Trustees to consider masks for students and staff outdoors
Winters Joint Unified School District staff took recommendations from the county public health officer and Trustees and launched a COVID dashboard to update families and the community on the number of confirmed positive cases and instances of close contact exposures identified at Winters JUSD sites or buildings.
Oscar Garcia, Interim Student Services Coordinator and Winters Middle School Assistant Principal, officially launched the Winters JUSD COVID Dashboard to the community on Sept. 23. The dashboard can be found on the Winters JUSD website under the “COVID-19” category, and on the “COVID-19 Information” page.
This dashboard shows positive cases and close contacts as of Aug. 11 (the first day of school for the 2021-22 school year).
“The Winters JUSD COVID-19 Dashboard shows a year at a glance and will be updated as confirmed cases are reported. Please know the information shown and reported by Winters JUSD staff may differ slightly from Yolo County Public Health and California Department of Public Health records,” Garcia said in the statement.
Winters JUSD reported that for the month of September there were six positive cases between Winters High School (two), WMS (one), Shirley Rominger Intermediate School (two) and Winters State Preschool Center (one). Students who were identified as being in close contact totaled to 82 across the sites: WHS (29), WMS (26), Rominger (21) and the Winters Preschool (six).
In the month of September, four staff members tested positive (one at the District Office, two at WMS and one at Rominger), and three staff members were identified as being in close contact (two at WMS and one at Rominger).
As of Oct. 5, one student had tested positive at WHS for the month of October, and 14 students had been identified as being in close contact.
In total as of Aug. 11, there have been 16 students who have tested positive, 279 students who were identified as being in close contact; and seven staff members who have tested positive, and 16 staff members identified as being in close contact.
COVID-19 vaccine for students
On Oct. 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that once it receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the COVID-19 vaccine will be added to the list of shots children must receive in order to attend California schools in person (both private and public).
“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps and rubella,” he said. “There’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19.”
The regulation would apply first to those 12 and up, and would not be put into effect until the semester after the vaccine was approved for the age group. Newsom expects the vaccine for the age group to be approved in January, which would mean the vaccine requirement would begin for the 2022-23 school year.
Unlike with the rest of the authorized immunizations required for school, there would be a personal belief exemption which would allow children to continue attending school in person without being vaccinated against COVID-19. Eliminating the personal-belief exemption will require action by the state Legislature.
In a message to the community, Superintendent Diana Jiménez addressed Newsom’s announcement noting the COVID vaccination would be required for staff and students for the next school year.
“The details regarding ages of children to be vaccinated and other key pieces of information are not completely clear at this time, as the news was just announced and staff need some time to work with education colleagues to study the details,” Jiménez said.
At the upcoming school board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 7, Trustees will be hearing a proposal to require students and staff to wear masks while outdoors during in-person learning as an included safety layer to support modified quarantine eligibility for all. Trustees will also receive COVID-related updates regarding survey results from staff on vaccinations, a general COVID safety update for the school district, and will take action on proposed guidelines for outdoor and homecoming events.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m and can be attended in-person or virtually via a Zoom link on the Winters JUSD community portal at https://wintersjusd.communitybydiligent.com/portal/.