AUSD COVID-19 FAQs and Resources
School facilities are closed in Albany due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but school remains in session. What this means is that students do not go to school for classes, but instead participate in distance learning. Assignments are provided to students either in paper packets, online, or through a hybrid of paper and online resources and students learn at home during the Shelter In Place statewide order.
As this situation evolves, we know that families have many questions. Below is some basic information. Please feel free to contact your teacher, principal, or district staff with additional questions. We will continue to update this resource as information becomes available.
What is the guidance on traveling?
There are still recommendations regarding travel in place. Please see the California Department of Public Health's guidelines here.
How long will schools be closed?
On March 31, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction directed districts to prepare for schools to remain closed through the rest of the year. In light of this guidance, the District is actively working on continuing distance learning through June 12, our last day of instruction.
What is the District’s plan for providing distance learning?
- All AUSD teachers are working remotely, creating and delivering distance learning curricula for their students and working with students individually and in groups, depending on the class, grade, and student. If you, or your child, have not been contacted by your child’s teacher(s), please reach out to the teacher(s) first and then your principal.
- Teachers are responding to emails, but please be aware that it may take more time than usual given the circumstances and additional workload of remote teaching.
- If your child needs help with their assignments or has questions about class expectations, their teacher is the best place to start.
What are expectations for student attendance and completion of schoolwork?
We know that many families are dealing with a tremendous amount of stress and struggling to balance work, health, family, and schoolwork.
- Is attendance being taken? While attendance is not required to be taken or reported to the state, teachers are monitoring student participation in order to identify students who may need individual engagement or additional support.
- What happens if my child cannot complete their schoolwork on time? If you need additional assistance, please reach out to your child’s teacher.
- Will students be graded on assignments and tests during the closure?
- At the elementary grades, students are encouraged to engage with the assignments teachers are providing in order to maintain routines, connection to school, and good study habits. Teachers may provide feedback as appropriate. Students will not be retained as a result of the school closures and will be promoted to the next grade in the 2020-2021 school year. Curriculum will be adjusted, when students return to school in the Fall, to account for the instructional time lost as a result of the school closures.
- At AMS, students will not receive letter grades for 4th quarter but will receive Pass/Fail grades.
- AHS staff and administration are working together to review guidance, from California Department, colleges and universities, in order to determine Spring semester grading policies. Students should complete all assignments as gradebooks are being updated regularly.
- What if my child is at risk of failing a class? If there are concerns about graduation status and grades, families should contact their child’s teacher. Given the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s direction that schools prepare to remain closed through the rest of the year, the District will explore offering additional credit recovery opportunities.
How will my student’s learning needs be supported?
- ELD resources: ELD specialists have been making contact with students and are providing ELD support through live Zoom sessions and/or sharing learning resources (via email). If you have not yet been in contact with your child’s ELD specialist, contact your school principal.
- Intervention Specialists: Intervention specialists have been making contact with students and providing support through live Zoom sessions and/or sharing learning resources (via email). If you have not yet been in contact with your child’s Intervention teacher, contact your school principal.
- Special Education: Special education teachers have begun reaching out to students. If you have not yet been in contact with your child’s special education teacher, you can expect to hear from them in the coming days. Additionally, all families of students receiving special education received this letter (linked here).
What resources are available for my student’s well-being?
- Counselors and mental health specialists are actively reaching out to students.
- Elementary Mental Health support providers are actively reaching out to students. Parents may email their child’s teacher to request a referral for mental health support.
- AMS: Counselors can be emailed directly and AMS Mental Health support is available via email on Monday,Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 3pm.
- AHS: Counselors can be emailed directly and AHS Mental Health support will be available via email Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 3pm
- MacGregor: Mental Health support is available via email on Monday,Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 3pm
Is the district still providing food for students? Are there other food resources available for AUSD families?
- AUSD will continue to provide free meals for any child 18 or under, regardless of place of residence. Meals can be picked up from 11am-1pm Monday-Friday, at Albany High School on 603 Key Route Boulevard.
