Dear Bella Mente Families:
On January 12, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) made a significant revision to their guidance and recommendations for students who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 in school settings. The CDPH now recommends a Group-Tracing Approach to students exposed to COVID-19. The San Diego County COVID-19 Decision Trees for K-12 Schools have been updated to reflect these new recommendations.
The CDPH has outlined in their guidance that the rationale for this significant change is due to careful review over the past year of how best to respond to the pandemic while maximizing student access to in-person learning. This approach aligns with our belief that we have a dual obligation to keep students and staff safe while, at the same time, provide access to high quality, in-person learning experiences for all students.
Bella Mente Academies will be modifying all protocols and procedures related to student exposure to COVID-19 to align to the new CDPH guidance and recommendations, starting on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Specifically, we will be implementing the Group-Tracing Approach for students. This means that when students are exposed to a COVID-19 positive person in a school setting, Bella Mente will notify parents in writing of the exposure; however, all students may remain in school unless they are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive. Only students who have symptoms or test positive must be isolated at home. In keeping with the revised San Diego County COVID-19 Decision Trees for K-12 Schools and as a condition to remain in school, parents are required to have their student tested with at least one diagnostic test obtained within three to five days of exposure and inform the school of a positive result. Students who are currently in quarantine (individual or a classroom that has pivoted) but have not tested positive and do not have symptoms may return to school on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
Bella Mente has built a multi-layered system of COVID-19 mitigation procedures that makes the transition to a group-tracing approach possible:
Testing – Students may use at-home testing or locate free PCR testing through the County
Face Coverings – Bella Mente has a mandatory face covering (mask) policy in place for all students and staff while inside classrooms and other indoor facilities. We highly recommend that all students and staff wear high quality, three-ply surgical masks to ensure a greater level of protection. These masks are available for free at school.
Cleaning – Bella Mente has implemented a comprehensive handwashing campaign and classroom disinfecting protocol to keep our environments safe.
Indoor Air Filtration – Bella Mente has dramatically improved the air filtration systems, shifting to MERV 13 filters in both buildings, deploying HEPA filters with UV light sanitation in all rooms and increasing outdoor ventilation to our facilities.
COVID-19 Group Tracing Notification
Any student who spent more than a cumulative total of 15 minutes (within a 24-hour time period) in a shared indoor airspace (e.g., classroom) with someone with COVID-19 during their period of infectiousness will receive a group notification rather than contact tracing to identify individual contacts.
We will continue to provide you with regular updates as needed. Note that infections diagnosed in students and school staff are not necessarily the result of exposure at school when safety protocols are followed at school, and COVID-19 transmission remains much more likely to occur outside of school settings.
We encourage you to contact us with questions and concerns. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erin Feeley, Executive Director