- Helms Middle School
What You Need to Know for Return to School on 1/11/22
Dear WCCUSD community:
I am writing to you today about the return to school and in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. I care very much about the health and safety of all of our students and staff, and I do want to wish you well and I hope that you are in good health. We can all do our part to ensure schools and the district offices are safe for us to open back up tomorrow.
When to Stay Home
- If your student is feeling sick or exhibiting any symptoms, please stay home and get tested. Do not bring anyone to school who is exhibiting symptoms or has a positive test.
- Anyone who tests positive, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms should remain at home for up to 10 days after the positive test date or symptom onset date, and must be without fever for 24 hours and with improvement of other symptoms on return. Anyone who tests positive has the option to shorten their isolation to 5 days with a negative rapid antigen test taken on day 5 with no fever and with improvement of symptoms, if any. Please inform your site administrator of every positive test.
Exposure: Unvaccinated/Not Fully Vaccinated (includes booster if booster eligible**)
- Students who are unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated, or vaccinated and booster-eligible, but have not yet received their booster that have been in close contact to a positive must stay home at least 7-10 days. Quarantine may end after day 7 if no symptoms are present and a test is taken on day 5 or after with a negative result. Quarantine ends after day 10 without a test. They are not currently eligible for a shortened 5 day quarantine like staff in the new state and county guidance.
- Exposure to a household positive: For a student who is unvaccinated, or does not meet the criteria for full vaccination status (no booster if booster eligible), they must quarantine. Household exposure is considered continuous until the positive case clears their isolation. Day 1 of quarantine for the exposed does not begin until after. If the positive case completes isolation at the earliest possible date of 5 days “see above under “Positive”), day 1 of quarantine would start on day 6 based on the timeline of the positive case. Quarantine would then be determined by the criteria that is stated above.
Exposure: Fully Vaccinated (boosted, or vaccinated and not booster eligible**)
- Anyone (students and staff) who has received their booster, or is fully vaccinated and not yet booster eligible, with no symptoms does not need to quarantine after close contact with a positive. A test on day 5 after exposure is recommended. If symptoms develop, test and stay home.
**Booster-eligible: 5 months after completion of Moderna or Pfizer series, or 2 months after completion of Johnson & Johnson single shot.
To be clear, the only person who can close a classroom or a school is the superintendent. If there are a large number of COVID-19 cases in a classroom or school, we will collaborate with Contra Costa County Health Services on a safe way to move forward that does not cancel school whenever possible.
Current California law does not allow our district to offer distance learning this year. Despite the current COVID-19 surge, without a state or local health order, WCCUSD does not have the legal authority to shift to virtual learning outside of independent study. School leaders also cannot arbitrarily assign students to independent study – families must consent to participate in independent study through a written agreement signed by the student and the pupil’s parent or guardian if the student is under the age of 18 pursuant to Education Code section 51747(g)(9)(F).
New Masking guidelines
School sites will be receiving surgical masks to distribute to students this week. We have enough masks for each student to have one each day. Effective on Monday, January 17, cloth masks alone will no longer be acceptable. If students choose to wear a cloth mask, they are required to wear a surgical mask underneath. Students have the option of wearing a N95 or KN95 mask, provided at their own expense.
Employees are now required to wear KN95 masks at work, and we are supplying employees with two masks per week for the remainder of the school year.
Thank you for being a valued member of our district. We will do whatever is necessary and possible to ensure students are safe and school can continue.
Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst