All PK-12 schools are shifting to a universal mask mandate, regardless of individual vaccination status. Everyone in a school building, at an indoor school activity, or on school transportation is required to wear a mask, except at times dedicated to eating and drinking. Additionally, students are not required to wear masks while taking resting/sleeping breaks; students must maintain social distance and be supervised by staff while resting. Everyone is required to wear masks for indoor recess, for physical education classes, and for indoor athletic practices and competitions. Masks are recommended but not required while outdoors, except for staff (and their students) with close contact assignments.
When county transmission rates are substantial or high (i.e., when either % positive tests are 8% or higher or the daily case rate is 7.14 cases per day per 100,000 population or higher) everyone is required to wear masks inside school buildings, even when no student services are being provided. During times when no student services are being provided at a school, such as in-service professional development days, staff who have provided evidence of full vaccination are not required to wear masks inside, so long as county transmission rates are not substantial or high.
COVID-19 surveillance testing programs test unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals to discover undiagnosed cases and to better understand the rate of infection in the community. Staff and students who provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are not included in surveillance testing.
Districts and charter schools must ensure that any faculty and staff who have not provided evidence of COVID-19 vaccination and work onsite participate in COVID-19 testing each week that student services are provided at school. That is, the requirement is increased to 100% weekly testing for these individuals.
Schools are required to provide student surveillance testing programs to all unvaccinated students on a voluntary basis. In alignment with CDC guidance, those who participate in athletics and other extra-curricular activities are strongly encouraged to participate in surveillance testing. Schools have a weekly goal of testing 25% of unvaccinated students.
Four (4) Rapid Responses
The requirement for schools to close upon having four Rapid Responses in 14 days has not changed. The Public Education Department is working with medical leaders and the Governor’s Office to see if it is appropriate to adjust the closure requirements for the 2021/2022 school year. several schools have reached the four rapid response threshold this school year. A Rapid Response is one or more COVID-19 cases who were infectious while on campus and who share a school notification date, or have a test date up to one day after the school notification date.