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LVUSD Mask Update

LVUSD Parents and Staff,  
 
The safety and success of our students, staff, and community remain our focus and priority.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the LA County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) provide health guidance and directives to all residents, businesses, and public agencies - they set the public health rules that we must follow.  Often, the LACDPH has issued guidance that is more stringent than guidance from the state.  We have followed Public Health directives throughout this pandemic to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community.  When guidance has been revised, we have responded quickly to implement the new protocols, and we will continue to do so. 
 
The Governor announced today that starting March 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals in California, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. After March 11, the state will no longer require masks in schools and child care facilities, but they will be strongly recommended. Masks will still be required for everyone in high transmission settings such as public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities.

The LA County Department of Public Health has not issued a revised directive regarding masks and can still impose additional requirements beyond the state guidance.  If LACDPH follows the state’s guidance, the Las Virgenes Unified School District will allow masks to be optional for all students and staff beginning on Monday, March 14, 2022.   We appreciate the fact that many of our staff and students will continue to choose to wear masks while indoors at school, and we will ensure that they feel free and safe to do so. It is important to remember that school districts DO NOT have the authority to change or alter public health orders.
 
We understand the need for our students and staff to connect and return to normalcy.  We have been very purposeful and proactive in reinstating important elements of the school experience for our students.  Below are some of the ways we are doing that:
  1. We have returned to conducting overnight field trips.  A few examples of recent overnight field trips include: ASB leadership retreats, academic and athletic competitions across the country, and middle school students traveling to Catalina, Lake Arrowhead, and Yosemite.  A.E. Wright Middle School recently returned from their trip to Catalina where we were the only California school in attendance.  
  2. Our students are performing and competing again inside the Performing Arts Education Centers and gyms in front of full audiences.   
  3. We were the first public school district in LA County to bring back indoor assemblies. 
  4. Our Outdoor Education program for all 5th-grade students began today and will continue for the next eight weeks. 
We are in contact with public health agencies almost daily.  We advocate for our students, staff, and schools, along with sharing our perspective regarding the impact of guidance.  LA County Supervisors oversee the LA County Department of Public Health.  If you are interested, you can reach out to them directly to share your perspective.
Their contact information can be found at this link: LA County Supervisors.  In addition you can also provide comments to LA County Public Health here:  CLICK HERE.
 
We appreciate your support as we continue to move safely towards normalcy. 

Dr. Dan Stepenosky
Superintendent of Schools
Las Virgenes Unified School District