State COVID-19 Updates and Guidelines
Orange County Health Care Agency
Student Symptom Decision Tree
The following is an update to our Superintendent’s Update on 1-20-22
COVID-19 Testing Resources
- Rapid antigen tests are available at the school, based on supply. As students continue to arrive at schools, the at-home test kits will be used as part of our on-site student COVID-19 measures to ensure the on-going safety and mitigation efforts. Our main goal is to enhance student and staff safety and remain in full compliance with the updated local and state guidelines. Students are also highly encouraged to wear an upgraded mask. Students must also wear a mask for 10 ten days from the exposure date (indoors and outdoors, except when eating and drinking). The modified protocols are expected to remain in place for the rest of January. We will inform families if there are any further changes to the protocols.
- BPSD Test Kits: The free antigen (BinaxNOW) test kits (nasal) that BPSD has provided, beginning last September, remain available at all BPSD school sites for health orders use. However, due to high demand for testing, some school sites may not always have these test kits available or may not have a COVID-19 tester available. BPSD is working to provide additional free at-home kits (GO/NOW) and is in the process to certify more testers to our schools as soon as possible, as part of our ongoing access to testing for students and staff.
- Community Testing Resources: Click here for more information about additional free testing options for students and families through OC Health Care Agency. You can also visit covidtests.org to order up to 4 free, at-home COVID-19 tests.
Reduced Isolation Period for Asymptomatic COVID Positive Students
- On Friday, January 14, the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency issued new guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine periods for those who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- The isolation period has been reduced from 10 to 5 days for those who test positive for COVID-19, if the individual is asymptomatic and continues to mask at all times for an additional five days, and tests negative on or after day five with an FDA approved/authorized test. Antigen testing is the preferred test to be used for this repeat testing.
- More information about these updated health order guidelines can be found by clicking here.
Transition in Contact Tracing Practices
Schools across the nation are experiencing a surge in positive case notifications due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and the increased testing of students. This has necessitated a shift in contact tracing practices for BPSD and other OC school districts.
The transition in practice is outlined below.
1. Consistent Mask Wearing at School: When there is consistent mask wearing, instead of a separate communication for close contacts, all families will be notified when there is a positive case in their child's learning space (e.g. classroom, library) they will be asked to monitor their student for COVID-19 symptoms and to take the following steps as outlined in the District’s General Notice, Close Contact Smart Alert and Letter. This communication will come from the school principal.
2. Inconsistent Mask Wearing at School: When consistent mask wearing is not in effect, such as outside/during lunch or specialized unmasked settings, school staff will engage in contact tracing and provide a more specific close contact notification to those families with instructions on isolation or quarantine, per health orders.
3. By making this transition, it will help our schools maintain timely communications, while supporting staff as they effectively manage positive case notifications. Please note that due to effective mitigation strategies implemented by all BPSD schools, transmissions on campuses remain low. As a result, the state has differentiated close contact exposures that occur on campus versus off campus. As partners in the safety of our students and staff, parent support is critically important under these challenging conditions. Symptomatic or sick students must be kept home and follow Orange County Health Care Agency Guidelines.
Up-to-Date Vaccine Status
Please note that the OCHCA considers individuals to be “up-to-date” with their vaccination status if they have completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine and have either received a booster shot or are not yet recommended to receive a booster dose according to current guidance.
School Safety and Mitigation Strategies
As anticipated by national, state and local health experts, COVID-19 cases, due to the Omicron variant, have increased in our community and as a result we are starting to see more cases on our campuses. We expect this to continue in the coming weeks until the surge peaks. Through contract tracing efforts and/or through parent reporting, it appears the majority of cases continue to be from sources outside of school. However, we all need to continue to do our part in helping to keep our schools safe and students and staff healthy. Despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, health officials and agencies continue to state that schools are safer than other community settings due to layered mitigation strategies. BPSD schools continue to implement health and safety guidelines to help prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses. Mitigation strategies include:
- Universal Masking: Students and are required to wear face coverings while indoors on school campuses. Those under specialized directive orders such as recently exposed students must follow those directives to keep others safe at all times.
- Free Testing: Free COVID-19 testing is available through a variety of resources as communicated above.
