Walden COVID Policy Update – Winter 2024

Last Updated: 1/13/24

Walden’s COVID policy is guided and informed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines. Walden makes a concerted effort to follow these guidelines as closely as possible.  

On January 9, 2024 the CDPH updated their covid guidelines, in recognition of the fact that, as they stated, “we are now at a different point in time with reduced impacts from COVID-19 compared to prior years, due to broad immunity from vaccination and/or natural infection, and readily available treatments for infected people.” CDPH states that the new guidance “is focused on protecting those most at risk for serious illness, while reducing social disruption that is disproportionate to recommendations for the prevention of other endemic respiratory viral infections.” Walden’s policy on testing, isolation, and masking has therefore been updated to reflect these recent changes in the CDPH guidelines. 

This document provides the following information:

  • An outline of the updated CDPH/Walden guidance 
  • Questions and answers relating to common scenarios
  • A table outlining the key differences between the previous and current guidelines

The updated CDPH guidance on testing can be read here.
The updated CDPH guidance on isolation and masking can be read here.

VIEW FULL COVID POLICY DOCUMENT HERE

Fall 2023 Covid Protocol

If your child is feeling unwell, or has symptoms of covid*, keep them home and test for covid. 

Walden no longer runs covid tests at school. We do have a limited supply of test kits, which you may take home. If your child comes to school with symptoms that cannot be explained by a different, non-contagious reason (allergies, for example) teachers will send student to the office, and the office will call home for you to pick up your child. If your child does have a chronic condition that resembles a covid symptom (chronic cough, allergies, for example) please note this in their emergency medical forms in SchoolCues.

*Runny nose, cough, fever, headache, shortness of breath, malaise, respiratory distress

Walden will return to school-wide masking when the CDC, CDPH, and/or ACPHD recommend universal masking in schools.  There are epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists actively monitoring the state of covid at the local, state, and national level who are in a better position to judge the value of universal masking in preventing the spread of covid, and we should follow their recommendations.

Covid Policy Update 9.30.22

The Collective has reached consensus for our COVID-19 policy: Walden will align with the CDPH guidelines for COVID protocols. We will no longer require mask wearing indoors. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask until symptoms have resolved or day 10 has passed. If the transmission rate in Alameda County should reach “High” Walden will follow recommendations to return to masking indoors. Please understand that students and teachers may still wear masks based on their personal choice and will be supported. Spare masks will still be available if anyone wishes to mask for any reason, but forgets to bring one, or if theirs are damaged at school.

To make all our teachers feel supported with their health and well being, we will strictly adhere to our “sick child” rules. Special note re: symptomatic people: If a teacher notices that a child is symptomatic, the child will be sent home. When returning to school, after an illness, parents must communicate with the child’s teachers if there are lingering symptoms. If your child has lingering symptoms, and is not contagious, they may return to school, but will need to mask. See below from the Parent Handbook.

Additionally, Walden will implement all the mitigation practices we can with respect to reducing contagious illnesses, including: more air filters in the rooms, open doors and windows, fans near windows, use of outdoor space, and frequent hand washing.

“Covid K-12 Guidance”

“Covid-19 by County”

“Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning”

From Parent Handbook:

HEALTH AND ILLNESS 

Sick children should not be at school. Please keep your child at home if they have a temperature above 99 degrees, have vomited in the past 24 hours, or are noticeably under the weather. Children may return when they have been fever- and symptom-free for 24 hours. 

Additionally, parents are responsible for checking their children for COVID symptoms every morning before coming to school. If symptoms exist, please keep your child home, and get a COVID test. A negative test is required to return to school. If a child has symptoms at school or they develop during the day, parents will be phoned and asked to pick up the student. We have rapid tests that we can administer at school, and if you have signed the form, we will do a rapid test and a PCR test, while we wait for you to pick up your child. 

Covid-19 Policies and Procedures 2022-23

MASKING

INDOOR: Indoor masking will be REQUIRED at Walden at this time while we come back together to form a cohort and study transmission trends in our community. The Collective is in the process of re-evaluating Walden’s masking policy and will immediately inform the community of any changes.

