New strain dries state resources


Not only has the surge in infections severely impacted students, they have also had large-scale effects on staff as well. On-campus staff shortages have become a large concern when returning to campus, but districts across California currently have the capacity to counter such drastic upheavals. Officials say that there is a reserve of 4,000 employees who do not normally work in classrooms, but are qualified to teach as substitutes.

To increase security among its students, Walnut Valley Unified School District encouraged students to get tested for the virus, regardless of their vaccination status. And to ensure student’s accessibility to such resources, the district began distributing free, at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits over the span of Winter Break up until January 15. WVUSD has also continued to hold vaccination clinics, offering free immunization against COVID-19 to students. These clinics are open on weekdays and tend to cycle locations day-to-day. 

Along with notifications regarding vaccination clinics, students may recall seeing emails concerning school-wide positive cases. But to increase efficiency, DBHS has opted to begin emailing students who share the same classroom with a positive case rather than continue with contact tracing.

Additionally, more rigid rules are being put in place to combat infections. These new regulations include testing immediately after notification of exposure and five days following exposure as well as it being strongly suggested to use a medical grade mask. Students who tested positive or reported symptoms will also not be allowed on campus without proof of a negative test and must undergo a two-week quarantine.

WVUSD will be continuing to implement the following rules: mandatory masks indoors, masks outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible and the minimization of large gatherings. It is also recommended to sanitize frequently and quality checks on air filtration will take place to guarantee an efficiency rating of at least 13.

“We want to ensure our parent community that students being on campus have more protection than when they are in the community at large because of the layered levels of COVID-19 safety measures at schools as directed by Public Health,” DBHS said via email.

In order to establish and enforce all safety protocols, the school has gone through the effort of assembling a compliance team, which includes a designated compliance officer who is capable of quickly reporting positive cases to the WVUSD Human Resources office for quick, up-to-date information. 

The district has also published twenty page appendixes specific to each school in the district outlining their plans for the 2021-2022 school year. The links are located on their website and also answer common questions regarding rules and regulations. According to the appendix, as of now WVUSD district has no plans to return students to distance learning in the near future and it will only be used as a last resort.