PUSD Update

August 11, 2021

A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald

Dear PUSD Community,

We’re excited to welcome students back to school tomorrow. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We have implemented multiple layers of safety strategies at schools, including masks, ventilation, and handwashing/hand sanitizer.

As the Superintendent of Schools and the father of three children who attend PUSD schools, I am confident that our students and my own children will have a healthy and successful year.

New State Public Health Order

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new public health order today requiring all school staff to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week for COVID-19. The new policy for school staff will take effect on August 12, 2021, and schools must be in full compliance by October 15, 2021.


An estimated 96% of PUSD employees are already vaccinated for COVID-19. PUSD teachers, administrators, and staff were among the first in Los Angeles County to get vaccinated through district-run mobile clinics and through our partnership with the Pasadena Public Health Department.


  • The State’s new public health order applies immediately to all PUSD employees and PUSD-contracted employees - anyone who works directly with students.

  • Employees have two options: show proof of full vaccination or be tested every week. Procedures for showing proof will be sent to employees by Human Resources.

  • Employees can get the vaccine through PUSD’s Primary Health Clinic. To make an appointment, please contact the clinic at (626) 396-3600, ext 88180.


  • PUSD strongly encourages students ages 12 and older to get the vaccine as soon as possible. PUSD Health Programs and the City of Pasadena offer opportunities for vaccination. The state has not required the COVID-19 vaccine for students.


We’re strengthening PUSD’s already robust testing program.


Per this new public health order, effective immediately all unvaccinated employees must take a weekly COVID-19 test. Tests will be available at school sites and at the PUSD Primary Health Clinic.


To strengthen safety measures for students, we have developed a risk-based approach to testing students in grades 6 - 12. This strategy was developed in consultation with Pasadena Public Health Department:

  • A risk-based sample of students in grades 6 - 12 will be offered a COVID-19 PCR test (with informed parents/guardians consent).

  • Unvaccinated student-athletes, band members, and ROTC will be required to take weekly tests, with informed parent/guardian consent. A negative test result is required to participate. This strategy captures students most at-risk of transmission because of the activities involved such as physical exertion and proximity of individuals.

Get Tested! We strongly encourage all students not yet eligible for vaccination to get tested. PUSD is providing incentives for students to get tested. These include gift cards, water bottles, stickers, and drawings for gift baskets for the family.

How and Where PUSD Students and Staff Can Get Tested

  • PUSD offers COVID-19 PCR oral or nasal swab tests on campuses and at the District’s Primary Clinic, 8 a.m. - 3:30 pm. By appointment, please call (626) 396-3600, ext 88180.

  • On PUSD campuses - starting the week of August 16

  • Register for testing here: https://home.color.com/covid/sign-up/start?partner=cdph094

Get vaccinated!

I strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to help schools safely return to in-person learning by reducing transmission risk. Learn more at www.pusd.us/vaccine #VaccinatePasadena


Brian McDonald, Ed.D.

PUSD is revising its COVID-19 Safety Plan to include the measures listed below.

The updated COVID-19 Safety Plan will be posted at www.pusd.us

Masks Outdoors

Based on CDPH recommendation, PUSD is requiring that masks be worn during outdoor school events/activities when 3 feet of distance cannot be maintained at all times

Self-Screening Before You Leave Home

Stay home if you’re sick and get tested

  • Before leaving home all students, employees, and parents must conduct a self-check. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Do I have a fever?

    • Do I have a cough?

    • Am I experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?

    • Am I experiencing any other symptoms?

    • Have I been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days?

    • In the last two weeks, have I been directed to quarantine, isolate or take a COVID-19 test?

  • If you respond "yes" to any of the questions, you must stay home and contact your school or office. It is recommended that you contact your primary care physician for further medical advice. If you have a fever with cough or shortness of breath, you are urged to contact your primary care physician as these symptoms may be attributed to COVID-19.

  • Upon arrival at school, school staff will perform a brief check-in to verify that students have completed a symptom screening.