By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
TUSD sees spike in COVID cases and exposure
school kids covid

Turlock Unified School District is managing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and individuals deemed close-contact. The last update revealed that nearly 1,500 students and staff are in some sort of COVID protocol.

According to the District's COVID-19 data dashboard, TUSD reported 1,491 students and staff either contracted the virus or was deemed close to someone who tested positive. Close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes, cumulative, starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

Elementary schools have the most people in protocol with 71 positive tests including 49 students and 22 staff members. An additional 500 are considered close contact. High schools weren’t far behind with 53 positive tests from 43 students and 10 staff members. They had 494 individuals deemed close contact. In total there were 153 positive tests reported from Jan. 3-7 with 1,338 being deemed close contact.

TUSD covid cases

TUSD is aiming to keep students in school and is not allowed to return to District-wide distance learning by California law.

“TUSD will continue to focus on in-person learning because it provides the best means of supporting students’ academic and social emotional needs,” said TUSD communication coordinator Marie Russell. “With the increase in COVID cases, the District will continue following best practices outlined in our TUSD COVID-19 Safety Plan to reduce the spread of infection and maintain student, family and staff safety.”

According to the District’s COVID-19 Safety Plan, there are multiple options available to families if their students have been identified as close contacts. If a student is vaccinated, no quarantine is required if a student is asymptomatic. Students who are unvaccinated but wear a mask may remain in school if they participate in the TUSD testing program, testing negative two times over 10 days. However, they cannot participate in extracurricular activities.

Unvaccinated and unmasked students must go home to quarantine, but can test after five days from exposure. As long as the student is asymptomatic and their test result is negative, they may discontinue their quarantine after day seven and return to school.

TUSD has not run into many issues finding substitute teachers to fill vacancies and is expanding its pool of certified teaching substitutes to minimize disruption.

“As a result of focusing on maintaining and expanding its certificated substitute pool for the 2021-2022 school year, the District has been able to fill a majority of its vacancies that are requiring certificated substitutes in the classroom during this time of need,” said Russell. “The District continues to monitor absences and has contingencies in place to support sites and student learning.”