Lacking SVUSD Covid Protocols

Erin Nicholson, writer

Covid continues to be a looming concern and debate as in-person learning resumes. Parents, students, and faculty were eager but apprehensive to return to school, knowing that the risk of spreading and catching the virus would be harder to avoid. We are getting closer to the half of the semester, and the harsh reality is that the virus has already begun to affect everyone associated with the schools. 

Just before the 2021-2022 school year commenced for K-12 schools, the SVUSD released their new Covid Dashboard to track and report new cases from students and staff. The dashboard can be found on the SVUSD website.

The dashboard is updated every Monday to report on the previous week. From Aug. 23 – Sept. 19, there were between 2-4 student cases. This number is likely higher because many students may be asymptomatic or fail to report it. Although the number is low compared to other schools in the county and state, the number of exposed students will continue to rise as they are exposed.

The issue lies in students and staff who are fully vaccinated but are exposed to the virus. According to the Scenario-based COVID-19 Guidance from the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, as long as a student is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, they are not required to get tested or quarantine. There is too much leeway in the protocol as everyone should get tested if they are exposed. If the school district prepared rapid testing before the school year began, students wouldn’t have to miss school waiting for their results.

With businesses requiring vaccines, masks, and testing, SVUSD’s Covid protocols do not reach the same standard. For example, the girl & the fig restaurant in downtown Sonoma requires all employees to get tested if they are symptomatic or exposed to the virus, even if they are partially or fully vaccinated. 

These precautionary measures ensure the safety of the individual, coworkers, and guests, which maintains the fast-paced work environment and properly prevents the spread of Covid. Why the school district does not uphold the same standards is unknown, but it can lead to a rise in cases in the future.

Time will tell if the protocols are working in the school district, but early indication suggests that there are problems. With the Delta variant affecting people even if they are vaccinated,the district should strengthen their protocols for the safety of students and staff. Rapid testing should have been prepared before school started. 

In order to protect fellow students and staff, continue to follow the mask mandates and get tested if there is any chance of exposure.