*Beginning April 6: Meals will be served 11am-1pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Students may pick up multiple meals.
- The Berkeley Food Network Pantry (1925 Ninth St.) is open to Berkeley and Albany residents 10 am- 2 pm, Monday through Thursday; 5-7 p.m., Monday and Wednesday; and 10 am-noon, first and third Saturdays.
Is the District open during this period of school closure?
- All AUSD employees—teachers, principals, district staff, and non-teaching staff—are being paid throughout the closure.
- District office staff are working remotely; processes such as enrollment, financial management, etc. are ongoing.
- Building maintenance staff are continuing to work to clean and disinfect our facilities.
- Technology staff are working to ensure that students and teachers have the technology needed to continue distance learning.
- Our executive chef is preparing and serving meals daily at Albany High School.
- Construction work on the Ocean View campus is ongoing as an essential service exempted from shelter in place.
Will the school board and committees continue meeting?
- The school board will continue to meet virtually, using Zoom technology. Those meetings are open to the public. Dates and agendas are on the AUSD website.
- We will discuss the feasibility of the Budget Advisory Committee, Board Policy Committee, and LCAP Advisory Committee meetings virtually.
How can we get the technology support our students need for distance learning?
- School sites are reaching out to families regarding their need for technology and are distributing chromebooks as needed. If you need a chromebook, contact your child’s principal.
- There are several options for free internet access:
- Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone
- AT&T COVID-19 Commitment
- 2 months free Wifi from Comcast
- 2 meses de Wifi gratis de Comcast
- 3 months free Internet and Phone from Sonic
Support for Sheltering in Place
- How to Help Teens Shelter in Place
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
- How to Get Work Done While Caring for Kids
- How to Explain Coronavirus COVID-19 to a Child with Anxiety
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 | CDC
Public Health Resources
- Alameda County Public Health: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- California Public Health Department: Fact Page
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
City of Albany’s COVID-19 Responses and Resources
COVID-19 Symptoms, Exposures, and Case FAQ
AUSD is committed to following orders and guidelines issued by public health authorities, including the California Department of Public Health and the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD). These orders and guidelines can be confusing and have changed frequently during the pandemic in response to ever-changing public health conditions. The orders and guidance, however, are based on public health principles and scientific evidence. The purpose of these orders and guidelines is to prevent spread of COVID-19. This FAQ is designed to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about AUSD responses to COVID-19 symptoms, exposures, and cases as well as additional action steps for families.
SCHOOL RESPONSES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR RETURNING TO SCHOOL
Someone in my child’s class tested positive for COVID-19...what happens now?
If a member of a class cohort tests positive for COVID-19, that cohort has to quarantine for a 14-day period. If a teacher or other staff member regularly in contact with that cohort is fully vaccinated, the vaccinated teacher or staff does not need to quarantine. However, if the vaccinated teacher or staff develops symptoms, they will get tested. Each person in the class cohort is presumed to have been in close contact with the person who tested positive. The class will pivot to remote learning
What is a “close contact”?
A close contact is someone who spent a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period within 6 feet of a person who tested positive for COVID-19, while they were contagious. The person is considered a close contact whether or not masks were worn.
Someone in my child’s afterschool cohort tested positive for COVID-19. What happens now?
If a member of an afterschool cohort tests positive for COVID-19, unvaccinated children in that afterschool cohort will need to quarantine for 14 days unless it can be confirmed by after school staff that the child was NOT a close contact to the child who tested positive.
My child is in AM Kindergarten and a child in the PM Cohort with the same teacher has tested positive for COVID-19. Will my child need to quarantine for 14 days?
Teachers who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine and can continue to teach the PM Cohort. An AM Kindergarten child would not need to quarantine if they were not a close contact of the infected child in the PM Cohort; the vaccinated teacher is not an exposure risk.
