Berkeley Unified School District
K-12 COVID-19 Safety Plan
2022-2023 School Year
Updated August 15, 2022
August 3, 2022
Dear BUSD Students, Families, and Staff,
Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year! Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the District’s COVID-19 Safety Plan below. Be assured that while we will continue to work as a community to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our schools this year, we are also committed to returning to as many “pre-covid” practices as possible, including field trips, open houses and school events, parent/caregiver school volunteers, and on-campus parent/caregiver drop off and pick up. Families will receive more details about how this works at their student’s school from their principals.
BUSD will continue to follow the COVID-19 K-12 Guidance for Public Schools, which was issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on June 30, 2022. This guidance asks districts to manage COVID-19 in a “sustainable and adaptive manner.” We will review and respond to all updated guidance, as appropriate, throughout the school year. The District will continue to make critical COVID-19 decisions in collaboration with our Public Health partners at the City of Berkeley and follow Public Health Orders from the City of Berkeley and CDPH.
The new guidance to schools lists these COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies in order of priority.
- Staying Up-to-Date on Vaccinations
- Optimizing Indoor Air Quality
- Using Facemasks
- Getting Tested for COVID-19
- Maintaining Clean Hands
- Managing Individuals with Symptoms
- Reporting COVID-19 disease burden to local health authorities
- Managing Students Diagnosed with COVID-19
- Managing Students Exposed to COVID-19
- Managing COVID-19 Outbreaks
- Cleaning Facilities
The most significant change this year is the move to Over the Counter(OTC) testing, or what BUSD called “at-home testing” during the prior school year, as our primary method of testing in 2022-23. Also of note, the State is no longer recommending routine surveillance testing of all students and staff, unless in a high transmission period. During lower transmission periods, the State is recommending “Response Testing,” which is when districts prioritize testing for individuals with symptoms, exposures, those included in an outbreak, as well as other individuals who may be at a higher risk.
Thank you for your ongoing patience and kindness as we work together to keep our schools safe and our students learning in person during the fourth school year impacted by COVID-19. While I know we will face challenges, I’m confident that COVID-19 will not be central to our work this year. We have the tools, skills, and resources to mitigate its impact, strengthened by our high vaccination rates, district-wide participation in testing, and a strong adherence to our protocols to screen for symptoms and stay home when ill. It is this–our collective effort to keep our community safe and our students in their classrooms–that makes me so hopeful about the school year ahead of us!
Enikia Ford Morthel
KEY RISK MITIGATION PROTOCOLS: 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR
“COVID-19 is here to stay, but we have learned methods and gained tools to decrease its impact on our health and well-being. California’s schools can manage this disease in sustainable and adaptive manners.”
-California Department of Public Health, June 30, 2022
CDPH 2022-23 COVID-19 K-12 Guidance for Public Schools
August 3, 2022 COVID-19 update presented to the Board of Education
COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) for 2022-2023 School Year
CDC Tool To Check Transmission Tier By County
BUSD COVID-19 Protocols Webinar for Families
Families may view this recorded webinar to learn more about the district’s COVID-19 safety protocols. This will be especially helpful to families new to the district. The PDF from this webinar can be found here.
CDPH recommends that all eligible individuals get vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up-to-date with recommended boosters. All individuals ages 6 months and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. BUSD will continue to make COVID-19 vaccines available to our school community and work with the City of Berkeley to promote vaccine clinics.
Vaccines and boosters can also be obtained through healthcare providers and at pharmacies. Please visit the City of Berkeley COVID-19 vaccine webpage for information about vaccination opportunities.
Upcoming City of Berkeley and Carbon Health Vaccine Clinics at BUSD Schools
Please check back here regularly for new vaccination clinics at BUSD schools.
The City of Berkeley will be hosting vaccine clinics for the 6 month + age group at the clinic below. Walk-in appointments are welcomed, but we recommend using the link below to secure an appointment slot. Please bring any family members 6 months and older who are eligible for a Pfizer vaccine (1st, 2nd, Booster, or additional doses available). As a reminder, everyone receiving a FIRST or SECOND dose will receive a $25 gift card at the clinic below.
Anyone can get a vaccine for FREE at any of the City coordinated clinics regardless of insurance status. An instruction guide on how to book an appointment through the Carbon Health link is attached for additional support.
Every Tuesday in August: South Berkeley Clinic (6 months+)
- Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch Library, 1901 Russell St.
- Clinic hours: 11:00 a.m.– 6:00 p.m.
- Registration and appointment link
BUSD will continue to follow CDPH recommendations to improve indoor air quality to mitigate against COVID-19 in K-12 schools.
To increase the circulation of outdoor air, classroom windows will be opened when practicable. All classrooms are equipped with a MERV 17 HEPA Air Purification Unit. Additionally, filter upgrade work for poor air quality index levels has been completed on existing HVAC systems to include MERV 13 filtration. Air quality monitoring systems have been installed in all classrooms, common areas, and offices to monitor temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
The District will ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase fresh outdoor air circulation as much as possible in all classrooms and shared workspaces. All working spaces shall use any combination of mechanical ventilation, natural ventilation, and HEPA air purifiers, as the individual room characteristics dictate, to provide adequate air exchanges.
