Executive Director Update 21.22 #1 7/23/2021

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As we look forward to the upcoming school year, you may have questions about the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) recently released requirements for schools (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/K-12-Guidance-2021-22-School-Year.aspx) for the 2021-22 school year and what they will mean for your children.

There are several elements of the guidance that will directly benefit our students. The two most

restrictive prevention measures that were included in last year’s guidance are no longer required: physical distancing and cohort scheduling. The elimination of these measures will allow us to provide full-time in-person instruction for every student enrolled in our schools.

CDPH has also created new options that will reduce, and in some cases eliminate, absences required for quarantine following a close contact with someone who has COVID-19. This will allow us to avoid sending full classrooms of students home for quarantine.

Together these changes bring all students back to our campuses full time and keep them in class as much as possible.

With the elimination of these requirements, CDPH is relying on a multi-layered prevention strategy approach, including:

Robust testing program: California has the capacity to offer free PCR or antigen testing to every school in the state. Parents/guardians can provide consent for their kids to participate in the testing programs at participating school sites to help identify cases of COVID-19 at school and prevent additional spread amongst students, staff, and their families.

Continued face covering guidance: The mandatory use of face coverings in indoor spaces will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants on school campuses.

I understand that many of you may consider the face covering requirement unnecessary, while others may believe the guidance does not go far enough. Some media reports have implied that districts have the discretion to make face coverings optional, which is not accurate.

The State of California has issued the following requirements:

  • All K-12 students are required to mask indoors.
  • Adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students.
  • Masks are optional outdoors for all in K-12 school settings.
  • Consistent with guidance from the 2020-21 school year, schools must develop and implement local protocols to enforce the mask requirements.

County health officials have confirmed that all school districts must comply with the guidance for schools included in the State Public Health Officer Order of June 11, 2021, (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Order-of-the-State-Public-Health-Officer-Beyond-Blueprint.aspx) which derives its authority from Health and Safety Codes 120125, 120140, 120175,120195 and 131080 and other applicable laws. As a public entity, the San Diego County public health order (https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sandiegocounty.gov%2Fcontent%2Fdam%2Fsdc%2Fhhsa%2Fprograms%2Fphs%2FEpidemiology%2FHealthOfficerOrderCOVID19.pdf&data=04%7C01%7Cbmueller%40sdcoe.net%7Ce6b9137a2f01455baa5208d948b3d35d%7Cfd6cc79e7b6944d0b8cdaf4a102bd0d6%7C1%7C0%7C637620759472607838%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=ijp%2B%2BtAHiT4T9SlWjZL5My0E4lwcNfG44iZq6AYF%2BHE%3D&reserved=0) includes a similar requirement.

The state has not given school districts or schools the discretion to make face coverings optional, or to create their own standard for enforcement. We are required to enforce this mandate, as we would with any law, regulation, or policy.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the front office at info@bellamentecharter.org.

Sincerely,

Erin Feeley, Executive Director