The San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) remains committed to slowing the spread of COVID-19 so schools can stay open for in-person teaching and learning.
“Not only do we want to provide in-person learning opportunities, in fact, we must,” said Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer Ginger Ontiveros. “The State of California does not permit schools to offer distance learning as their primary means of education this year. Therefore, our focus is on making sure students are as safe as possible in our classrooms.”
SBCUSD has learned a great deal about COVID-19 over the past year, working closely with both the California Department of Public Health and the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health to prepare for re-opening.
“One month into school, and we have continued to learn and tighten our protocols both for safety and communication,” Ontiveros said. “All schools statewide are grappling with the challenges of operating in this unprecedented environment, and many are reaching out to learn from us. Most of what we planned has worked well, and we appreciate the partnership we have with parents and staff, whose input continues to help make us a model for best practices.”
At its most recent meeting on September 7, the Board of Education received an update from District staff on the multiple layers of protection and notification that SBCUSD is using to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Safety measures include:
daily health assessments for students and staff
mandatory face covering for all while indoors and regular handwashing
regular sanitation for schools and administrative offices
HEPA air filters in every classroom
free, convenient on-campus COVID-19 testing for students and staff
a medically trained and supervised COVID-19 liaison at each school for quick evaluation and contact tracing
SBCUSD also shared its notification protocol with parents, including the three types of letters parents may receive about a COVID-19 case in schools. Most families who receive a letter will just be informed about a case that was present at school with no direct exposure for their child. Students should continue to attend school as the COVID-19 case they are notified about and anyone who was identified as having been exposed as a close contact have already been quarantined. SBCUSD systems move quickly to contain infections and keep students and staff safe.
In addition, to promote transparency and accountability, the District began publishing an online COVID-19 dashboard, available at http://www.sbcusd.com/covid19dashboard. This digital tool is updated daily with confirmed data on active cases in each of the District’s schools. The numbers on the dashboard may not be the same as the number of letters families receive because the dashboard numbers reflect completed investigations that could prove previously suspected cases were actually negative for COVID-19.
District officials recently held a virtual town hall meeting on September 9 to give families, employees, and other stakeholders an opportunity to receive information about school operations. A video of the town hall is available on the SBCUSD YouTube channel.