Dear Hart District families,
I hope you all have been able to enjoy a safe and restful holiday season with friends and family.
As we look forward to the start of the spring semester, we do so with an understanding that the Omicron surge will bring fresh challenges to the start of the new year. Over the last several days, we have received new guidance from the State of California and from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. This communication is intended to summarize several new options, recommendations, and requirements.
Free At-Home Testing Options
The State of California has publicly declared that they will be making at-home testing kits available for every student who is interested in accessing this resource. We had originally been told that these tests would be delivered to our district this week. Today we learned that the tests have been delayed.
Stay tuned for updates and a distribution plan once we receive confirmation from the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Regardless of when they are delivered, please note that no one is required to pick up and/or use these at-home tests. They are being made available as an optional resource.
As always, students who test positive, who have been in close contact with a positive case, or who develop symptoms should remain at home and contact their school site.
Isolation and Quarantine Requirements
The LA County Public Health Order was revised on December 31, 2021. The revision makes changes to Isolation requirements (for those testing positive) and Quarantine requirements (for those who are close contacts with known positives). In certain circumstances the period of Isolation or Quarantine can be reduced from 10 days to 5 days. However, additional testing requirements have been added.
If you have COVID-19, you must self-isolate regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of symptoms. Everyone with COVID-19 must isolate for at least 5 days. How long you have to isolate depends on whether you have symptoms and if you get a negative follow-up viral test on day 5 or later. For more information on LACDPH isolation requirements, go HERE.
California’s “modified quarantine” rule states that vaccinated students who are close contacts can remain in class during the period of their quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic. Unvaccinated students must remain at home during the period of their quarantine. The revised health order now requires all quarantined students to be tested following exposure, regardless of vaccination status. For more information on LACDPH quarantine requirements, go HERE.
Recommendations for Types of Masks Worn by Students
The revised Public Health Order strongly recommends that students opt to wear well-fitting masks that are made of “multiple layers of non-woven material with a nose wire.” In other words, the County is discouraging students from wearing cloth masks. Instead, they are recommending surgical masks (think disposable doctors’ paper face masks) or a higher level personal protective equipment. For more information on LACDPH masking recommendations for students, go HERE.
Outdoor Masking Requirements
The revised Public Health Order now requires masking outdoors “where physical distancing is not feasible, except while eating or drinking.” We have asked all school sites to make this announcement daily and will call for supervisors to circulate and remind students during outdoor breaks. Signage will be posted in external areas to highlight the new requirements. For more information on LACDPH outdoor masking requirements, go HERE.
We appreciate your patience as we work to implement these modified policies and procedures. We hope that you can take confidence in knowing that Hart District staff have been working diligently to ensure that students and staff can return safely to the classroom on January 10.
Thank you, and I wish you a peaceful and healthy remainder to your winter break.