School Health and Safety

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued updated guidance for all California K-12 schools for the 2021-22 school year.  This guidance is a mandated public health directive, which all California TK-12 schools must be in compliance with to provide a pathway for students to return to a traditional, five-days per week, in-person academic model of instruction. Below is information about IUSD health and safety protocols and plans, which are aligned to the CDPH guidance.

2021-22 IUSD Academic Models

IUSD is offering two academic models to meet the needs of our IUSD community:
 
Traditional Academic Model – Five days per week, full time instruction.  Classrooms will look and operate similar to a traditional classroom environment with universal masking in place.  See the Face Covering section below for more information and click here for CDPH guidelines for TK-12 schools.  IUSD will continue to have enhanced ventilation, with air purification units in learning spaces, along with cleaning and disinfecting protocols and hand sanitation stations similar to last year. 

 

IUSD Virtual Academy (TK-12) – Online learning.  For more information about IVA Middle and High school click here and for IVA Elementary click here.

Parents considering IVA / an Independent Study option have the right to request a student-parent-educator conference meeting before enrollment to review the academic program delivery, student support, enrollment process, specific academic expectations as well as the withdrawal process. If your student has an IEP, please contact your student’s case carrier to schedule an IEP to determine if independent study is appropriate to support your student’s unique needs. 

Along with many of our program support opportunities, IVA / Independent Study will offer:

  • For students in transitional kindergarten and grades 1 to 3, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for daily synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
  • For students in grades 4 to 8, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for both daily live interaction and at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
  • For students in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
  • A plan to transition students whose families wish to return to in-person instruction from independent study expeditiously, and, in no case, later than five instructional days.

“Synchronous instruction” means classroom-style instruction or designated small group or one-on-one instruction delivered in person, or in the form of internet or telephonic communications, and involving live two-way communication between the teacher and student. Synchronous instruction shall be provided by the teacher of record.

 

CDPH Guidelines for K-12 Schools

Click here for the complete TK-12 school guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. 

CDPH Facemask Guidelines 

Masks Indoors –The CDPH stated that it will continue to assess conditions and will determine no later than November 1 whether to update or eliminate mask requirements or recommendations.  In the meantime, the mask guidance issued on June 9, requiring students and staff to wear masks while indoors at school, regardless of vaccination status, will remain in effect.

 

By requiring masking indoors, the state was able to modify the physical distancing requirements to facilitate a return to full in-person instruction.    
Masking indoors also greatly reduces quarantine restrictions for anyone who may be exposed to COVID-19 as long as they remain asymptomatic, reducing interruptions to in-person instruction. 

 

Finally, the state believes that this masking guidance will reduce conflict and bullying between the masked and unmasked, vaccinated and unvaccinated.
 

No Masks Outdoors – Students and staff will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors. IUSD will continue to use outdoor spaces for learning environments to the extent possible on each school site.   
 
CDPH Facemask Exemptions – The CDPH provides limited exemptions for facemasks, which reads, “Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition, must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.”  Please note, written verification from a doctor is required for all facemask exemptions.  Please contact your student’s school for more information related to facemask exemptions.       

CDPH Quarantine Guidelines Overview

The following is an overview of the most common quarantine scenarios.  Click here for the complete CDPH quarantine guidelines for schools. 

Positive COVID-19 Cases - Students who are positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must follow CDPH guidance for isolation and quarantine and may return to school only after 10 days have passed since symptom onset and 24 hours without a fever. 

Close Contact Exposure Guidance (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet):

  • Fully Vaccinated - Students who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to continue to attend school, as long as they remain asymptomatic, continue to wear a mask, and screen for symptoms daily.
  • Masked and Unvaccinated - Students who are wearing masks and are not vaccinated will be allowed to continue to attend school as long as they remain asymptomatic, undergo at least twice weekly testing during the 10-day period, continue to wear a mask both indoors and outside, and screen for symptoms daily.
  • Not Masked and Unvaccinated - Students who are not wearing a mask and are unvaccinated are required to quarantine from school until after day 10 of last exposure without testing or day 7 if a diagnostic specimen (collected after day 5) from the date of last exposure and tests negative.  Students must be symptom free and mask indoors and outside until 14 days from the last exposure.   
  • Vaccinated Students: Extracurricular Activities - Students in extracurricular activities who are vaccinated will be allowed to continue participating regardless of whether they are a close contact, if they remain asymptomatic.
  • Unvaccinated Students: Extracurricular Activities - Students in extracurricular activities who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to continue participating if they are a close contact until after day 7 with a negative test, obtained after day 5 from last exposure, if it is feasible for the student to wear a mask until 14 days from the last exposure.   

Positive COVID-19 Cases at Home – Fully vaccinated students, who are not positive for COVID-19 but have a household member who is, will be allowed to continue to attend school, as long as they remain asymptomatic, continue to wear a mask, and screen for symptoms daily.

Unvaccinated students must quarantine for 10 days as long as the infected member of the household can isolate. If the household member cannot isolate, then the unvaccinated student must stay home an additional 10 days (total of 20 days) after the end of the infected individual’s isolation period.

Notifications:

The District and our schools will continue to track and communicate confirmed COVID-19 cases and close contact exposures as defined by the California Department of Public Health

COVID-19 Dashboard:

Click here to view a handout with this information.
IUSD Health Guidelines at a Glance

IUSD Safety Plan

Click here for IUSD’s 2021-22 safety plan, which is the District’s plan for a safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services.

