PUSD updates COVID isolation guidelines

PUSD distributed these rapid tests to families before the winter break.

In an email to school families on Friday, PUSD Superintendent Randy Booker said the district was updating its COVID return-to-school policies after the California Department of Public Health updated its guidelines on Jan. 6 regarding the duration of isolation periods.

“Individuals who test positive are required to stay home for a minimum of five days,” the email said. “If no symptoms are present or symptoms are resolving, and the individual tests negative with a Rapid Antigen test on or after day five, the individual may return to school on or after day six.”

The District says it can now offer “clearance to return” testing by appointment only to both staff and students each school day at the main entrance to Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Avenue, at the following times:  

  • 7:00 am – 8:00 am (M-F) 
  • 10:00 am – 11:15 am (M-F)
  • 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm (W only)
  • 4:30 pm – 5:15 pm (M, T, Th)

Appointments must be made with health clerks and are only to clear students and staff to return, and will be scheduled only if certain criteria are met. This is curbside testing only, no walk ups. Students or staff will self test in the car and then drive away. No waiting on-site for results.

PUSD also reminded families of the following:

  • Please continue to fill out the daily health screener every morning before school.  
  • Masks remain required for all students while indoors. The outdoor masking requirement for elementary school students is still in place.
  • Families of elementary school students who have not yet provided proof of vaccination, please do so by Friday, January 14. According to the email, over 94% of PUSD students have now submitted their proof of COVID vaccination.
  • The CDC is now recommending booster shots for children 12 and older (if five months past second shot).
  • Please contact your school’s Health Clerk with any questions or concerns. 

PUSD Director of Communications Brian Killgore told the Exedra on Friday that they won’t have total COVID case numbers until next week but that district attendance was down “about 10 percent” from December. Piedmont has seen a dramatic rise in positive COVID cases since the holidays, with more than 127 new cases recorded by the county since Dec. 21.

“No question it’s a stressful time. There has been an ‘all hands on deck’ strategy here with everyone pitching in to help one another in the classroom and out,” he said in the email. “PUSD teachers and classified staff are doing everything they can to ensure learning continues and it’s very reassuring in a difficult time to have everyone working toward the same goal. We all want our students on campus and believe we have the plans and resources in place to do so safely.”

(This article was updated on Jan. 8 to include information about appointments and testing protocols.)

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