- Ventilation: School HVAC systems have been recalibrated to pull in more fresh air and equipped with upgraded filters.
- Air Purification Units: Standalone air purification units are in classrooms and office spaces, along with common areas.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting: Custodial staff continue to implement COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting procedures and are following related protocols to deep clean, sanitize and disinfect sites as required per health guidelines
For more information and to review BPSD’s Safety Plan, visit our COVID-19 website.
Let’s Do Our Part to Help Keep Schools Healthy and Safe: We know by working together we can limit the spread of COVID-19, and it is going to take a combined effort to continue to keep our schools safe. Here’s how you can support our mission to keep students in school:
Continue daily home screening
- Keep students home if they are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms, or if they or a member of their household has tested positive or are awaiting COVID-19 test results.
- Keep students home, if they are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, notify your child’s school immediately.
- If a family member tests positive for COVID-19 from home exposure and the student is asymptomatic in the house and unable to separate or mask, the start date of Quarantine for the asymptomatic student does not start until the person with COVID-19 has a confirmed negative test or ends their 10-day isolation. Our school nurses recommends that the best scenario is to isolate the positive person.
Additional resources for COVID-19 information include:
- California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Resource Page
- Orange County Health Care Agency COVID-19 Resource Page
We’re in this Together
We understand this is a time of uncertainty and concern for some of our families. As we have shared since the onset of the pandemic, we will continue to work together to help keep our students, staff, families and campuses safe. If current conditions change, we will respond and adapt quickly to help keep our community informed of any updates. We appreciate your support, partnership and understanding.
WELCOME BACK BPSD!
As we look forward to welcoming students back to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year, please review the COVID-19 safety protocols below that are required for all California schools. Keep in mind that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) may change school guidance, in which case we will update you on any changes to Buena Park School District (BPSD) protocols.
Please remind your student(s) to:
- Wash his/her hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Indoor - Regardless of vaccination status…
- Students are REQUIRED to wear masks while indoors, such as in classrooms.
- Staff is also REQUIRED to wear masks while sharing indoor space with students.
- Masks are provided, if needed.
- Masks are NOT REQUIRED for students but encourage when possible.
- Masks are not required for staff while outdoors.
- School Bus
- Masks are REQUIRED for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
- Student face mask exemptions are permitted with an approved mask exemption.
EDUCATIONAL PARTNERS AND VISITORS
- Educational Partners providing “essential services” will be permitted in schools.
- Visitor are not allowed on campus at this time.
- Daily self-screening is required, prior to coming to school. Use the Student Symptom Screen below, which are also located on the CDC website.
- Please have your student(s) stay home when sick and report the absence to his/her school.
Exemptions to masks requirements
The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:
- Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
- 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 for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines. For more information on masking please visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Schools-FAQ.aspx
Feedback to COVID-19 Safe Return to In-person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan
We are currently seeking the input of our community for feedback on our safe return to schools. If you have any feedback for us, we would love to hear about it. Please use the below website to send us your feedback. Thank you.
COVID-19 SAFETY FEEDBACK
COVID Testing Resources
Orange County residents/families may order self-collection tests at NO COST and may order through the Orange County Health Care Agency website:
Testing labs provided by Orange County Health Care Agency rely on FedEx for shipping and delivery for COVID testing. Based on information reported to BPSD, most turnaround times for COVID testing results have take 24-48 hours for both delivery kits to homes and receiving testing results.
COVID-19 VACCINES: Vaccination is one of the most important tools to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Orange County is equitably distributing a safe and effective vaccine to everyone seeking vaccination age 12 and older, through a variety of distribution locations. See where vaccines are available near you HERE.
ALL people wishing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine must meet the minimum age requirement and show proof of age at the time of appointment. SEE REQUIREMENTS FOR MINORS. See FAQs about COVID-19 vaccines for tweens and teens from the American Academy of Pediatrics and CHOC Children’s Hospital in ENGLISH and SPANISH.
The OC COVID-19 Hotline is available to answer questions about vaccine-related issues, including booking appointments, location selection, or assistance with transportation. Live operators are available Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (714) 834-2000.
UPDATE: As of 9-9-21, BPSD schools are phasing in COVID testing on site. Please contact your school nurse for more information on COVID testing for students.