School Planning and Protocols

  • Per state guidelines, students and staff are required to wear masks while indoors at school, regardless of vaccination status.  Masks are no longer required outdoors.
  • Each school’s HVAC system has been recalibrated to pull in more fresh air from outside and has been equipped with upgraded MERV-13 filters.
  • Standalone HEPA air purification units that clean the air every 30 minutes are located in learning and office spaces, along with common areas.
  • The custodial staff is trained in COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting procedures and will continue to implement related protocols to deep clean, sanitize and disinfect sites.
  • Students will have access to frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer stations.
  • To the extent possible, schools will use outdoor and flexible learning spaces to decrease class size and increase individualized instruction.
  • IUSD has hired additional school staff to support small group instruction and provide as much distancing as possible. 
  • Students who are positive for COVID-19 may not come to school and must follow all health guidelines.  For more information about quarantine guidelines and protocols, see the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Symptom Decision Tree.
  • Schools will continue to provide notifications to students and families about positive cases and close contact exposures on campus.  This information will also continue to be reflected on our COVID-19 Dashboard
  • School nurses are a critical component of implementing IUSD's Health Guidelines and contact tracing, they will continue to support students, staff and families.   
  • Similar to the previous school year, our sites are implementing IUSD’s comprehensive Safety Plan, including mitigation and safety measures to prevent and limit the spread of COVID.
  • Please contact your school directly for more information and questions about your school site.

Hygiene and Healthy Habits

Hand Washing:

Washing hands prevents illnesses and the spread of infections to others. Hand-washing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose and mouth without even realizing it.
  • Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. 
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, such as handrails, table tops or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
  • Here is a three-minute video from the CDC about proper hand washing: https://youtu.be/eZw4Ga3jg3E

Recommendations and best practices:

  • Teach and reinforce washing hands, avoiding contact with one's eyes, nose and mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes among students and staff.
    • Teach students and remind staff to use tissue to wipe their nose and to cough/sneeze inside a tissue or their elbow.
    • Students and staff should wash their hands before and after eating; after coughing or sneezing; after being outside; and before and after using the restroom.
    • Students and staff should wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap, rubbing thoroughly after application, and use paper towels (or single-use cloth towels) to dry hands thoroughly.
    • Staff should model and practice hand-washing. For example, for lower grade levels, use bathroom time as an opportunity to reinforce healthy habits and monitor proper hand-washing.
    • Students and staff should use fragrance-free hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not feasible. Sanitizer must be rubbed into hands until completely dry. Note: frequent hand-washing is more effective than the use of hand sanitizers.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that is at least 60% ethyl alcohol-based can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).
  • Develop routines enabling students and staff to regularly wash their hands at staggered intervals. 

Stay home when you are sick:
Stay home from work and school when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading the illness to others.  Click here for IUSD’s Health Guidelines and resources.
 
Cover your mouth and nose:
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses are spread by coughing, sneezing or unclean hands.
 
Practice other good health habits:
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active (following all health guidelines), manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
 
For more information, visit the Orange County Health Care Agency’s website.

IUSD Health Guidelines and Self-Screenings

Visit IUSD’s Health Services page for information about IUSD’s Health Guidelines, daily home COVID screenings and other helpful information. 
 
IUSD follows the guidelines established by the Orange County Health Care Agency when screening students for potential COVID-19 symptoms and exposure.  Visit our daily home screening page for more information and for information about what you can do to help keep our schools safe and healthy.  As a reminder, never send sick students to school.

Parent COVID-19 Reporting instructions 

Parents/guardians need to complete the daily screening process for each student attending school in person. Visit the daily home screening page for more information.  If your student is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, please follow IUSD reporting instructions.  Do not send sick students to school. 
Thank you in advance for your partnership and for following these important guidelines and protocols to help keep our schools healthy and safe.

covid-19 testing

IUSD will continue to provide free COVID-19 testing for staff, who have had close contacts as defined by Cal/OSHA and the CDPH, on our campuses. Students, who have had close contact exposure on our campuses, as defined by the CDPH, are encouraged to take advantage of the free testing resources listed above or to receive COVID-19 testing through their health care provider.  Students, who are having difficulty accessing COVID-19 testing through these resources, may request free testing through IUSD's provider.   Please contact your school's nurse for more information.

CDPH guidance for when students should be tested can be found by clicking here and visiting sections 7-10.

If your student has COVID-19 or is a close contact, your school will provide you with notification and next steps per CDPH and Orange County Health Care Agency guidelines.  IUSD schools and staff will maintain confidentiality and protect student privacy, following all FERPA protocols, while helping to continue your student’s education.  Please continue to work through your school for all related questions and concerns.   

Click here for additional COVID-19 testing resources.  

covid-19 Vaccine resources

Click here for COVID-19 vaccine resources and information from the Orange County Health Care Agency and/or visit the City of Irvine's vaccine webpage for information about Irvine COVID-19 resources and vaccination sites.  

activities and athletics

Athletics are moving forward with scheduled practices and competitions in accordance with CDPH guidelines.  School-based assemblies, performances and events, along with off-site field trips, will take place following CDPH guidelines and IUSD safety protocols.  Contact your schools directly for information about athletics and activities on campus. 

volunteers and Visitors 

Similar to the previous school year, volunteers will not be allowed on IUSD campuses at this time.   Visitors, vendors and others with official school business must check in with the front office.  Regardless of vaccination status, all visitors must wear masks while indoors on IUSD campuses for any reason.  Per CDPH guidelines masks are optional outdoors.  

covid-19 notifications

Click here for information about IUSD’s notification procedures related to confirmed cases of COVID-19 and close contacts. 

covid-19 dashboard

IUSD is committed to providing accurate and transparent information regarding COVID-19 cases on our campuses and at District sites, while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of our students and staff.  Click here to view IUSD’s COVID-19 Dashboard.   

CDC Travel Guidelines 

Please continue to follow all CDC travel guidelines, which can be found by clicking here.