management Plan consistent with DPH guidance that outlines procedures for:
• Isolation of case(s);
• Identification of persons exposed to cases at school
• Quarantine of exposed staff and students per guidelines described in Appendix T2: Exposure Management Plan for K-12 Schools.
• Assurance of access to testing for all exposed students within the school who are not fully vaccinated, and all exposed staff who are not fully vaccinated, or fully vaccinated and overdue for their booster dose..
• Notification to DPH of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease among employees and children who had been at school at any point within 14 days prior to the illness onset date. The illness onset date is the COVID-19 test date or Symptom Onset Date of the infected person, whichever is earlier. Reporting of cases should be done within 1 business day of the school’s notification of the case. This can be completed online using the secure web application: http://www.redcap.link/lacdph. educationsector.covidreport or by downloading and completing the COVID-19 Case and Contact Line List for the Education Sector and sending it to ACDC-Education@ph.lacounty.gov. Note: The current activation of surge protocol procedures in schools now allows some flexibility in the mechanism of case reporting. See Appendix T2: Exposure Management Plan for K-12 Schools for details.
• To address the volume of cases due to significant COVID-19 surges, temporary measures outlined in Appendix T2: Exposure Management Plan for K-12 Schools may be implemented to manage cases and exposures at school. These are optional measures: schools may continue routine protocols for exposure management during the surge period if there is capacity to do so.
This Plan can be found on the AACA website at WWW.Autismacademy.org under the Covid19 tab.
Department of Public Health (CDPH) is not requiring any particular frequency or procedure for asymptomatic testing at this time. However, the state has put into place support for specific testing cadences through supplemental testing supplies, shipment, laboratory capacity, enrollment and reporting technology, training, and assistance with insurance reimbursement. Schools have been advised to access information and resources regarding school-centered testing at the state’s Safe Schools for All hub. In times of high rates of community transmission, LA County recommends that periodic testing include fully vaccinated individuals where resources allow. Note: At this time given the volume of cases and contacts in the current pandemic surge, along with challenges in meeting the demand for testing, response testing for symptomatic and exposed individuals should be the priority. In the event of wide-scale or repeated exposures within a school, weekly testing of all unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated students may be considered until such time that exposure events become less frequent.
AACA will consider assigning vulnerable employees (employees not yet fully vaccinated who are above age 65 and/or with chronic health conditions that would place them at high risk if infected)work that can be done from home when feasible. Employees in this category should discuss any concerns with their healthcare provider or occupational health services to make appropriate decisions on returning to the workplace. AACA considers reconfiguration of work processes to the extent consistent with academic requirements and student needs to increase opportunities for employees to work from home.
DPH will, as noted above, support schools by responding to questions from parents of students who have COVID-19. 4 The DPH Education Sector COVID-19 Case Reporting hotline remains fully staffed and available to help with all aspects of case management, contact tracing and outbreak management. School Administrators can get assistance by calling this number Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM or by emailing ACDCEducation@ph.lacounty.gov. DPH will prepare and translate template documents that schools can use to notify parents of children in all categories of infection or exposure, explaining what is required