Dear ESUSD Employees, Families and Communities,
Important Update on Guidance from LACDPH
Last week a small group of superintendents met with representatives from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) regarding proposed changes to exposure management guidance. As a follow-up to that discussion, Dr. Barbara Ferrer indicated that based on the feedback shared and subsequent consideration by public health leadership considering rising community transmission and school-based outbreaks, LACDPH would soon update the exposure management guidance. While the updated guidance does require more masking for exposed persons, please know that LACDPH relaxed some of their proposed mandates after our Board President, city officials and I made certain that LACDPH heard our perspectives on these changes.
On May 5, the new health order mandate was posted. In the last ten days, ESUSD has experienced more of an increase in positive COVID-19 cases than we have had in many months. While the numbers are not as high as we were experiencing with the surge in January, the ESUSD COVID-19 Dashboard currently reflects positive cases at all of our schools.
The major changes in the health order are as follows:
Definition of Close Contact – School Districts have two options to identify close contacts for the purpose of exposure notification and application of post-exposure requirements. At this time, ESUSD is choosing the option with less required masking and will be defining close contacts as individuals who are within less than six feet for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period from an infected person. Thus, per the health order, ESUSD will abide by the following masking and testing protocol:
-Only those notified as close contacts are required to wear a mask around others indoors for ten days after last exposure and test 3-5 days after last exposure. However, for all others that are part of the defined cohort (e.g., classroom), masking around others indoors for ten days after last exposure and testing 3-5 days after last exposure will be strongly recommended, and those individuals must be notified as such that they have shared indoor airspace with a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more over 24 hours.
-Outbreaks – An outbreak (3 or more confirmed epi-linked cases within a 14-day period) will be managed at the discretion of the Department of Public Health outbreak management staff with the goal to limit and suspend in-school transmission as rapidly as possible. At a minimum, schools should expect and be ready to comply with masking and testing requirements for all members of a defined cohort. Out of an abundance of caution for all, when an instance of an outbreak occurs in a single classroom, ESUSD will no longer permit classroom volunteer(s) in that specific setting during the duration of the ten calendar days after exposure. Currently, there are four classrooms that are outbreak situations. All impacted families have been notified.
If your child is exposed to COVID-19, you will receive a letter from the school that will inform you regarding the specific masking and testing requirements that pertain to your child in order to remain in class. The pandemic experience has been a long road for all of us, and ESUSD will continue to monitor any changes in the health order and adjust our protocols accordingly. I want to thank all ESUSD students, parents, and employees for their cooperation and adherence to County health directives over the last two years through present times.
Take care and be well,
Melissa Moore, Ed.D.
El Segundo Unified