What happens if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
First, please notify the school and keep your child home. Your student will then need to isolate for 10 days. You should consult with your healthcare provider. School staff will work with you to determine your student’s close contacts on campus ACPHD will contact you to identify close contacts outside of school.
For more information, please review ACPHD’s “If My Child Has a Positive Test for COVID-19” fact sheet.
What is the difference between Quarantine and Isolation?
QUARANTINE keeps someone who was exposed to COVID-19 (i.e., in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19) away from others. ISOLATION keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms away from others, even in their own home. See CDC’s infographic explaining the difference in the context of COVID-19 and what to do in each of the situations: COVID-19: Quarantine vs. Isolation
When can my child return to school after a positive test?
If your child 's test is positive, they can return to school or child care when ALL of the following are true:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms started. (The first day of symptoms is day 0. If the child never had symptoms, the day of the positive test is day 0).
- The child has had no fever for at least 24 hours, without the help of medicine
- The child's symptoms have improved.
See ACPHD’s guidance at English Child Returning to School COVID-19 FAQ
My child tested positive, but a retest was negative. Can they come back to school?
No. Subsequent testing does not override the need for positive cases to “isolate” for 10 days as determined by the initial testing. This is because the viral load may drop below detection levels, but your child may still be infectious. As such, the district needs to respond to the initial positive result.
If my child is in quarantine, do they need a test before they can return to school?
Students who are quarantining do not need to test to return. However, they need to quarantine for the full 14 days, even if they get a negative test during that time. That’s because they can develop symptoms or become infectious at any time during the incubation period for the COVID-19 virus. This may change in the future but this is the current guidance from ACPHD.
See the ACPHD’s guidance on returning to school at: English Child Returning to School COVID-19 FAQ
Why aren’t only “close contacts” in the cohort being asked to quarantine?
At this point, ACPHD guidelines state that most situations will require all students in a cohort to quarantine because they are part of one stable group. In a school environment, students often move about to different areas in the classroom and interact with each other throughout the day, especially the younger students.
What educational offerings will AUSD provide to children who are quarantining?
For individual quarantining students, AUSD will provide a remote learning option such as Independent Study; we are continuing to explore other remote options for quarantining students. AMS students can join their classes by Zoom. If an entire classroom cohort is quarantining due to a positive test among a student in the classroom, the class will pivot to remote learning.
ACTION STEPS FOR FAMILIES
I have been told that my child should quarantine. What does that mean?
Quarantine means that your child should stay home, away from others, as much as possible. QUARANTINE keeps someone who was exposed to COVID-19 (i.e., in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19) away from others. Public health agencies recommend a minimum of 10 days for quarantine. AUSD has chosen to extend this to 14 days for this school year. This is because current ACPHD guidelines indicate that 14 days of quarantine is the safest strategy, especially when it is not feasible to know and track all people who are considered high risk.
For more information about quarantining, please see the CDC’s COVID-19: Quarantine vs. Isolation fact sheet.
My child is quarantining due to an exposure. Now they are showing some potential symptoms, what should I do?
Your child should get tested. Even if your child does not develop symptoms, ACPHD recommends testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 between 4-10 days after a Close Contact.
For more information, please review ACPHD’s “If My Child Has Symptoms” fact sheet.
One of my child’s siblings has tested positive for COVID-19. What should we do?
All of your child’s siblings, family members, and close contacts will need to begin quarantining. The child who has tested positive begins a 10-day isolation period. However, the 14-day “clock” on the quarantine requirement for siblings, family members, and close contacts DOES NOT BEGIN until 1) the 10 day isolation period of the positive sibling has ended or 2) exposure of siblings or family members to the positive sibling has completely ended. For example, if siblings were sent to stay in a different home or are able to be completely separated from the positive child, they could begin their 14 day quarantine from the time they are separated from the positive child. If the siblings continue to be exposed to one another, the exposed sibling(s) would need to stay home for 24 total days under current guidelines.
If one of my children has been ordered to quarantine due to an exposure in their classroom, can my other children in the in-person learning program go to school?