The District shall ensure all HVAC systems operate on the mode which delivers the most frequent air exchanges per hour, including disabling demand-controlled ventilation, and open outdoor air dampers to the maximum extent as indoor and outdoor conditions safely permit. Air filters shall be MERV-13 where systems can accommodate, and changed at the recommended intervals. Portables and/or other rooms without HVAC or means of natural ventilation shall be equipped with low noise HEPA air filters with a large enough capacity and flow rate for the square footage of the room.
During poor air quality days, per guidance from the City of Berkeley Public Health Department, and considering local COVID 19 epidemiologic factors, we will:
- Employ air filtration strategies that do not rely on outdoor air sources (e.g., close doors and windows and use portable air cleaners).
- Encourage and make available, as practicable, higher quality face masks (e.g., N95, KN95, or KF94 respirators)
- When practicable, use alternative spaces with better air quality as learning locations.
For more information, please review BUSD’s 2022-23 Air Quality Response Plan
Indoor masking will be strongly recommended at all BUSD schools and facilities. The District will have masks available for any student or staff seeking one, at all BUSD schools and facilities. BUSD will follow any CDPH or City of Berkeley Public Health masking order.
It is strongly recommended that students mask indoors for ten days after testing positive for COVID-19 or after a close contact with a case.
A Shift To Over The Counter (OTC) At Home Testing
This year, the State recommends the distribution of Over the Counter (OTC) antigen test kits to students and staff as the district’s primary testing strategy. Antigen tests provide results in 15-30 minutes. These tests would almost always be taken at home by students, with parent/caregiver help. Most tests are not approved for children under age 14 or 15 to self test. Staff may test at work or at home, at their discretion.
Response Testing During Low and Moderate Transmission Rates
This year, the State is not recommending districts offer routine weekly surveillance testing to all students and staff during low to moderate disease transmission levels. Surveillance testing is when larger populations at our schools, regardless of their exposure to a COVID-19 case or whether they have symptoms, are tested on a frequent basis.
Inventory levels are not expected to support weekly testing of all students and staff in schools across the country throughout the school year and Public Health is not recommending this. BUSD intends to continue making testing available to students and staff this year, as practicable and with the modifications below.
Proctored Testing Through January 2023
The State is not providing test technicians to BUSD and most other California school districts for 2022-23. As a result, BUSD has phased out most of our professional test technician operations and has shifted largely to the distribution of OTC tests at our schools and facilities. We expect to keep two test technicians with the district, currently planned to proctor tests through mid January. This will allow us to offer the following proctored testing services.
Berkeley Adult School Testing: Mondays – Fridays 10:30 am – 6:30 pm
Beginning the week of August 1, testing will be available for all Pre-K through 12 students and all BUSD staff at the back parking lot of Berkeley Adult School on Mondays-Fridays (excluding some school holidays) from 10:30 am – 6:30 pm. Please remember to enter at the Curtis St. entrance and note the new, later testing hours.
Outbreak and Other Special Testing
One deployable test technician will be available to respond to outbreaks, schools with high case rates, and other special testing needs.
OTC School Year Response Testing>
BUSD will work to make OTC (at-home) tests available at all schools and facilities during the school year, based on available inventory. During high case rates, our goal is to make OTC tests available to all students and staff. During moderate and low case rates, we will transition to “Response Testing,” prioritizing tests for students and staff with symptoms, close contacts, contact to outbreaks, and other high-risk students and staff.
Who Is Required to Test?
The only individuals required to test weekly at this time are unvaccinated staff members who fall under the Vaccine Verification Health Order. These staff members may test at the Berkeley Adult School, or test with an at-home test or at any other testing facility.
If you haven’t already done so, households are eligible to receive a third round of 8 additional at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests from the federal government. Order free tests. Free tests may also be available through your health care or insurance provider.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends that all students test for COVID-19 before returning to school after summer break. During the period leading up to the opening of school on August 15, each school site will make at-home tests available for pickup by students and staff. Please look for an email from your principal with more information.
BUSD staff will receive information about how they can pick up tests at their school or work site.
When to Test
Testing is at your discretion. Consider using two tests a few days apart leading up to the opening of school.
For example: Test Friday, August 12 and Sunday evening, August 14.
IMPORTANT: Any student or staff member testing positive should not come to school/work on August 15. Please upload the test result to Primary Health (see directions below) and report the positive to BUSD in this manner: .
Report Back-to-School Positive Test Result to BUSD
For all positive test results, please email BUSD’s Case Response Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the following information:
- First and last name of student/staff member
- Is the case a student or staff member?
- School/work site
- Date of positive test
- Date symptoms started
BUSD will provide you with isolation information and instructions about how and when the individual with COVID can return to school.
IMPORTANT: No one should attend school/work with COVID-19 symptoms unless symptoms are improving, the individual tests negative and has no fever without the use of medication for 24 hours. In some instances when a negative antigen test is received, including when the person who has symptoms was also exposed to a COVID-19 case, the individual with symptoms can elect to stay in isolation and test again in 24 hours.
