Piedmont ended the week with a big jump of seven new reported cases, moving from 253 on Tuesday to 260 by Friday. Some of these new cases were among younger students who are not yet eligible for the vaccines. Modified quarantines* are in effect for some classes. All potentially exposed students received antigen tests and students with negative tests were allowed in the classroom. (The PUSD COVID-tracking dashboard, updated weekly, should reflect new case counts next week.)
On Wednesday night, the school board unanimously approved a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all age-eligible students. Those who are currently eligible as of Sept. 22 (ages 12 and older) must receive both vaccine doses by no later than November 17, 2021 and younger students must receive both vaccine doses by no later than eight weeks after age eligibility. (If vaccine is not available, the superintendent has the authority to “reasonably extend” the deadline.)
On Friday, the CDC released three studies in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that highlight “the importance of using layered prevention strategies including universal masking to stop the spread and minimize disruptions to school operations for safe in-person education. These studies found that school districts without a universal masking policy in place were more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks. Nationwide, counties without masking requirements saw the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases increase nearly twice as quickly during this same period.”
*Modified quarantine is allowed in order to keep as many students in school as possible, per the California Department of Public Health. If both the infected person and the person in close contact were both wearing masks, the student in close contact can attend school as long as they stay masked all day, practices social distancing to the extent possible, participates in testing, and remains asymptomatic.