Although local public schools started just a week ago, parents have already had children sent home/quarantined because of exposure to Covid.
At Canyon Elementary, a parent wrote that their child had been exposed to a student who tested positive, and their child needed to quarantine at home for eight days. They wondered, does day one of quarantine start as of the date of possible infection, or the date of discovery of a possible exposure? They never received an answer from LAUSD.
Circling the News asked the parent if their child could attend via Zoom, so that they wouldn’t miss so much instruction, particularly if they were not ill. The parent sent me to the district website, which states. “While a child is at home, they will continue their learning with the curriculum currently used by the class or teacher. Every effort will be made to ensure continuity of learning. Your child will stay in their home school and will not be placed into the City of Angels online program.” Apparently, the student would be given all the work, but it would be up to the parent to “teach.”
A sixth grader at Revere was instructed to quarantine after the first day of school, because the child had come into contact with someone who had tested positive. The child has since tested negative twice and should have been able to return on Wednesday, but the district’s Community Engagement team had not yet okayed the move.
This team is the only one authorized to clear students and staff to return to campus.
An August 25 Daily News story (“LAUSD Policy Draws Complaints” noted that about 6,500 students had to isolate or quarantine last week. An impacted Revere parent told the newspaper, “He’s not being taught,” and added that the district did not have a back-up plan for quarantined students. “Could they not foresee children would get sick?”
Zoom classes are no longer an option, though the state has mandated in-class learning. Some parents wanted to know why a camera couldn’t be set up in classrooms, so that students could at least follow the classes while at home.
On Nextdoor, a group of Palisades High School parents questioned PaliHi rules that were released on August 16. They wrote: “The rules state that VACCINATED students have to quarantine for eight days if they are exposed — even if they are asymptomatic. Unvaccinated students have to quarantine for 14 days,” without any instruction.
The PaliHi JV football team did not play last Friday because one player tested positive. All players, even those who were vaccinated and those testing negative, were quarantined for eight days.
One mom wrote, “I am extremely frustrated that my son is missing his first day of high school, even after testing negative and being fully vaccinated. Every teacher he contacted has said they can’t Zoom the class and that he will have to go to Schoology. I’m worried that this will be another lost year and our children are never going to catch up.”
At the PaliHi Board meeting on August 25, Vice Principal Mary Bush said that Covid Guidelines were constantly changing. The vaccination rate of the faculty is 90 percent, the classified staff is 78 percent and students are 60 percent.
Initially, students or employees who tested positive, whether they were vaccinated or not, were isolated at home for 10 days.
Now if a person is vaccinated, they need not quarantine, but should monitor his/her health. If a person is unvaccinated and exposed to a positive case, they must quarantine. They may test on Day 5 from the last day of contact, and if negative may return to school or work on Day 8.
Parents were told that it is a state mandate that “all instruction is in person.”
Parents were told that teachers couldn’t teach both Zoom and in-class because they were already working 10-hour days.
Parents clarified, saying they weren’t asking teachers to do both, but instead asking just to put a camera in the classroom, so that a kid at home could at least watch the lecture and the teacher/student classroom interaction.
PaliHi Director of Operations Don Parcel said that technically, it would be possible to have a camera in each classroom, but “We would have to work it out with the teachers.”
On the PaliHi Covid Dashboard, as of August 25, of the 300 staff and nearly 3,000 students, there are currently 10 active cases. (Visit: https://palihigh.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=486454&type=d)
Meanwhile, where does that leave Palisades, Canyon and Marquez Elementary Schools? According to the Daily News, “[LAUSD Board Member Nick] Melvoin also asked district staff during Tuesday’s school board meeting if anything is preventing quarantined students from being able to Zoom into a classroom now, if their teacher is willing to have students log on that way.”
According to the district’s chief academic officer, “No.” And added that LAUSD is in discussion with the state to provide clarity to the in-class mandate.