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tv   SFUSD Return to School Webinar  SFGTV  September 5, 2021 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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>> welcome to the townhall on return to school. this townhall is hosted by the san francisco department of public health. this townhall will be in english. we're also hosting townhalls in spanish and cantonese this week. few housekeeping items. today's event is being recorded.
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today's event is being streamed live through sfgov tv on channel 78, youtube and facebook live. for audio and video we expect all participants to want a create at safe space. all parts will be muted and video disabled. to participate the q&a to select the q&a button at the bottom of the screen to enter your questions. >> welcome, i will be your moderator tonight. i am the covid-19 team lead for school as well as the acting liaison at the san francisco department of public health.
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we're glad to have you join us for a townhall specifically for sfusd families to provide information and answer questions about safely returning to school. a special thank you to superintendent vincent matthews and sfusd staff for joining us for q&a. they will help us answer questions from ucsf and d.t.h. this event is being streamed live through the sfgov tv youtube channel as well as sfgov tv facebook live. there's a maximum capacity in this meeting of 1000 people. if others trying to get in and not able to, please send them to the sfgov tv youtube channel or facebook live. we will send a recording of this event after it is over. please note, we will be only be talking about covid-19, the
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delta dental and d.p.h. health and safety protocols to school. we will not be able to discuss other issues which is school schedules or availability before and after care. the health department cannot answer these questions. it's best to ask sfusd and community partners instead. we will be taking audience questions through the q&a button as well as through the registration for this townhall. we will not be using the chat function. since we have more than 1000 people attending, we will do our best to answer as many questions as possible. please understand if we do not get to all of them in the next hour. we'll try to respond to as many questions as possible. we'll e-mail out materials and websites to all that have registered. now, i would first like to introduce you briefly to our panelists for the evening.
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please introduce yourself and what role do you have related to covid-19 and school. let's start with dr. daniel woolridge. >> good evening. nice to meet you. i'm a pediatrician at ucsf. i'm in partnership with the san francisco unified school district. to make sure that i'm educating everyone on the virus and on how we can reopen schools safely. i will now turn it over to the doctor. >> good evening. i'm the deputy director at the san francisco department of public health. san francisco department of public health overseeing the covid response for the entire city and schools essential to that response. we are part of the routine that
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is helping with school reopening. >> thank you. now, i will pull up the slides for dr. woolridge then we'll go into presentation on covid-19 and children both on the variant and the vaccine. >> thank you, so much. i'll be starting off with giving you some tips about covid-19 and children, the vaccines and the variants. this slide is meant to show that
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covid-19, since the beginning of this pandemic and currently now, it is still mostly a pandemic very much driven by adult behavior. i want to take a moment to look at this slide here on the left and we see in terms of the percentage of cases and the population, in those blue and gray lines, we can see that it's pretty much clustered around people who are starting at 21 years of age and increasing sharply to 30 to 39 years of and and it goes back down. you can see children are not representing the majority of the cases. they have not represented the majority of the cases throughout this pandemic. over here on the right, the deaths are very much happening to the aging population. most notably we're seeing uptick
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once you get to 50 years of age and then sharply go up as you get to 80 years of age. the variant, what has been in the news and what we have all been concerned about and what i'm pretty sure all of you came here to receive questions and answers about. first off, let's take a step back and say that all viruses including covid-19 changed to adapt to the environment around them. when they create a mutation that allows them to better or allow them to worse case for being able to adapt to the environment. they create what's called a variant. this represents mutations that
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lead to essentially evolution of the virus. the reason why variants happen so quickly, the virus is a lot shorter than a human does. multiple generations we can go through in one month even couple of weeks versus what will take a century or more for us humans to actually go through and become adapted to the environments around them. in terms of varieties that we know of, there are six known variants. vaccines that are available are effective against the known variant. in particular, the delta dental which originated in india. that currently is a dominant variant here in the united states. this first one is super important. the delta dental is more
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--delta variant is more contagious. it is more contagious but it is not more severe. the course of someone who does get covid-19 is not more severe than it was before. we are seeing more cases of hospitalizations from delta. this is largely being driven by the unvaccinated adults, children who are getting delta have mild or no symptoms. in the most serious cases hospitalizations are among unvaccinated adults and also among teenagers.
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because children they require -- therefore, we are the ones most responsible for entering into their environment. the current vaccines available for 12 and older works against the delta variant. the vaccine as it was intended to, prevents severe hospitalization and death due to covid-19. in the slide we saw earlier where deaths were on the low compared to the cases in specific age groups. lot of that is due to the fact there are vaccinated folks out there.
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the same is true of the delta variant that vaccinated adults by getting vaccinated provide that layer of protection. for children in the same environment as the delta variant. the f.d.a. may approve the vaccine for children under 12. f.d.a. asked pfizer and moderna for more clinical data from their trials about vaccine side effects in children. before we make it available, we know exactly on what to expect and we can therefore, plan appropriately. this last slide. the vaccine is one the biggest layer of protection to provide to our children. anyone who's eligible to get vaccinated, i encourage you to
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get vaccinated. that will protect children. if you're worried as a parent about the fact that your child may be at risk for getting it in schools -- data has shown us, particularly data from much larger school districts in the nation, that were open prior to the vaccine being made available to the public at large, that transmission between children and schools was incredibly low. it was low compared to community transmission, that was the highest driver of surges and adult to child transmission in the home. inhome transmission are where children are at risk. covid is not the most concerning thing in regards to school. however, as a pediatrician and a
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big proponent of vaccines, there are things that do definitely pass between children in schools that you can get your child vaccinated against and one of those things is the flu. earlier in the pandemic, we were seeing lot more child death due to the flu than to the coronavirus. that can pass from child to child. i encourage to get updated on vaccinations. also too, wear a mask indoors, cover your face and your nose. whole face has to be covered. if anyone who's wondered why we test people for covid in their nose it's because the virus can live there in large amounts. also to stay home when you're sick. if you're feeling out of sorts, don't be a hero. you will not be doing a hero if you go to work. you'll be a hero if you stay home and let someone know that
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you're feeling ill. before the pandemic it was sad for number of adults who wash their hands after using the bathroom. i hope because of this, people are lot more vested in hygiene. please wash your hands and sanitize. >> thank you. i'm now going to bring up the slides. we'll share those and we'll get
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started. >> thank you for that important presentation on the delta variant. i wanted to turn now to talk about our school guidance. the school guidance is really aimed at making sure that we can have a safer return to schools. we know that schools are safe place to learn, play and make friends. we want children to have that experience going into this next year. the risk of transmission is low in schools once safety measures are in place. last school year, only seven cases of in school transmission among 48,000 students and staff occurred.
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that's really incredible. it shows that there's good data and science how schools can reopen and reduce transmission. i will say that we are not expecting cases within schools to be zero as dr. woolridge said, community transmission and inhome transmission will still occur. the goal is that we have everything in place to prevent transmission from happening within schools. there have been no verified outbreaks in the san francisco school district last year or within camps and learning hubs this last summer. because of some of these measures. all of this is a risk benefit ratio. the risk having their child stay home versus covid. we in public health as well as medical world do believe school
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is the best place for children. this includes because of the academic learning learning curves, the physical and mental health benefits of schools and the social and emotional development that schools afford. what are some of these safer strategies that allow schools to return? the first one is vaccinations. most children are getting covid either in the community or at home. most likely from adults. people who are able to get vaccinated, should get vaccinated in order to protect children. vaccines are one of the most effective ways to decrease risk of covid-19. vaccinated adults and teenagers can help protect younger
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children who cannot get vaccinated. we know that vaccines are extremely effective, especially around severe outcomes and deaths. vaccinated people are ten times as likely to be hospitalized. really good news is that in san francisco, 77% of eligible san francisco population is fully vaccinated. including teenagers in middle and high school. we need you all to help us get to that other 23% to ensure that everybody who is not eligible for vaccine is protected. call (628)652-2700.
