Messages from Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati
May 5, 2022
Superintendent’s Message: LACDPH Implements Masking for Exposure for TK-12
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff, Students and Community Members,
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) has updated guidance requiring asymptomatic students and staff with known exposure to a positive COVID-19 case to wear a highly protective mask around others indoors for 10 days after last exposure.
This requirement is now effective. Here is the updated exposure management plan guidance for TK-12. This new protocol is for everyone, regardless of vaccination status or history of previous COVID infection. Masking indoors remains highly recommended for all others, and is optional for everyone outdoors.
We understand that this might be a disappointment to many families who were enjoying the past few weeks with the option of masking or not indoors and outdoors. We have seen an uptick in COVID cases at our schools, as you can view on our www.smmusd.org/Dashboard, and hope this new measure will help mitigate further increases or a surge that would require school closures. We have avoided closures this school year by taking health protective measures required and recommended by our guiding health agency, LACDPH. This approach has served us extremely well these past two years, and we continue in this manner.
LACDPH has provided updated quarantine guidance to clarify that while asymptomatic students with exposure are not required to quarantine, in order to remain on campus, they are required to test within 3-5 days after last exposure and mask around others for 10 days in order to remain on campus (the exception being while actively eating or drinking). This update can be found in the link above.
To best determine if a student or staff member was exposed, the definition of close contact has been updated: Persons are considered to have been exposed to a case (close contact) during the infectious period if they shared the same indoor airspace at school (not just within six feet) with the infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. In large indoor airspace, those considered exposed may be limited to 1) those in a pre-defined or identifiable group (e.g., teammates, club members, cohort, etc.) or 2) those within six (6) feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. NOTE: Persons with outdoor exposure at school are not considered close contacts.
When there is a positive case on campus, you will receive an email notification with the location and dates the case was infectious. Some school sites send this to the whole school community, while others send it to the exposed classroom only. Please read these emails carefully to determine if you or your child was exposed to the positive case.
Exposed individuals are REQUIRED to test with a FDA-authorized viral COVID-19 test (e.g., PCR or antigen test, including at-home tests) within 3-5 days since the last date of last exposure. (*NOTE: Asymptomatic students and staff close contacts who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 within the last 90 days are not required to quarantine and are exempt from testing, regardless of vaccination status, but must mask around others indoors for 10 days after the last date of exposure.) Your school nurse will provide you with more details regarding the testing date and fulfilling the requirement as part of your notification.
Continue to stay home when not feeling well and report any positive case to your school nurse. Our response testing hubs are available between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Malibu Elementary School and John Adams Middle School for staff and students who are symptomatic.
We continue our weekly PCR testing on campuses as a further measure to minimize the spread of this highly contagious virus in our schools / offices.
We appreciate your ongoing support and cooperation.
Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent