July 14, 2021
Dear LBUSD Family,
We hope that you are enjoying some quality time with your family, friends, and loved ones.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) this week released updated guidance for K-12 schools. The new guidance reflects updates made last week to the K-12 schools’ guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This guidance is a mandated public health directive, which all California K-12 schools must be in compliance with to provide a pathway for students to return to a traditional, five-days per week, in-person academic model of instruction. Below is a brief summary of the updated state guidelines.
Masks are optional for students when outdoors.
When indoors, CDPH will continue to require that masks be worn by students and adults indoors in school settings when in the presence of students. The universal mask requirement is mandated for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students and adults. By requiring masks indoors, the state was able to ease the physical distancing requirements. Masking indoors also allows the school district to potentially reduce quarantine restrictions in the event of a close contact exposure. CDPH has also expressed the belief that the indoor masking requirement guidance will reduce potential conflict and bullying between the masked and unmasked, vaccinated and unvaccinated. This masking requirement guidance will be reviewed and updated by CDPH no later than November 1, 2021.
Continuing layered mitigation strategies remain critical practices of prevention to keep students and staff safe. Current mitigation strategies include cleaning and disinfecting, symptom screening and testing, improved ventilation and filtration, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick, and contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation. The CDPH found that requiring masks indoors for students and staff at schools, along with additional mitigating measures such as improved ventilation and frequent disinfecting, is sufficient to maintain a safe indoor environment and helps to prevent viruses from spreading. Ultimately, these multiple combined mitigation measures will allow for a safe return to a traditional academic model.
This new guidance clarifies some of the state-level requirements, which will help us prepare for the return of students. Our team has been hard at work crafting plans for the 2021-22 school year that have students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being at the center.
LBUSD will continue to collaborate with the Orange County Health Care Agency, the O.C. Department of Education, and other O.C. school districts to better understand how these guidelines will impact K-12 schools for the 2021-22 school year. Once we are able to clarify the details of this new guidance, we will provide an update to our community and staff.
Please know that the safety of our students, staff, and families is our priority. LBUSD remains committed to providing a safe learning environment for our students. We will continue to utilize stringent cleaning and disinfection procedures, promote frequent hand washing, encourage staff and students who are ill to stay home, and other proven COVID-19 prevention strategies.
We appreciate your continued partnership as we implement the recent updates from the California Department of Public Health. LBUSD and our schools will continue to work with students and families to help meet their needs. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact the CDPH directly with guideline-related concerns.