Supts eNews - Jan 1, 2022

 
COVID safety: Returning from Winter Break
 
 
Click here to watch Dr. Rudolph share this information by video.
 
Dear Parents,

As we return to school amid growing COVID-19 cases in the community, you may be wondering what we are doing to keep students and staff members safe when school resumes on Jan. 4. We understand the COVID Omicron nationwide surge is concerning, and we’ll continue to work together to keep each other healthy.

swiss cheeseJust as a reminder, we have a variety of safety measures in place at school (the “Swiss cheese method).

We continue our enhanced sanitation procedures, face masks requirements, and on-site testing program. Our HVAC systems have MERV-13 filters, which is the highest-grade filter available for our units.  All classrooms and office areas have a portable HEPA filter. Outside air dampers are opened to maximize outside air changes at a rate above “ideal/excellent” standards. Additionally, our staff vaccination rate is almost 100%.

As we return to school after winter break, you can help stop the spread by:

  • Ensuring your children are vaccinated (and boosted if applicable). In our school clinics over December break, Santa Clara County vaccinated dozens of people. If your child has not yet been vaccinated and/or boosted, please schedule them for one as soon as possible. Vaccines are free, safe and effective, and are readily available. To schedule, please see sccfreevax.org;
  • Testing for COVID-19 if they have been outside the home with others or are presenting symptoms (more info below); 
  • Keeping them home if they are ill. Know the symptoms: scratchy or sore throat along with nasal congestion, a dry cough and muscle pain, especially low back pain. Loss of taste and smell is less common; and
  • Sending them to school in well-fitting, quality face masks. Public health officials are now recommending upgrading from fabric masks. Upgraded masks include double masking (surgical mask + cloth mask), fitted medical masks (surgical masks) and respirator masks (N95s, KN95s or KF94s). Please see “Choosing Your Mask” here.

Get tested! 

COVID testing after travel and gatherings is highly recommended and is a very effective way of preventing COVID transmission in our schools. We strongly recommend that you COVID test your students, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms. Here are the ways you can test your children.

  • Free rapid antigen test kits available on Jan. 3 at Gabriela Mistral and District Office: For you to COVID test at home before returning to school, a limited supply of free kits will be available (first come, first served) for pick up on Monday, Jan. 3 from 8-11 a.m. at 1400 Montecito Ave and Gabriela Mistral Elementary (505 Escuela Ave). Thank you to our parents for making this effort possible!

  • There may be some availability at the Mountain View High School COVID testing program on Jan. 3 from 7:30 am - 4 p.m. Click here to learn more and for the link for community members to register for testing.

  • Student/staff COVID pooled testing on MVWSD campuses starts Jan. 4: Pooled on-campus testing for students and staff will resume the week of Jan 4. Since Monday, Jan. 3, is a non-student day, we anticipate that every school will test when students return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 4. (Note: While the CDC and State have reduced the length of quarantine for asymptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19, it is not certain when or if the state and the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health will determine how these changes will impact educational settings.)

  • As part of a statewide effort, the CDPH is making at-home COVID-19 testing kits available for free to families, who are encouraged to test students as they return from winter break. MVWSD has just received our supply of antigen tests. Tests (a box containing 2) will come home from school with your student on Wednesday. Here is the flyer that explains when to test your child and what steps to take if you get a positive test result. More information can be found on the CDPH website.

We are committed to continuing in-person instruction and have taken measures to ensure that we are doing so safely. We have not experienced a case of in-school COVID transmission, but should a situation arise where we’re seeing high rates of in-school transmission or experiencing operational challenges (such as our ability to maintain sufficient staff to provide in-person instruction) due to COVID-19, we will work with the Santa Clara County Office of Education and local public health officials to make decisions that support health and safety as well as continuity of learning for our students. 

As the pandemic continues to evolve, we will continue to adapt and respond in order to keep our schools open in a safe manner. We appreciate your support and understanding, and will continue to keep you updated.

Respectfully,

Dr. Ayindé Rudolph
Superintendent

 
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