Campus tightens precautions

In light of Diamond Bar High School’s reopening, students and teachers alike have many shared concerns about the way in which social distancing guidelines have been relaxed to accommodate the sizes of classrooms.

As this transition from online instruction to in-person instruction occurs, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health requested that all restrictions, especially those concerning the use of masks, whether in an indoor or outdoor setting, be tightened due to the significant spikes in COVID-19 cases.

However, even with these updated restrictions and indoor masking requirements, there have been five reported cases of COVID-19 on the DBHS campus.

“Since the beginning of school, approximately 13 [people] have been identified as close contacts,” COVID Compliance Officer Carrie Yee said. “Once we are notified of a positive case, we speak with the case to immediately start contact tracing, trying to determine who they might have been in close contact with during the infectious period.”

In the event of a positive case on campus, members of the school’s COVID Compliance Team which consists of District Nurse Terry Guest, Operations Manager Mike Bromberg, Assistant Principal Elizabeth Chang, Principal Reuben Jones and Yee, are notified immediately. The team reaches out to any students who have been in close contact with a student reported to have COVID.

“The term ‘close contact’ has a very specific definition. It would mean six feet or less for 15 minutes or more, cumulatively, over a 24 hour period,” Yee said. “Once we have identified those close contacts, we reach out to them specifically to let them know they have been identified as a close contact and give them further instructions and information that they need.”

In order to ease the process of contact tracing, most teachers have adopted permanent seating arrangements for their classes.

Because of these several factors, administrators are constantly making accommodations for all teachers who have been requesting plexiglass dividers, in addition to providing them with sound boxes and various microphone systems.

“We are working with the guidelines that we have in place today and making sure that we are compliant with them,” Yee said. “But we always know that at any minute, we can get a call or an email that notifies us that things have changed and that either the governor or the Department of Health has made changes that require us to change what we are doing and to change our protocols.”

Nevertheless, all DBHS staff send consistent updates to both students and parents, especially concerning any positive cases on campus.

“I do not see [a possible shutdown] in our immediate future,” Yee said. “We have done a pretty good job of being able to bring students back on campus successfully and making sure that everybody knows what our priorities are so we can keep everybody safe and healthy here on campus.”