Yes. Siblings and family members do not need to quarantine, as long as others in the household were also not in “close contact” with the person who tested positive (within 6 feet -- even masked -- for more than 15 minutes within a 24 hour period). If the student that is quarantined begins to develop symptoms, they would then start their own isolation period, and parents/guardians should contact the child’s healthcare provider. At that point, the rest of the household would need to quarantine until the symptomatic child has been tested. If the test is negative, the siblings and family members do not need to continue to quarantine and the child can return to school 24 hours after symptoms have resolved.
For more information, please review ACPHD’s “Home isolation and Quarantine Instructions for People with COVID-19 and Their Household or Close Contacts” fact sheets. The CDC’s “Households Living in Close Quarters” fact sheet is also helpful.
Does our whole family need to quarantine?
Not necessarily. Family members generally only need to isolate if they develop symptoms or if they are directed to quarantine by your healthcare provider. Any fully vaccinated family member does not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms, even if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Do we have to get tested when in quarantine?
You are not required to have your student tested while s/he is in quarantine, although ACPHD does recommend it. You can find testing locations offered by Alameda County here: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov/testing.aspx. Students who test negative will still need to stay home the entire quarantine period. This is because your child may become positive later. Testing in quarantine is just a tool to ensure that if they are positive that they begin isolation and their close contacts can then enter quarantine. That is why public health experts recommend that people get tested 4-10 days after exposure to a known positive case, or sooner if they develop symptoms.
See the ACPHD guidance on return to school after isolation or quarantine English Child Returning to School COVID-19 FAQ
How do we isolate or quarantine our child from their siblings within the same household?
We know this is difficult, especially for younger children. We recommend taking a look at ACPHD’s “Home isolation and Quarantine Instructions for People with COVID-19 and Their Household or Close Contacts” fact sheets. The CDC’s “Households Living in Close Quarters” fact sheet is also helpful. For any people in the home that are eligible for vaccination, this is another really good reason to get vaccinated - so you don’t have to quarantine if one of your children has to isolate due to COVID-19.
RESPONDING AS A COMMUNITY
My child’s class has pivoted to remote learning due to a positive case. I want to know which child tested positive so I can find out more about my child’s risk. Why can’t the school tell me?
AUSD staff is prohibited from disclosing private information about students to other students, parents, or families. If your child’s class is quarantining, all students in the cohort are presumed to be close contacts. Please talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have concerns and consider having your child tested for COVID-19.
Why is the process so confusing? Classrooms were closed and then reopened a day later; can’t it be more organized?
We understand your frustration. This is a learning process for all of us. Currently, we are erring on the side of caution, as this is new for our district. Sometimes, this will mean that we (temporarily) close classrooms and then reopen them quickly when we get additional information and guidance from health authorities that it is safe to do so. We expect these processes to become more streamlined over time.
Rumors are going around about which child has had a positive COVID-19 test and who they were exposed to. What should I do when I hear these rumors?
Please don’t engage in speculation about who has tested positive, who was exposed, or what other families are doing in terms of COVID-19 prevention. As a community, we are all doing our best to take care of our children, our families, and our larger community. We can take care of each other by avoiding speculation, gossip, or hurtful assumptions. We should also counsel our children that they should not seek to find out, tease or exclude affected students. Just as we didn’t discuss before which type of infection (upper respiratory, diarrheal, lice, etc.) children had, we shouldn’t do that now. When a child comes back to the classroom, they are able to interact with other children just as they did before their infection as they are no longer infectious after the 10 day isolation period.
I’m worried that the child who tested positive will still be infectious when the classroom reopens. Should I tell my child to stay away from them?
No. The ACPHD has clear guidance about when someone can return to the classroom after testing positive. See English Child Returning to School COVID-19 FAQ. AUSD follows these guidelines.
Contact Alexia Ritchie, Executive Director of School Services at: email@example.com
Last updated June 16, 2021
This document will be updated as official guidance is updated and as scientific evidence changes.