Dear IUSD Community,
Earlier this week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued updated guidance for all California K-12 schools. This guidance is a mandated public health directive, which all California K-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 a brief summary of the updated state guidelines.
California Department of Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools
- Physical Distancing – Physical distancing requirements have been modified for those wearing masks. CDPH guidelines state that in-person instruction can occur without physical distancing when universal masking is in place. This will enable students to return to a traditional academic model, which is positive news for learning and for our students, their families and staff, who want five-days per week of in-person instruction. Without this guidance, K-12 schools would only be able to implement hybrid schedules, similar to the last school year. In limited situations, where face coverings cannot be used for developmental or pedagogical reasons (assisting young children or for those with special needs), a face shield with a drape (per CDPH guidelines) can be used, as long as the individual maintains physical distance in accordance with CDPH guidelines. Click here for the complete CDPH guidance.
- 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 (when in the presence of students) 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.
As a reminder, IUSD is offering both a traditional in-person academic model (universal masking required by the CDPH, see above) and the IUSD Virtual Academy (IVA) to meet our families’ needs. For more information about IVA Middle and High school, click here and for IVA Elementary click here.
Keeping the IUSD Community Informed
IUSD will continue to collaborate with the Orange County Health Care Agency, the Orange County Department of Education, and other Orange County school districts to better understand how these guidelines will impact K-12 school and district operations for the 2021-22 school year. Once we are able to clarify the details of this new guidance, we will provide an update to our community.
Safety is our Priority
Please know that the safety of our students, staff and families is our priority. IUSD remains committed to providing a safe learning environment for our nearly 36,000 students and we will continue to utilize stringent cleaning and disinfection procedures, promote frequent hand washing, encourage staff and students who are ill to stay home, and other proven COVID-19 prevention strategies.
Thank You for Your Partnership
Although we have made great strides toward normalcy, we continue to operate in an evolving environment. Thank you for your partnership and support during this unprecedented time. IUSD and our schools will continue to work with students and families to help meet their needs. If you have IUSD specific questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions or concerns related to the mandated CDPH health directives, contact the CDPH directly.
Click here to read a joint statement from the Orange County Health Care Agency and the Orange County Department of Education regarding the CDPH guidance and universal masking requirements for Orange County K-12 schools.