Please have your student(s) wear the mask with the best fit/filtration that they will tolerate (N95, KN95, KF94, etc.), and please bring extras for them to keep safely stored in their backpacks.

OUTDOOR: Masking outdoors is OPTIONAL.

Exceptions:

  • Masking will be required outdoors for 10 days after a COVID-19 exposure (where date of last exposure to positive individual is counted as Day 0)
  • Masking will be required outdoors for 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19 (where onset of symptoms or date of positive test is counted as Day 0)

POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 – STAY HOME 

If your student tests positive for COVID-19, please inform Walden IMMEDIATELY. You can call the office, email your child’s teacher, email a member of the COVID team, and/or fill out the absence form (link provided below in the REPORTING ABSENCES section). Your student should isolate at home for at least 5 days (Day 0 is the date of positive test for asymptomatic individuals or the date of onset of symptoms for symptomatic individuals). You will receive an isolation notification from the COVID Team with information about how to return to school.


SYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS

The currently recognized symptoms for COVID-19 are, as follows:

  •  Fever or chills 
  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  
  • Fatigue  
  • Muscle or Body Aches  
  • Headache 
  • New Loss of Taste or Smell 
  • Sore Throat 
  • Congestion or Runny nose 
  • Nausea or Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

Please do NOT send your student to school if they are newly exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above. Please test the student immediately and keep them home for no less than 24 hours to monitor symptoms and test again. If a student comes to campus exhibiting any of the above symptoms, or begins to exhibit these symptoms while at school, we will call you and ask you to return to campus to bring your student home. You will then be sent home with a test kit and asked to test immediately and then again no sooner than 24 hours later. A symptomatic individual will only be allowed to return to campus once they provide TWO negative test results (at least 24 hours apart), their symptoms have significantly improved, they have not vomited within the previous 24 hours, they have gone at least 24 hours without fever (without the assistance of medicine), OR they have a doctor’s note clearing them for return.

COVID-19 TESTING

This year we do not plan on conducting regular, asymptomatic student surveillance testing. This may change depending on transmission levels on campus or in the greater community. We will maintain a supply of on-campus testing materials to test staff, visitors, and symptomatic students, when necessary.

Pre-Entry COVID-19 Testing (Testing Prior to the First Day of School) – REQUIRED

We are REQUIRING pre-entry testing before your student will be allowed back to campus. The night before or the morning of the first day of school please test your student and provide us with a test result. Preferably, you will upload the test result to your student’s Primary.Health account. If you haven’t already done so, create an account for your student here. The alternative is to email a photo of your student’s test result to  or email it directly to a member of the COVID team. We would then ask that you follow the directions on the test kit and test your student again 1-2 days after the initial test (or no later than Monday, August 29, 2022).  

As the year progresses, there may be other times that we send a kit home with your student and ask that you test at home prior to returning to campus.

OTC/At-Home Test Kits

If you already have an OTC COVID-19 test kit available at home, you are welcome to use it for your pre-entry testing; we can then reimburse you with a kit from school. If you need access to an at-home test kit prior to the return of school, we have supplies at Walden and can arrange a time for you to come by campus and pick up a test kit.


HOUSEHOLD COVID-19 POSITIVE/CLOSE CONTACT – TEST NEGATIVE, REMAIN ASYMPTOMATIC, AND WEAR A MASK

If someone in the student’s household has tested positive, or if the student has otherwise been identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 individual, they can continue to come to school if they remain ASYMPTOMATIC and test NEGATIVE before coming on campus. The negative test result MUST be reported to the school PRIOR to the student’s entrance to campus. We will request additional testing (we can help provide testing supplies) of the student and REQUIRE that the child remain masked indoors and outdoors at school for 10 days from last exposure to the COVID positive individual. If at any time the student becomes symptomatic, they should remain at home and only return once they have complied with the guidelines for return to campus.


REPORTING ABSENCES

If your child will not be attending school for any reason, please inform Walden ON OR BEFORE the date of the absence. We encourage you to fill-out the absence form or call Walden to report the absence directly to the office.

Please direct any COVID-related inquiries or comments directly to a member of the Walden COVID Team.

Thank you for your continued partnership in keeping our children as safe and healthy as possible!