- Helms Middle School
Return to 100% In-Person Instruction Update: Change to Mask Policy
Friday, August 13, 2021
Good evening WCCUSD Community,
We are so excited to welcome you and your student back on Monday for the first day of 100% In-Person Instruction. As a community, we have waited for nearly two years for this day. You can see some of the excitement from the WCCUSD team in this video.
The Covid-19 pandemic has kept us apart physically since March 2020. But Monday, we are coming back with the health and safety of WCCUSD students and staff as our top priorities.
On Wednesday, we updated our safety protocols by following the State requirement that WCCUSD staff members either show proof of vaccination for Covid-19 or submit to weekly testing. We are also following Contra Costa County Health’s (CCCHS)recommendation on weekly testing and are recommending weekly testing for students. You find out which day your student’s school will be testing in this document here.
Today, we increased our safety measures and required masks to be worn indoors and outdoors while on all WCCUSD schools and facilities. The masking update does not apply to the following circumstances:
- When alone in a room.
- When actively eating or drinking
- When swimming or showering
- When receiving care or other services that require removal of the face covering, including by way of example and without limitation, medical care requiring exposure of the nose or mouth, cosmetic services involving the face, and dental procedures
- When participating in a religious activity at a religious gathering, to the extent that removal of face coverings is necessary for participation
The CDPH State Face Covering Guidance exempts the following individuals from wearing masks:
- Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask, including persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
- Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
- Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined
To safely reopen schools, CCCHS and CDPH have stressed that reopening schools could occur safely with the proper mitigation strategies. The change in the masking policy to include outdoors strengthens those mitigation strategies. Here is a quick recap of the strategies we are following according to County and CDPH guidance by:
- Requiring masks to be worn indoors and outdoors at all times by students and staff
- Encouraging all those eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine
- Improving or upgrading the ventilation in classrooms and buildings that required them
- Stressing the importance of hand hygiene (handwashing and hand sanitizer)
- Practicing home self-screening (staying home when sick)
- Continuing to practice physical distancing when possible
- Limiting visitors on school campuses
The District’s Covid-19 safety precautions are in this Parent/Family Handbook. You can also visit www.wccusd.net/return2school for more information, including the Return to 100% In-Person Instruction plan.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your school or me. I can’t wait to see everyone on Monday.
Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst