Health & Safety Update
Union School District | October 15, 2021
Dear Union School District Community,
Thank you for your continued partnership and support while navigating and implementing all the COVID precautions and regulations. We are proud of the work we have accomplished together as this has allowed our students to stay in school and keep our classrooms open.
Because of the support of our families and staff, the launch of our weekly COVID No-Cost screening launched just three weeks ago. It certainly has been a success with the weekly surveillance screening both in minimizing transmission and keeping our students in school under the modified quarantine process. The turnaround time to receive test results has been less than 24 hours, which has been wonderful.
Our community testing site at Dartmouth Middle School has also been a critical resource for our entire community. Given the added value it has had for our District and community, we are pleased to announce the launch of a second site opening next week Monday, October 18th at Union Middle School. As we enter into the fall, sometimes sniffles or colds come up and the use of the community testing site can be a resource for families or staff when a COVID test is needed to return to school/work. Later this year, we will also be hosting a weekend flu and COVID vaccination event at one of our school sites. It is a collective effort that stretches beyond the classroom walls to keep each other healthy, and we are proud to be able to offer these resources to our greater community.
In addition, there have been recent updates regarding vaccination in K-12 schools in California. COVID-19 vaccinations are a crucial part of the effort to limit the spread of the virus and we continue to encourage all eligible individuals to get the vaccine. You may have heard that earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new proposed mandate for students attending in-person instruction to be vaccinated for COVID-19 following full FDA approval of the vaccine for their grade span as part of the larger group of required vaccines under California law. It is anticipated that the requirement would apply to grades 7-12 first and likely not before July 1, 2022.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will release regulations that will address requirements as well as the process and scope of medical and personal exemptions. More information will be provided as we learn more about how and when this mandate may be implemented. We will most certainly keep you apprised of the CDPH requirements as we move forward.
As we continue our collective work together, Dr. Richard Pescatore of Grapefruit Testing has provided more information about testing and the new community site below. Thank you again for the united efforts in the USD community.
Message from Grapefruit Testing's Dr. Richard Pescatore
Friends and Family of Union School District,
Grapefruit's partnership with Union School District is a special one. In just a few short weeks, we've facilitated more than 5000 telehealth screenings and COVID-19 tests--a critical measure in keeping schools safe and open in an unpredictable COVID environment. I've been so grateful for the collaboration and continued efforts of Union's educators and administrators--who, working with the school community, have helped the school community gain access to this fundamental mitigation measure.
Positivity rates remain low, and classes in nearly every school have been able to remain safe and in-class due to the "Modified Quarantine" process. "MQ" has been a phenomenal success--with its implementation being well-demonstrated to increase classroom attendance without allowing COVID to rip its way through schools, and has been featured recently in multiple major news outlets. Following California's lead, more and more states are now implementing MQ as a way to keep kids safe and in school.
We've heard some great feedback from all of you, and continue to welcome any and all comments to Admin@grapefruittesting.com. We are also pleased at how effective the Community site “GPod” that was installed at the Dartmouth Middle School has been in testing families and community members. In the first 2-weeks of operation the site has administered over 1,300 tests. With your feedback, we know that some results from the Community Testing GPod are currently delayed ~72 hours, particularly around weekends and holidays. To get you results faster, we're implementing a dedicated weekend courier to get samples to the laboratory right away. We trust this will expedite the results to the anxious waiting families of the community.
With support and vision from Dr. Carrie Andrews and the District Administration, we are launching a second GPod Community site at the Union Middle School location. The date of the first testing day will be the beginning of next week, 10/18/2021. With our second site, we look forward to continue to offer the COVID-19 testing initiatives to the families of Union School District and the community at large.
Grapefruit has deployed a team of Onsite Coordinators that visit the schools daily to ensure the testing is going on schedule overseeing the testing process so that the students and staff are tested and in their classrooms as planned.
As always, don't hesitate to contact us directly with any questions, concerns, comments, or recommendations.
Grapefruit looks forward to a fulfilling and collaborative relationship as we continue to work through the next phase of the pandemic.
Richard M. Pescatore II, DO, FAAEM, FACEP
Chief Medical Officer, Grapefruit Testing