Volunteers / Vaccinations / Visitors / Notifications Update
We are thankful for our volunteers and the 1PA effort that took pressure off our staffing issues at the peak of Omicron. Many parents have found enjoyment from the opportunity to contribute on our sites and have continued helping where needed. We appreciate our parents and the partnerships we are reestablishing.
We have stated from the start that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) would be our anchor. We have intentionally deviated from their orders twice since the beginning of the pandemic. The first was to require outdoor masking for K-8 students when contact tracing rules created an unmanageable challenge for site administrators. As announced last week, those rules have changed and outdoor masking is now optional at all levels.
The second deviation from CDPH was requiring proof of vaccinations for volunteers. Faced with the surge of Omicron and a need to assist with staffing, we believed adding a vaccination requirement for parent volunteers was an appropriate step for the short term. The CDPH has never mandated vaccinations for volunteers or visitors.
PAUSD will drop our internally created proof of vaccination mandate for volunteers on February 14. This will be consistent with our existing spectator protocol for events on our school sites, including performing arts and athletics.
Masking indoors for everyone is still a requirement at the CDPH level for all California schools. Masking outdoors is the compromise we are requesting of our parents. Volunteers, staff, and students are all asked to remain at home and test if ill. Coronavirus testing remains available on our sites and throughout the community.
Principals will determine the number and roles of "essential" volunteers. They will consider daily volunteer opportunities and "special event" volunteer needs. PAUSD also supports the request of our professional associations to allow discretion for individual teachers and classified support staff to decline volunteers in their established workspaces. Employees may communicate their wishes to decline all volunteers with their site principals or supervisors.
As promised, coronavirus contact letters will resume on Monday, February 14. We will use the CDPH Group-Tracing Protocol. Key points include:
- Contact letters are NOT the same as contact tracing.
- Letters are generated for indoor exposures to confirmed positive cases.
- Recipients of contact letters are encouraged to test for coronavirus.
- Cases are often not confirmed quickly, so the letters may lag exposures.
Our third-party coronavirus testing provider, Covid Clinic, has opened a testing lab on the corner of Emerson and Forest in Palo Alto. Our Covid reporting numbers have dramatically declined since January 1 and can be found HERE. In general, Palo Alto has some of the lowest cumulative case rates in the county and state. Data can be explored for those interested HERE. The current reported Santa Clara County vaccination rate of those >5 is nearly 90% with data suggesting Palo Alto is even higher.
For those interested in information about vaccinations, you can find more information HERE.