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: Based on guidance from their local health departments, each region has determined a masking policy in line with the needs of their area. Currently, all teammates, scholars, and visitors are required to wear a face covering/mask at all times in our Bay Area sites, while masks are recommended, and not required, in our Central Valley and Los Angeles sites. Mask must be worn above the nose to fully cover nose and mouth. This applies regardless of vaccination status.
- 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 97% 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 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?
Aspire will test all school staff (K-12) once per week, regardless of vaccination status. Testing requirements of scholars, like our masking policies, will vary slightly among our regions. However, all Aspire schools will require students to test negative for COVID-19 prior to the first day of school. Contact your school to learn more about accessing tests for this purpose, and your region’s specific policies on testing throughout the school year.
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?
Aspire’s quarantine and containment protocols come directly from the California Department of Public Health’s recommendations for schools, and can be found here. Please also view this CDC resource (resource in Spanish) to learn more information if your child is sick or showing symptoms.
Can my scholar return to school after he/she/they have traveled?
As of June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. However, it is recommended that you do not travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, or had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and is recommended to quarantine. Due to the increased travel and social interactions that often occur during school breaks, it is recommended that all staff and students get tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to school following major breaks (e.g., summer, winter, spring).
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 '22-23 school year?
For the ‘22-23 school year, no 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. This program and eligibility for it varies significantly across our schools and regions.
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.