Message from the Superintendent
Health Update | January 14, 2022
Dear Union School District Families,
USD’s commitment throughout this pandemic continues to utilize multiple layers of protection and mitigation in order to keep schools open for students and staff. As guidance from County and State health officials have adapted to changing conditions, USD has quickly adapted as well. Your flexibility and partnership in these efforts have been instrumental to keep students and staff safe on campus.
As is the case across the County and State, we are seeing a surge in COVID 19 cases. I want to reassure you again that I am confident our schools are safe places to teach and learn. In USD with universal indoor masking, weekly testing, ventilation and a focus on isolating symptomatic individuals–we are working in one of the most controlled environments possible.
This week, the California Department of Health updated the guidance on responding to a positive COVID case on school campuses in K-12 schools and participation in after school activities. While not a significant change from our previous processes in USD as it relates to the focus on testing and notification, we’ve outlined below what families and staff can expect as well as some important reminders for all staff and students.
Just this afternoon, we received information from Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dewan who released a letter to the education community announcing the following:
On January 12, 2022, the California Department of Public Health released revised guidance for TK-12 settings in which they identified alternative approaches to contact tracing and quarantine. In the event of wide-scale and/or repeated exposures, as we have been experiencing during the current Omicron surge, once weekly testing may be implemented in lieu of traditional exposure notification and contact tracing. This approach makes sense during the height of the Omicron pandemic given that frequent exposures are occurring in school and outside of school, in the community, where exposures are not or cannot be communicated.
Therefore, between January 14, 2022 and February 11, 2022, all schools in Santa Clara County can cease sending individual close contact notifications. Instead, it is expected that they will focus on weekly testing of all students and staff. Read the full letter here.
As such, USD will focus on following all safety protocols, including masking and proper ventilation, and weekly COVID testing to further reduce the risk of in-school COVID-19 transmission. COVID notices will be paused from January 18 to February 11, 2022.
As always it is our united commitment to prioritize our students to have a safe learning environment throughout the changing conditions. A heartfelt thank you to the hardworking USD staff for all they continue to do to support our students. You are greatly appreciated for your continued dedication to our students and families. And to all the parents and guardians a huge thank you for being flexible and supportive throughout all of this as we work together.
Monday, January 17th will be a day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'''
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
I am proud to be in a community that continues to demonstrate what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spoke readily about supporting others especially during times that can be ever changing. May we continue to do so together, in support of each other.
Have a great weekend, and we are looking forward to seeing students again on Tuesday, January 18th.
What does this mean for you and your child?
Your child may remain in school unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Being exposed to somebody with COVID-19 does not necessarily mean that your child will become infected. Vaccination and wearing a mask can reduce the chance of infection even if exposed.
Your child should be tested for COVID-19 once a week. By testing weekly, anyone who has a COVID-19 infection can be identified, even if they do not have symptoms. Your student can test with our on-campus Grapefruit testing or visit the County website to find a community testing site near you. Also, any FDA-approved over-the-counter (at-home) tests may also be used. Note that, if your child tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, antigen testing (vs. PCR) is recommended.
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19, please make sure they isolate at home immediately and notify the school office. When you notify us, we can take additional steps to keep our school community safe.
Your child must continue to wear a mask indoors in the school and community per school, local, and state requirements. High quality masks with the best fit and filtration will provide the best protection for your child and the school community.
If you haven’t done so yet, your child should get vaccinated against COVID-19. If your child is 12 years of age or older, a booster dose is recommended five months after the second dose. COVID-19 vaccination remains the best way to protect against the spread of the virus and against severe disease. Make an appointment to get vaccinated or contact your child’s doctor or healthcare provider to learn more.
Monitoring Symptoms is Key - Stay Home if Sick
Remember, keep your student home if experiencing any symptoms.
COVID-19 symptoms include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. COVID symptoms are presenting as cold-like symptoms for many, so stay home if experiencing any symptoms or if there is any concern about your student’s illness.
Stay home if symptomatic.
Notify your school office if your child or close contact is COVID-19 positive.
Isolation Procedures for COVID 19 Positive Individuals
Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should notify school site and will be notified of isolation procedures. Isolation can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present or are resolving AND an antigen test comes back negative. USD has antigen tests available for COVID positive individuals who need one to return to school.
If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.
If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.
If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving, continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10.
Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days.
Extracurricular and After School Activities
There were some recent updates from the CDPH as it relates participation in sports and extracurricular activities as follows:
Exposed students who participate in testing may continue to take part in all aspects of K-12 schooling, including sports and extracurricular activities, unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. They should test as recommended in Section (2), report positive test results to the school, and follow other components of this guidance, including wearing face-coverings as directed.
USD will continue to maintain a District Dashboard of COVID-19 positive cases through the rest of the 2021-22 school year. The dashboard includes a weekly case count of students and staff by school site.
The District dashboard is published each Friday at 5pm and can be located on USD’s COVID-19 Information page at https://www.unionsd.org/about/covid-19-response#h.m61isujeu3an
KN95 and N95 Masks Available to all Staff Members
USD has procured enough KN95 masks for all staff and has received a shipment from the County and State for additional N95 masks for use in the coming weeks.
Universal indoor masking remains one of the most important layers of protection in school, so consider upgrading your student’s mask to ensure a good fit. Each school site also has a supply of replacement surgical masks for students should they need one.
USD Hosts 3rd Vaccination Clinic - Appointments Available to USD Students and Staff
USD has scheduled a third vaccination clinic for eligible USD students and staff to receive their vaccination or booster through Safeway pharmacy. We understand that it can be challenging to get appointments to receive vaccinations so we are striving to make it as easy as possible for our families.
The vaccination clinics will take place on
January 24th and February 15th at Dartmouth Middle School from 3:30 - 7:30 pm
Pfizer Pediatric Dose 5-11 y.o
Pfizer Vaccine (12+ y.o) 1st, 2nd and booster for 12+ y.o
Please print and bring to your appointment: Filled out consent form
Bring to your appointment:
Medical and prescription card
CDC covid card if getting a 2nd/3rd dose
Grapefruit Community Testing Hub
The Community testing hubs will be open on Monday, January 17th from 7am to 7pm.
The Grapefruit Community testing hub has been a great resource for our staff, families and community at large. Finding a location to get a COVID test can be challenging right now, but we are able to provide this to our community as a resource. They are located at Dartmouth and Union Middle School. The community testing sites are open daily and into the evening.
We understand that, due to demand, the line has been longer than usual, as is the case at many local testing sites. Also, we have learned that Grapefruit has added another lab in efforts to provide results within 24-72 hours.