Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

This week (March 11, 2022), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) updated their COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for PreK-12 Schools.  After today, the universal indoor masking in Preschool and K-12 school settings will move from a requirement to a strong recommendation.  

Throughout the pandemic, Porterville Unified School District (PUSD) has aligned its practices with public health guidance. As a result, when PUSD students and staff return from Spring Break on Monday, March 21st, masks will be optional in all settings. This applies to students and staff, as well as parents/guardians, visitors, contractors, bus drivers, and/or spectators on school sites and in school buses.  

Additionally, along with the transition away from universal indoor masking, the CDPH also updated guidance associated with quarantines and other procedures and our PUSD nursing and healthcare staff will be adopting these new guidelines. The California Safe Schools For All Hub contains additional information should you have any questions regarding the new guidance and is accessible at the following link: https://schools.covid19.ca.gov/

The health and safety of our school community continues to be our highest priority. We want to remind you that masks are available at no cost upon request from school offices and remain an option for students and staff. Additionally, the district has made a significant investment in enhancing indoor air quality through the deployment of filtration systems across all school sites as well as improving cleaning procedures.  

We are looking forward to taking the next steps in planning our traditional end-of-the-school-year activities while being mindful of everyone’s safety. Open communication between families and our schools continues to be one of our best tools in supporting the health and safety of our students and staff.

Please consider a COVID-19 test prior to your return to school. 

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PUSD is committed to keeping students safe and keeping schools open for learning. The COVID-19 Response Team (CRT) Center is part of PUSD’s Health Services, providing rapid antigen COVID-19 testing to students and staff.  
 
We are located at the Porterville Educational Complex in the Butterfield Annex -900 W. Pioneer Ave. Porterville, CA 93257. 
 
Families scheduled for rapid tests are advised to park in between the four large orange parking cones on the East side of the parking lot and walk to the white tent.

Contact the CRT 
Families may call (559) 560-5960 or request a call back by completing the student assessment contact request form. Families are advised to provide as many details as possible when leaving a message or completing the contact request form. Calls / requests are returned in the order received. 
 
Health & Safety Guidelines
PUSD continues to follow recommended health and safety guidelines as directed by the local health department. Including student/staff self-health screening, masks required indoors and on buses, frequent hand washing/sanitizing, daily cleaning/disinfecting, increased classroom ventilation, and school-wide and site-wide notification in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

 

 

Contact Tracing & Exposures at School  
PUSD has shifted  its practices to group contact tracing. As a result, families are notified by the school via Parent Square when their student is part of a group exposure indoors. Parents are provided a recommended testing date and options for testing, should they choose to test. Students no longer are asked to quarantine for indoor group exposures except for situations where masking was not implemented effectively. 
 
Students are expected to be at school the days immediately after the group exposure at school unless there is a COVID-related concern and the parents contact the CRT center for testing. The CRT is not able to excuse absences until parents have contacted and provided additional details. Parents who choose to keep students home due to exposure need to notify the school immediately. Group exposures are no longer a reason for students to be out of school unless they are sick (develop symptoms). 
 
PUSD continues to close contact trace the student's household for exposure risks. Students who are unvaccinated, isolate from a positive household member, and have no symptoms may be able to return to school sooner. The student must be in a separate living (i.e. sleeping, restroom) area from COVID positive household members. Students in this situation may qualify to return to school 6 days after exposure if they test negative for COVID. 
 
PUSD's adopted COVID practices support students having access to safe and full in-person instruction and to as much instructional time as possible.

 

FAQ About Updated Student Guidelines

Q: What has changed in PUSD practices with the new allowed state guidance?

A: PUSD will utilize group-contact tracing where possible however, some situations may require a different approach.

 

Q: Families will be provided the option to test their student with a home kit or at the CRT center on day 5 from exposure. Is this testing required to remain in school?

A: Testing on day 5 from exposure is highly advised but is not mandatory to remain in school. Families are to watch for symptom development and report any changes in COVID risk to the CRT team.

 

Q: Upon receiving notice of exposure, can families choose to keep their students at home?

A: Group exposures are not a reason for students to be out of school unless they are sick. Students will be marked absent if they do not attend school following an exposure notice. Families concerned about student exposures should test their students with a home kit or by making an appointment with the CRT center.

 

Q: Can families test their student with an Over-the-Counter test?

A: Yes, Over-the-Counter tests can be submitted to the CRT team using a Primary.health link provided by the nursing team or texting results to (559) 560-5858.

 

Q: Can students be cleared to return to school after 5 days of being positive if a doctor provides a medical note indicating returning to school earlier than 11 days?

A: Due to the current surge of COVID cases and to reduce the spread, PUSD will continue the 10-day isolation period for students who test positive for COVID. These absences will be cleared.

 

At-Home Testing & Reporting

PUSD families have the option of requesting at-home testing for their students. At-home testing kits can be requested from your site school nurse. Families will be asked to report their results via our district’s testing system or by texting results to (559) 560-5858. When reporting results please include the following information: Student Name, School, Date of Birth, & Testing Start and End Time.The following videos will provide instructions on how to conduct the self-test and share test results.

 

 

For more updated information visit:

California Department of Public Health K-12 Guidance 2021-22 School Year

Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency COVID-19 School Resources

California Interscholastic Federation Health Resources

 

COVID Response Team - Family Newsletters

April 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - English

 

April 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - Spanish

 

February 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - English

 

February 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - Spanish

 

January 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - English

 

January 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - Spanish 

 

December 2021 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - English

 

December 2021 COVID-19 Response Team Newsletter - Spanish

 

November 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Family Newsletter - English

 

November 2022 COVID-19 Response Team Family Newsletter - Spanish