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Managing the Wave of COVID Cases

January 13, 2022

We have several updates to share on how San José Unified is managing the current wave of COVID cases throughout our county, state, and nation. We also have clarifications and reminders to keep our students, families, employees, and community as safe as possible.

COVID Numbers for San José Unified
We are continuing to see a high volume of reported positives from students and employees, which is expected given the high case counts in Santa Clara County.  Since the start of the New Year Recess, we have 2,947 positive cases reported, which is about 10% of our total 30,500 student and employee population. 

Reporting COVID Circumstances
School and office staff are not able to discuss individual situations and will not give quarantine and isolation advice. Positive cases, close contacts, symptoms, and any other COVID circumstance must be reported as follows. Instructions on what to do next will be provided after completing the report and will be shared by email.

Isolation
Isolation is the period of time a person who has tested positive for COVID must isolate from others. The California Department of Public Health recently updated the isolation requirements as follows:

  • 5 days for students and employees who test negative on a rapid antigen test through SJUSD
  • 10 days for students and employees who do not take a rapid antigen test through SJUSD

Isolation cannot end until any symptoms are improving and the student or employee has no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.

Quarantine
Quarantine is the period of time a person who has been in close contact to a COVID positive must quarantine from others outside their household. The California Department of Public Health issued new quarantine guidelines for K-12 school settings last night, Wednesday, January 12, 2022.  We are currently evaluating how to best implement the new quarantine requirements and will provide an update as soon as possible.

COVID Testing
San José Unified is using two types of COVID tests based on the specific situation.

    PCR

  • PCR tests are the most accurate test for determining if someone has COVID.
  • PCR tests are for people who have not already tested positive, have symptoms, or have been in close contact to a COVID positive case.
  • A person who has previously tested positive on a PCR test may continue to test positive on PCR tests for up to 3 months.

Rapid Antigen

  • Antigen tests are most effective for determining if someone who has previously tested positive on a PCR test is still contagious and should remain in isolation.
  • A negative result on a SJUSD antigen test is required for students and employees to return after 5 days of isolation, along with no fever for 24 hours and improving or no symptoms.

PCR testing is offered on school days Monday through Friday from 8:10 am to 4:40 pm at 3 testing locations. Appointments are required. Schedule an appointment at go.sjusd.org/COVIDtest.

Antigen tests are available for pickup only for students and employees who have reported a positive and have been notified when they are eligible to pick up a rapid test (see how to report above).

Holiday Testing Schedule
In observance of the national holiday on Monday, January 17,2022 commemorating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our testing schedule will be adjusted as follows:

  • No PCR testing on Monday, January 17. PCR testing resumes on Tuesday, January 18.
  • No antigen tests on Sunday, January 16 or Monday, January 17.
  • Students and employees eligible for antigen testing in order to return on Tuesday, January 18 will be able to get their antigen test kit from SJUSD on Friday, January 14 from 8:30 am to 11:00 am. Look for instructions by email later today.

Employee Absences
The high number of positive cases is significantly straining our ability to cover employees absences, particularly for teachers and instructional assistants. Our non-teaching staff has been reassigned to classrooms, responding to COVID positive cases, and other essential functions. All non-essential work is on hold until we get through the wave of COVID cases.

In-Person Learning Continues
There is no distance learning option in California for the 2021-2022 school year. San José Unified is required to continue in-person services to our students. Our schools remain open and would only close due to COVID if ordered to do so by the public health department.

Thank You
Our employees have been exceptional throughout the pandemic and continue to meet and overcome increasingly challenging obstacles. Our students and families have been patient and understanding as we navigate ever-changing health regulations. We are proud of how we have come together as a community to manage through this extremely challenging school year. Thank you for your continued support of our students and employees.

 

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