Riverbank Unified School District resumed classes this past Monday, Jan. 10 after a three week winter break. Parents and staff were issued letters prior to the start of the second half of the school year and most recently the COVID Guidance as the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Public Health, and Stanislaus Public Health has recently updated the isolation and quarantine guidelines.
RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella noted that it is highly recommended that if a child or staff member is exhibiting any symptoms of illness including fever, cough, runny nose and congestion they should not attend school or work. They should stay home and consult their family physician.
All students and staff will be required to wear a mask on campus with the exception of when they are eating or drinking, which should occur outside or when alone.
The letter sent to parents and staff explained that they anticipate challenges with the Omicron variant which has spread through the community and is known to spread easily and quickly.
Facella said in the letter to the parents, “Know that if students are healthy, we want them in school learning, and we will continue to employ safety strategies. Together we will get through this, but it will be difficult at times due to the highly contagious nature of Omicron but rest assured that most people will only be mildly affected by it.”
In preparation for some of the challenges that may arise due to the pandemic, RUSD distributed at home COVID-19 Antigen self-tests that give results in minutes at different school sites this past Friday. There are two tests that come in each box. They have also hired substitutes to work within the district for the week so that they can go from site to site wherever they are needed.
“So far I think that is a good strategy to ensure we have coverage in classrooms,” stated Facella in regards to keeping substitutes on hand.
In the COVID Guidance notice it stated that if a person has tested positive for COVID-19 regardless if vaccinated or unvaccinated or has had previous infection or lack of symptoms they must isolate for at least five days. Isolation can end after day five if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a diagnostic specimen collected on day five or later tests negative. If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10. If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves for 24 hours without the use of medication. If symptoms, other than fever, are not resolving continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10. Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings.
“Those tested at school and found to be positive will be sent home for five days per the guidance and may return with a negative test on day six and resolving symptoms,” added Facella.
For people who are exposed to someone with COVID-19, unvaccinated or vaccinated and booster eligible but have not yet received the booster, the recommended action is to stay home for at least five days, after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Test on day five. Quarantine can end after day five if symptoms are not present and a diagnostic specimen collected on day five or later tests negative. If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after day 10.