Alternatively, a note from the doctor indicating the symptoms are not COVID-19 is acceptable.
Understanding the level of COVID in our school community helps the district prepare for testing and contact tracing operations. We rely on parents/caregivers and staff members to upload their OTC test results to Primary Health
Update Primary Health Registration
If you were registered in Primary Health during the 2021-22 school year, you should have received an email asking you to update your registration for the 2022-23 school year. If your registration has not been updated, Primary Health will continue to send registration reminders over the next few weeks.
- You can update your registration now by going to: my.primary.health/appointment_recoveries.
- If you are not registered for COVID-19 testing in Primary Health, you can register here.
Instructions for Uploading Test Results
Please click on the links below for specific instructions for logging your OTC test results in Primary Health.
Students and staff will be encouraged to follow important health and hygiene practices including to wash hands frequently and to use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Signage around schools will reinforce this messaging and teachers of young students will teach hand washing routines as the school year begins.
The district will ensure that hand sanitizer is ethyl alcohol-based and that children under age 9 only use hand sanitizer under adult supervision.
Every elementary school classroom was upgraded to include a touchless faucet. Every classroom in the District, as well as all common areas, have touchless hand sanitizer dispensers.
The following will be made available:
Every room with a sink shall be stocked with soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
Every classroom shall be provided hand sanitizer.
Non-classroom workspaces shall be provided with hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer stations shall be provided at each ingress and egress point.
Soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towel supplies will be actively monitored by all staff in any space where students or staff are working.
All persons with COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status or previous infection, should:
- Self-isolate, wear a well-fitting mask, and test as soon as possible to determine infection status. Students and staff can use any available testing method.
- For symptomatic persons who have tested positive within the previous 90 days, using an antigen test is preferred.
If the Test is Negative:
- You may return to BUSD with a negative test result, improving symptoms and after having been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine.
- Consider continuing self-isolation and retesting with an antigen or PCR test in 1-2 days if testing negative with an antigen test, particularly if tested during the first 1-2 days of symptoms.
BUSD’s Case Response Team will follow all guidance relative to reporting cases to our local health jurisdiction, the City of Berkeley Health Department.
Public Health Reporting Requirements
During an outbreak, BUSD will report case and close contact information to Public Health. We will also provide a daily (Monday – Friday) report of cases for each work site to City of Berkeley Public Health.
What is the definition of a close contact?
An individual who spent more than a cumulative total of 15 minutes (within a 24-hour time period) in a shared indoor airspace (e.g. classroom) with someone with COVID-19 during their infectious period.
Close Contacts Should Mask And Test
All close contacts should test for COVID-19 3-5 days after exposure and students should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days. Staff members must wear a mask for this 10-day period.
STUDENT CLOSE CONTACTS
Parent/caregiver notifications will be determined by case rates and transmission scenarios.
When we are experiencing a low number of cases: Parents/caregivers will receive a direct Close Contact Notification.
When we have identified an outbreak while experiencing a low number of cases: Parents/caregivers will receive a close contact outbreak notification. Employees exposed to a case as part of an outbreak must mask at work for ten days after the exposure.
When we are experiencing high case rates/a surge: Parents/caregivers will receive a weekly notification.
STAFF CLOSE CONTACTS
BUSD will follow Cal/OSHA notification requirements for staff who are exposed to COVID-19 cases at BUSD, including direction notification of exposures, case notifications to all sites, and outbreak notifications to the exposed staff members and all staff members at a facility.
When A Students Is Positive For COVID-19
Parents/caregivers may report their student’s case by filling out thsi BUSD Student COVID-19 Case Reporting Form.
When A Staff Member Is Positive For COVID-19
Staff may report their COVID-19 case by filling out the BUSD Staff COVID-19 Case Reporting Form.
Alternatively, parents/caregivers or staff who are unable to fill out a Case Reporting Form can report a COVID-19 case by sending an email to email@example.com. Please include the following in your email:
- Positive Individual’s Full Name
- School Site / Work Site
- Date Symptoms Started
- Date Tested
- Last Day At School/Work
All students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home through at least Day 5. Day zero is the day the case’s symptoms began or the day they took a COVID-19 test if they did not have symptoms. Students and staff positive for COVID-19 can return to school/work when:
- They test negative on our after Day 5. An antigen test is recommended. AND
- Their symptoms have improved. AND
- They have not had a fever in 24 hours and have not used fever-reducing medication.
Parents/caregivers will be asked to provide proof of a negative test result and provided with instructions about how to submit the test in the isolation letter they receive after reporting their student positive for COVID-19.
Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days. Staff must wear a mask for 10 days.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR BUSD STAFF
CPP Plan for Staff: The COVID-19 Prevention Program for Berkeley Unified School District 2022-2023 School Year can be found at this link.
Vaccination Health Order: Please note that the City of Berkeley Proof of Vaccination Order is still in effect. This requires all BUSD childcare staff to be fully vaccinated (including boosted).
Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Staff: California requires employers to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for most workers through September 30, 2022. This includes circumstances in which workers are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis, attending a vaccine appointment for themselves or for a family member, and/or if a worker’s child is isolating due to COVID-19 infection.