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PUSD reports positive case; outlines mask requirements for back-to-school

Plumas Unified School District announced today that it has been notified of a positive COVID case associated with the Portola Junior Senior High School campus. The county’s public health department will be contact tracing and will notify any affected individuals.

Superintendent Terry Oestreich sent the following information to staff, students and families in the Portola and Quincy areas. The Greenville and Chester staffs and families weren’t included at this time. The Portola and Quincy schools are set to reopen Sept. 7; start dates for the other areas aren’t known yet.

From the Superintendent:

It has been a challenging several weeks with our local wildfires and increasing COVID cases in our county.  The good news is that we are looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for full time, in person instruction.  In order to do this in the safest way possible, we will follow guidance from California Department of Public Health  (CDPH) and Plumas County Public Health Agency (PCPHA) including layers of protection.  These layers include:

 

  • Frequent handwashing
  • Universal masking indoors and on school busses – masking outdoors not required
  • Encouraging vaccinations for those that can be
  • Weekly testing of unvaccinated staff and volunteers
  • Visitors will also be required to wear face coverings

 

While these layers of protection are not what we would do in a typical year, our highest priority is getting students on campus for the full educational experience, including athletics and extracurricular activities in accordance with all health and safety guidelines. We commit to working together collaboratively to keep students, staff and our communities safe, while opening our schools.

 

As a result of federal and state guidelines regarding indoor mask wearing, Plumas County Office of Education (PCOE) and Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) will adhere to universal mask wearing for students and staff.  The masking requirements are out of the jurisdiction of our local Governing Board.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics and the PCPHA support the current CDPH mask requirement which states, “K-12 students are required to mask indoors, with exemptions per CDPH face-mask guidance” and that “adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students”.

 

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases attributable to more contagious variants highlights the need for the use of facial coverings indoors.  Masks provide an extra layer of protection in reducing the transmission of the virus and preventing illness and hospitalization of students and staff.   Universal masking also reduces the frequency of required quarantine, further promoting the safe return to in person instruction.

 

With universal indoor masking requirements in place, minimum physical distancing is not required. Updated school health and safety guidance is being developed based on the June 9, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and July 12th, 28th, and August 2nd CDPH guidelines to ensure that all students have access to safe and full in-person instruction.

 

In addition, on August 11th the State Public Health Officer Order ruled that all public schools must verify vaccine status of all workers.  A process for gathering the data will be provided in the near future.

 

Lastly, we will continue to work collaboratively to prevent the spread of COVID-19, monitor public health guidance and update protocols as additional information becomes available.

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