PUSD updates COVID protocols

The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) said in an email to school families on Friday that it had updated its COVID-19 protocols based on new guidance from the California Department of Public Health:

Since the COVID-19 virus is only one of a number of viruses causing illness during this respiratory season, CDPH is shifting to an emphasis on prioritizing interventions for those most at risk of severe illness, while minimizing the disruptive impact of isolation on schools and workplaces.

This shift entails retiring the automatic five-day isolation period, and instead will incorporate a symptoms-based approach. Individuals testing positive will need to pay close attention to their symptoms, (including fever), and in general, should stay home when they are not feeling well. To prevent spread, COVID-19 positive individuals must still wear a mask around others for a minimum of ten days from the onset of their symptoms.

Here is the new isolation protocol that families must follow when their student tests positive for COVID-19:

When symptomatic, keep your student home for a minimum of 24 hours from the day of symptom onset. They may then return to school:

  • If they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
  • They are feeling better, AND 
  • Their symptoms are mild and improving

When asymptomatic:

  • If asymptomatic, students may return to school immediately, but must wear a mask for ten days following the positive test. If symptoms develop later, they must stay home and isolate for a minimum of 24 hours, and can return when they meet the criteria for symptomatic people above.

**Students must continue to mask indoors around others for 10 days after the onset of symptoms or positive test (if asymptomatic). The symptom onset date or positive test date (if asymptomatic) is Day 0.

These guidelines are the same for students and staff, with the exception that students may remove their masks prior to the end of the ten-day period if they have two negative antigen tests at least one day apart.

Persons who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 (identified as close contacts) should test if they develop symptoms, if they are at higher risk of severe disease and would benefit from treatment, OR if they have contact with people who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection. While symptomatic individuals should isolate, mask and test immediately, repeat testing is indicated if an exposed person with symptoms tests negative. Please be advised that an over-the-counter COVID-19 antigen test may not indicate a positive result despite infection until several days after the onset of symptoms.

While this new approach to isolation seeks to align the response to COVID-19 illness to that of other respiratory illnesses, The District is still required by Cal/OSHA regulations to track COVID-19 cases and notify staff of exposure. It is therefore important that staff and families continue to notify us of positive cases through our PUSD GotCOVID? google reporting form. In addition, please be sure to notify your student’s school attendance line of their absence.

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