COVID-19 Testing, Close Contact Guidelines, Notifications and Dashboard - January 14, 2022

Friday, January 14, 2022

Dear Families,

This week, we distributed more than 15,000 at-home rapid antigen tests to elementary school students and next week, we will distribute the remainder of the test kits to ALL GGUSD students. These tests, received from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are an added layer of protection for families and students during the current Omicron surge. As a reminder, students who have been identified as a close contact of a school-based exposure can (with parental consent) use their school’s weekly on-site COVID-19 testing. Contact your school office for details. 

We are grateful for the support of all families for continuing to keep children home from school when they are positive, symptomatic or exposed to COVID-19. Our families have done an excellent job remaining vigilant to help slow the spread. Health and education experts continue to agree that school is the safest place for students and that the classroom is the best place for students to learn. GGUSD schools have effective mitigation strategies in place including stringent cleaning and disinfecting, frequent handwashing, improved ventilation systems, contact tracing, masking, and increased testing.

COVID-19 Close Contact Quarantine Guidelines
The CDPH and the Orange County Health Care Agency issued new guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine periods for those who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.  

Click here for the new Symptom Decision Tree. Click here for our graphic which provides easy-to-follow isolation and quarantine guidance for families.

Please note that due to effective safety practices, transmissions on campuses remain low.  As a result, the state has differentiated close contact exposures that occur on campus versus off campus.

COVID-19 Notification Practices
This week, the CDPH also updated its COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools, revising quarantine recommendations and a modified approach to contact tracing which instructs schools to notify all individuals who spent more than 15 minutes within a 24-hour period in an indoor shared space with someone with COVID-19 instead of individual close contacts.

This guidance and the recent increase in positive cases, while expected, has prompted a need to revise our ParentSquare notification process as follows:

  • Consistent Mask Wearing at School: When there is consistent mask wearing, instead of a separate communication for close contacts, all families will be notified when there is a positive case in their student’s classroom and they will be asked to monitor their student for COVID-19 symptoms and to take the steps outlined in the district’s notification letter.
  • Inconsistent Mask Wearing at School: When consistent mask wearing is not in effect, such as in some athletic or Special Education settings, school staff will engage in contact tracing and provide a close contact notification to those families with instructions. 

By making this transition, it will help our schools maintain timely communications, while supporting staff as they effectively manage positive case notifications. When schools can easily-identify close contacts, those families will continue to receive the close contact notification letter.

COVID-19 Dashboard
Since the onset of the pandemic, GGUSD has maintained a COVID-19 Dashboard to ensure transparency with our school communities.  Positive COVID-19 cases of staff or students who have been on campus during their infectious period are posted on our COVID-19 Dashboard and remain on the Dashboard for a total of 14 days each. The infectious period is 48 hours prior to symptom onset or a positive test result. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 but has not been on campus during his/her infectious period, that case is not posted to the Dashboard. The Dashboard is updated daily, Monday through Friday. It is not updated on weekends, non-school days or holidays. Due to the staffing required to update daily positive cases reported from all school sites, there may be a brief lag time for the Dashboard with parents learning of the positive case via ParentSquare before seeing the cases posted on the Dashboard.

As always, thank you for your patience and doing your part to keep our schools safe.