In-Person Instruction Policies/Procedures
Last Updated: 8/16/21
SPBS In-Person Instruction
Detailed Policy/Procedure Changes
The following is a detailed list and description of updated policies and procedures that are being put into place at Saint Paschal Baylon School to adhere to the most recent guidelines issued by state and local county public health officials, as well as those put forth by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Catholic Schools (DCS). Due to the fluidity of the pandemic situation, this is a living document. These policies and procedures will continually be assessed in action and modified as needed. Upon their return, teachers and staff will be trained on all our new procedures, as well as recognizing symptoms of student illness.
Studies over the past year have helped us all learn a lot more about the transmission of the virus, and while the COVID-19 vaccine has helped a lot, it is important for us to remember that we are not quite out of the woods yet, especially with the recent surge of the Delta variant. Elementary schools are still considered an “unvaccinated group” since a huge majority of our students are not vaccinated. The most recent guidelines from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), along with this week’s clarifications from our local public health department (VCPH), reflect a lot of what has been learned. As Mr. Escala explained, we will be aligning ourselves with those guidelines. While there are many facets, below are the key main details. It is also important to remember that these are fluid guidelines that the Department of Public Health may alter. In those cases, we will update you as soon as possible.
- Students, Staff, and Visitors, whether they are vaccinated or not, will still be required to wear masks indoors, with exemptions per CDPH face mask guidance.
- Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition, must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it. (Families pursuing a waiver MUST meet with the Principal ahead of time)
- Masks are optional when outdoors for students and adults, although still recommended when in crowded situations.
- Students or visitors who forget their mask may get one from the school office via the Outdoor Office Window.
- Face masks should be solid colored, consistent with the uniform: navy blue, white, black, or gray, and should be labeled with names. Students should keep an extra in their backpack.
- In limited situations where a face covering cannot be used for pedagogical or developmental reasons, a face shield can be used instead of a face covering while in the classroom as long as the wearer maintains physical distance from others.
According to the guidelines by both the CDPH and the CDC, “Recent evidence indicates that in-person instruction can occur safely without minimum physical distancing requirements when other mitigation strategies (e.g., masking) are implemented.” Studies have shown that wearing masks indoors has greatly mitigated the transfer of the virus. As a result, although we should still be mindful, the social distancing requirements from last year have greatly been relaxed, allowing us to the ability to unify all the grade levels again, and reinstate our junior high electives program. However, to better track potential close contacts, we will be using assigned seating for the classrooms and lunch tables.
As with before, we will continue to have increased ventilation, including the ion generator purifiers throughout the school and the MERV 13 filters in all our HVAC systems.
Morning Drop-off/Pick-up/Recess/Lunch/Extra-Curricular Activities
SPBS will be returning back to our pre-pandemic routines for these areas. While we will not be conducting a morning screening at drop-off, families are still required to complete a self-conducted screening for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to school. Pick-up at the end of the day will also return to our pre-pandemic procedures.
For recess and lunch, each grade-level will have their assigned play area as before, and while outside, masks are optional for students and adults. Students will be sitting at assigned seats for lunch in order for us to better track potential close-contact situations. Choice Lunch will also still be providing hot lunch as a pre-packaged, ala carte style. Shared play equipment will be disinfected regularly.
Extra-curricular activities are allowed to resume following the same protocols outlined here and by the CDPH.
Staying Home When Sick & Testing
Students and staff must remain home when they are sick and displaying any potential symptoms for COVID as outlined by the CDC, or with a temperature equal to or greater than 99.5 degrees. If students or staff begin showing symptoms while at school, they will be sent home as well.Staff members and students with symptoms of COVID-19 infection are not to return for in-person instruction until they have met CDPH criteria to return to school for those with symptoms:
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
- Other symptoms have improved; and
- They have a negative test for SARS-CoV-2, OR a healthcare provider has provided documentation that the symptoms are typical of their underlying chronic condition (e.g., allergies or asthma) OR a healthcare provider has confirmed an alternative named diagnosis (e.g., Streptococcal pharyngitis, Coxsackie virus), OR at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset
At this point in time, students will not be required to undergo screening tests at school. Any unvaccinated staff member will be required to complete a screening test weekly.
Cleaning & Disinfecting
Hand sanitizer stations will still be used throughout the school plant, including free standing stations around the playground. Students will be regularly encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day, including reminder signs throughout the school plant. All classrooms will still be cleaned and high touch surface areas will be disinfected at night.
Case Reporting & Vaccination Status
Saint Paschal Baylon School is required, per AB 86 (2021) and California Code Title 17, section 2500, to report COVID-19 cases to the local public health department. Eligible students and staff are encouraged, but not required to be vaccinated by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We are asking students and staff to volunteer their vaccination status with us, which will be kept confidential in the school office. Any student or staff member that does not have vaccination verification in the school office will be considered unvaccinated.
Vaccinated Students & Staff
For now, fully vaccinated Students and Staff who are considered a Close Contact exposure (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet indoors) will follow the CDPH Fully Vaccinated People Guidance regarding quarantine. Following a known exposure, full vaccinated students and staff do not need to quarantine as long as they continue to be asymptomatic.
Quarantine guidelines for unvaccinated students for close contact exposures (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet indoors) when both parties were wearing a mask indoors or in an outdoor setting.
- When both parties were wearing a mask, unvaccinated students who are close contacts (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet indoors) may undergo a modified quarantine as follows. They may continue to attend school for in-person instruction if they:
- Are asymptomatic;
- Continue to appropriately mask, as required;
- Undergo at least twice weekly testing during the 10-day quarantine; and
- Continue to quarantine for all extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and activities within the community setting. Note: This modified quarantine is only for attending in-person classroom sessions. Students who are under this modified quarantine cannot attend any extracurricular activities (e.g., school related sports, conditioning, dram practice, etc.).
- For these contacts, those who remain asymptomatic, meaning they have NOT had any symptoms, may discontinue self-quarantine under the following conditions:
- Quarantine can end after Day 10 from the date of last exposure without testing; AND
- Continue daily self-monitoring for symptoms through Day 14 from last known exposure; AND
- Follow all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., wearing a mask when around others, hand washing, avoiding crowds) through Day 14 from last known exposure.
- If any symptoms develop during this 14-day period, the exposed person must immediately isolate, get tested and contact their healthcare provider with any questions regarding their care.
Cal/OSHA guidance requires a 10-day quarantine of staff for unvaccinated close contact exposures (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet indoors), as long as they remain asymptomatic.
Procedures for Positive Cases
If someone in the school (staff or student) tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine at home for two weeks, shifting to distance learning.
- All guidelines for informing DCS and any health department officials will be followed.
- VCPH requires that each school district designate two liaisons to work with our Communicable Disease Program when there is a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 exposure within the school district. Notifications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 805-981-5101 and following the prompts for K-12 schools.
- School personnel will investigate to determine who may be considered a close contact as defined by the CDC (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet)
- Parents will receive a letter informing them if their child has been deemed a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, however, due to HIPAA regulations, families will not be informed of the identity of that person.
- If a cluster of three or more positive cases occur within fourteen days, the school will consult with DCS and DPH officials about whether the entire school should temporarily shift back to Distance Learning.
- Students and/or staff members who test positive for COVID-19 will not be able to return to school until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation, including at least 24 hours with no fever, symptoms have improved and at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
We are continually monitoring the situation, and will update our guidelines as the both the CDPH and the VCPH update their own requirements. The safety of everyone in our community is very important to us.