HEALTH AND SAFETY
What guidelines is Aspire using to develop health and safety protocols?
As we welcome our scholars and staff back to school sites, we are following guidance from health experts at the California Department of Education, California Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. Here are the key things you need to know about what will be expected of you and your scholar:
- Mask Policy: As required by the California Department of Public Health, all teammates, scholars, and visitors are required to wear a face-covering/mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times while inside any Aspire facility, including Aspire schools and regional and home offices. Mask must be worn above the nose to fully cover nose and mouth. This applies regardless of vaccination status.
- Physical Distancing: Consistent with CDPH and CDC guidance, physical distancing is encouraged where practicable but no longer required indoors when scholars and staff are wearing masks, and no longer required outdoors. Physical distancing will only be required during meals indoors, when wearing masks is not possible.
- Daily Health Questionnaire: The Daily Health Questionnaire for scholars is no longer required when you arrive on campus. We strongly encourage families to continue this practice at home prior to coming to school. Scholars with symptoms consistent with COVID should stay home.
- Vaccination: Our organizational decisions have been and will continue to be guided by science and public health data. At the same time, we have new information from the CDC about the incredible effectiveness of vaccines at preventing the worst impacts of the virus. We are proud that 85% of Aspire staff are fully vaccinated, as we know from the CDC and other experts that vaccination is our best path forward to ending the pandemic. With 83% of all current cases occurring among unvaccinated individuals, we strongly encourage all adults and children 5 and older to be vaccinated. Visit here for COVID-19 vaccines facts and information and here for vaccination information.
Is anyone being required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine is a critical layer of protection for individuals and reduces transmission risk within our communities. All adults and kids 5 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated.
While Aspire highly encourages all teammates and scholars 5 and older to be vaccinated for COVID-19, we are not requiring vaccination at this time. Studies are showing that the COVID-19 vaccine provides lasting protection and is highly effective against COVID-19 illness and variants. Getting the vaccine offers almost 100% protection not only to yourself but also helps your family and community stay safe. Details from CDC and other experts have shown the following:
- More than 99% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated.
- For vaccinated individuals, the chances of being hospitalized (or worse) due to COVID are close to zero.
Will schools require regular, on-site COVID tests for scholars?
We support the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) order requiring all school staff (K-12) to either show proof of vaccination or be tested at least once per week. We will maintain our twice-weekly testing for teammates who are unable to/choose not to provide proof of vaccination, and as we better understand the implications of widespread testing for children, we will not require asymptomatic testing of our scholars.
At this time, we will make exceptions where testing of students is required by our authorizer, as is the case by LAUSD for schools operating on its campuses, and will continue to evaluate our options as more information becomes available. We may also ask students to be tested if there is a possibility of exposure. Given the current data and science on COVID-19, we believe this is the best approach to keep our teammates, scholars, and communities safe.
Can you tell me more about the policies regarding quarantining and containment?
Exposure and Containment, Contact-Tracing protocol: Aspire has a detailed exposure and containment process to support students and staff in the event of a possible or confirmed COVID case. You can view our Isolation & Quarantine Guidelines for Scholars overview here (Spanish Isolation & Quarantine Guidelines overview here). Please also view this CDC resource (resource in Spanish) to learn more information if your child is sick or showing symptoms.
Can I return to school after I (a scholar) have traveled?
- Domestic Travel: Scholars who are fully vaccinated and travel outside of CA but within the United States do not need to test or quarantine upon return to school on site. Vaccinated scholars must provide proof of vaccination before returning to campus. If you are not vaccinated and choose to travel domestically outside of CA, you must either (1) receive a negative COVID test 3–5 days after returning to CA and self-quarantine for 7 days before returning for in-person school, or (2) quarantine for 10 days without being tested.
- International Travel: For fully vaccinated individuals, the CDC requires a COVID test 3-5 days after return from international travel. Please submit your test results to your school. Vaccinated scholars must provide proof of vaccination before returning to campus to your principal. If you are not vaccinated and choose to travel internationally, you must either (1) receive a negative COVID test 3–5 days after returning to CA and self-quarantine for 7 days before returning for in-person school, or (2) quarantine for 10 days without being tested.
What else can we do to stay safe?
We should all continue following basic guidelines to help maintain our health and the safety of those around us. That includes:
- Using a well-fitted, high-quality mask worn above the nose that provides the best protection
- Washing hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water (minimum 20 seconds) or use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol).
- Avoiding touching your face, nose, eyes, and mouth.
- Covering cough and sneezes with a tissue, cloth, or elbow, and disinfect hands afterward.
Will we have Distance Learning for the '21-22 School Year?
Unlike the last academic year, when we had distance learning in place, this year all schools (including Aspire) are unable to offer a distance learning option. We are preparing for and are excited to welcome students back to campus on a full-time basis.
In the rare case that your student is unable to attend school in person due to personal health complications, or personal concern about in-person learning, please contact your school leader to discuss eligibility for an independent study program for your child. An Independent Study option will be made available through at least the first quarter of SY 21-22. This program will not be the same program that our families were familiar with during the Distance Learning of the last academic year and may look slightly different in each Aspire school.
The Independent Study Hub will serve as a home base for an array of resources for scholars and families that will help guide this brand-new learning experience.