August 27, 2021
Hello FUSD Staff and Community,
As I’ve been visiting sites the past two weeks, it has been fantastic to see our students back on campus, supported by our incredible teachers and staff. The opening of this school year required courage and compassion from our students and staff, as well as flexibility and patience. Throughout our return to campus, we have many things to celebrate as we strive for continuous improvement. Thank you to our administrators, classified staff, teachers, and other educators, for helping to make this return possible. To our students and families, thank you for your perseverance and ongoing partnership.
Along with many successful outcomes, we also have some targeted areas of focus that need prompt attention. Our staff is working diligently to address any and all areas of need and analyzing what other steps we can take to meet the needs of our students and staff. Additionally, with the change to free lunch service for all students, we are monitoring the changes in participation rates in order to help support our dedicated child nutrition staff, decrease the amount of time students are in line for meals and monitor how we can mitigate food waste. We are grateful for the chance to provide these meals to students at no charge.
COVID-19 - FUSD Information, Response, and Protocols:
As noted in our data reporting page, as of the end of Thursday we had roughly 37 cases of COVID-19 across FUSD students and staff since August 1st. We do continue to see COVID-19 cases in FUSD, and our mitigation measures will remain critically important. As part of our shared responsibility for health and safety please be sure you are masking as mandated, practicing good hygiene, and being mindful of physical distancing when possible.
With over 33,000 students in FUSD, we have had positive cases since the start of the year, for both staff and students. Students and staff in FUSD equate to roughly 37,750 individuals. Currently our case total is around 0.10%. Many of our early cases are examples of when students have contracted COVID-19 outside of our school settings. I recognize this may change over time as we remain in school, so it is very important we work together to reduce the spread in our community and mitigate impacts in our schools as well. One key step in that effort is to closely monitor symptoms and remember that when an individual is experiencing symptoms, the best thing is to please stay home.
Earlier this week, the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPH) issued the following statement along with other Bay Area health agencies:
“This summer’s surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization due to the spread of the Delta variant is causing people to feel cautious about the return to school. We know that when rates of COVID are high in our communities, cases will appear at schools, just as they do in other settings. However, with effective protocols in place – including universal indoor masking, vaccinations of eligible persons, testing, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick and proper ventilation – the data shows that these multiple layers of defense can stop the spread of COVID in school settings. In considering the many benefits to children, Bay Area Health Officials reaffirm the joint Bay Area Health Officials’ statement from June, endorse the recent statement from Bay Area County Superintendents of Schools, and continue to firmly support a safe return to the classroom.”
FUSD is working closely with ACPH and also monitoring the number of cases within any specific school. We are hopeful that our state and local case numbers of COVID-19 begin to decrease very soon and that our mitigation measures, which are fully aligned with ACPH/CDPH, continue to assist with slowing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the impact it has in our schools and our community.
FUSD’s process when there is a positive case:
When there is a positive case in our schools, these are reported directly to the school site administrator who then reports these cases to our District Office. If your student happens to test positive for COVID-19 it is critical that you report that to your respective school office so that FUSD can engage in our response process, which includes the following:
When we have a positive case identified for our school, either a staff member or a student, the process begins first with case investigation, which means staff talks with the individual who has tested positive. That first discussion provides a framework of who and where they have been with in recent days, this would also include whom a student may have been around at lunch and other non-classroom times to establish who is a close contact (6 feet of another individual for 15 minutes or more). Staff then begins directly contacting and notifying those individuals as soon as possible and advising them of the next steps depending on the circumstances of the close contacts (vaccination status, symptoms, etc.).
FUSD is providing accessible testing options weekly for all students and staff. Should you desire to have your student tested for COVID-19 information on FUSD’s testing can be found here FUSD COVID-19 Testing Additionally, the following community testing is available: https://covid-19.acgov.org/testing
While contact tracing is taking place for each case, FUSD is sending notices to each school staff and school community as quickly as possible with a general notice. Protecting the identity of a positive case is of the utmost importance. As such specific class-based notices are not generally sent as they can often indirectly identify the individual who has COVID-19. The general notice serves as a reminder for all to closely review the symptom screener each day. To help families who are either a close contact or for those who are concerned they are a close contact, the ACPH has provided two flowcharts indicating recommended actions and practices based on wide running circumstances.
As we progress through our first two weeks, we will continue to revisit how we can best meet the needs of providing timely and transparent communication to our community and staff while still protecting the privacy of any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Lastly, please know that our staff at each school site is also continuing to reflect on how we can continue with adjustments in practices and procedures to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in our schools. This week, we’ve brought on additional contact tracing staff and nursing support, along with securing $810,000 via grant funding to support our weekly testing program.
In partnership with staff, students, and our community, we can work together to keep FUSD as safe as possible.