PUSD Update

August 18, 2021

Message from the Superintendent

Dear PUSD Community,

In the first full week of the new school year, I want to assure you that PUSD is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and the community we serve as we navigate the pandemic.

The PUSD’s strategy for keeping our students and staff safe is in ensuring that all eligible students and staff are vaccinated, there is increased availability of testing, improved mental health services, the enforcement of the mask mandate, upgraded ventilation, intensified cleaning and sanitizing, and handwashing. We are thankful for the partnership we have had with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and their almost daily guidance. We are also adhering to CDC, State, and County, health and safety guidelines, and stand ready to adjust as the situation evolves.


While all of the above-mentioned protocols taken together are necessary, PUSD is implementing aggressive safety measures in the areas of increased employee and student testing as well as the implementation of the Governor’s vaccination mandate. Effective immediately, with full implementation no later than September 1;

  1. All unvaccinated employees will be tested weekly

  2. All students in the elementary grades will be tested weekly with informed consent by parents

  3. 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.

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

Students under age 12: Given that students who are under age 12 and not eligible for the vaccine, we must do all that we can to provide an extra layer of protection for them. We are adding three health practitioners to every elementary campus who will rotate to secondary campuses each Monday. Testing will be offered for these students on campus by District nurses. Tests will be conducted using oral swabs (from the mouth) instead of nasal swabs, for younger children. Required parent-informed consent forms can be completed in multiple ways, including by registering online, coming to a testing center for the first time, or by calling their school to get a paper form.

Students age 12 and older

PUSD is taking a risk-based approach to testing students and employees, with those most at risk given priority. This strategy was developed in consultation with the Pasadena Public Health Department. To reduce the risk of transmission and to prevent outbreaks, PUSD provides multiple opportunities for COVID-19 testing (via five types of testing: screening, surveillance, symptomatic, response, and outbreak) for students and staff. Screening and surveillance testing is available to any student or employee either on campuses or at the District’s Primary Health Clinic. As part of the risk-based approach, testing for students in grades 6 - 12 will include sampling. We have been working with the PPHD to determine sample size and participant criteria. Each Monday the testing teams will rotate from the elementary sites to conduct all necessary testing.


  • An estimated 96% of PUSD employees are fully vaccinated. Employees must submit proof of vaccination by September 1, 2021.

  • As outlined in the state’s public health order, asymptomatic unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or employees who do not have verification of vaccination are required to undergo weekly diagnostic screening testing.

  • All PUSD employees will have the opportunity and are encouraged to get tested via school-site clinics or at the District’s Primary Health Clinic at the Ed Center by registering at https://home.color.com/covid/sign-up/start?partner=cdph094

PUSD COVID-19 Safety Measures:


  • We will continue to strongly promote that everyone age 12 and older takes the COVID-19 vaccine. We will develop an incentive program to support this increased effort.

  • We will adhere to the state’s recent public health order by requiring employees to provide proof of vaccination by September 1, 2021. As outlined in the state’s public health order, asymptomatic unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or employees who do not have verification of vaccination are required to undergo weekly diagnostic screening testing.

Face Masks

  • Masks are required at all PUSD schools unless exempted. Students and employees must wear their mask so that it covers the mouth, nose, and chin!

  • 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.


  • Students and employees must stay home if you’re sick.

  • Conduct a self-screening every day before coming to school/work

Physical distancing when possible

  • CDPH does not require physical distancing for schools. PUSD schools will practice physical distancing to the extent possible. At mealtimes, students will eat outdoors as much as possible.

Handwashing Respiratory Etiquette

  • Schools have hand washing stations and hand sanitizer available for frequent hand washing.

Cleaning and Sanitation

  • Intensified cleaning and sanitation at all schools and work locations, with regular cleaning schedules


  • Optimized ventilation through hospital-grade MERV 10 air filter and air purifiers in classrooms and shared spaces

Limited Visitors & Meetings

  • Visitors and volunteers on campus are limited to those providing essential services

  • As much as possible, meetings are conducted virtually or outdoors, depending on health conditions

Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine

  • In adherence with PPHD guidelines

See the PUSD COVID-19 Safety Plan

Get Vaccinated! We strongly encourage all employees and eligible students to get vaccinated.

How and Where PUSD Students and Employees Can Get Vaccinated

  • PUSD offers Pfizer vaccinations at the District’s Primary Clinic, 8 a.m. - 3:30 pm. By appointment, please call (626) 396-3600, ext 88180.

  • Register for the vaccination here at myturn.ca.gov

Get Tested! We strongly encourage everyone - students and employees - to get tested.

How and Where PUSD Students and Employees Can Get Tested

I will continue to keep you informed as the situation develops and we take action to meet this challenge.


Brian McDonald, Ed.D.


PUSD COVID-19 Safety Plan

Check https://www.pusd.us/Page/9469 for the latest safety updates and to see the most recent PUSD COVID-19 Safety Plan.


Getting the vaccine will help protect our students and employees. COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and over. Get the COVID-19 vaccine to keep our community safe! www.pusd.us/vaccine

#VaccinatePasadena #PUSDproud @CityOfPasadena