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the second mitigation measure is wearing face covering indoors. yesterday, san francisco required that all people who are in door public setting need to wear a face mask. that's because face masks are simple and effective way to prevent transmission from happening. as i mentioned, face masks prevent the spread of the virus. face masks are not required outdoors because outdoors allows for natural ventilation and makes the risk of the virus much lower. people who cannot wear a face
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mask can wear an alternative such as a face shield with a drape. schools should develop an implement protocols to enforce wearing face covering. as i mentioned, it is effective way to stop the disease. the next layer of safety that we've added is ventilation. as i mentioned, the more that you can ventilate, the more you will reduce risk to covid. being outdoors is much more less being indoors. schools should use outdoor spaces as much as possible. when indoors schools should open windows, improve their hvac systems. department of public health reviews ventilation systems at all school buildings including
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the san francisco unified school district before the officer gives approval to reopen. there are questions about what happens when there's a wildfire or poor air quality. at those times, schools should prioritize keeping healthy care quality indoors. schools can stay open and they can close windows and maximum other safety measures. there are going to be times when it will feel like school is back to normal. i want to highlight that. first, with our cleaning and disinfection, we know now that covid is less likely to be transmitted on surfaces. cleaning once daily is usually enough to stop the spread of covid through surfaces.
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disinfection is required in areas where there's a confirmed covid-19 case. with vaccines, given to those that are 12 and older, indoor masking requirements and other safety measures this will allow for no longer requiring physical distancing so there's no longer the requirement 6 feet physical distance. meals and snacks. as i mentioned, when outdoors is available to children, that should be used. eating outdoors when weather allows is encouraged.
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for those children unvaccinated, they should be spaced to allow for ability to take off their mask when they're eating. food service can resume. school should clean frequently touched services for meals. everyone should wash their hands before and after meals, before and after snacks. consider wearing masks between bites. washing hands and using hand sanitizer will help decrease
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spread. this is not true of just covid, lot of respiratory illnesses that happen within schools. students and staff should wash hands or use hand sanitizer often especially before and after eating and after using the bathroom. as we go into the fall season, we know that there will be more respiratory variouses -- viruses like the influenza and the common cold will become more prevalent. schools and parents and caregivers can teach and reinforce all of these practices. another very important point children should and adults should stay home when sick. if your child as any of the following symptoms, do not send them to school. this includes fevers and chills,
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cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches new lost or taste of smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea. what to do when someone is sick at school, staff who becomes sick at work must notify their supervisor and leave work. schools should send sick students home. students waiting to be picked up by their parents should go to a designated isolation area. for any of these, whether you're staff or student, contact your doctor and get tested as soon as possible. where you can get tested?
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there's greater access to testing through home test kits and healthcare providers. the department recommends testing for people with symptoms of covid even if they are vaccinated. there's emerging data that people who are vaccinated can still get mild cases of covid. to reduce spread, we do recommend if you have symptoms, even if you're vaccinated, you should get tested. we do not recommend testing for safe and -- staff or students without known symptoms or exposure to covid or staff or students who had covid in the last three months.
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we do have our website that has list of where people with get tested. san francisco department of public health remains involved supporting school reopening. we're working with sfusd to set up vaccine sites at schools in fall of 2021. we have dedicated trained staff to respond any possible case or exposure at schools. we have dedicated trained staff to conduct case investigation and contact tracing at school. we maintain school guidance and resources at the link below. that will be the end of my presentation. i'm happy to take any questions. >> thank you. we're moving into -- we'll spend
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the remainder of our time answering questions that were presubmitted. please submit your questions through the q&a box. we have volunteers gathering all of your questions tonight. we'll get to as many as them as we can. the first question is for superintendent matthews. will sfusd return to full time, five days a week in-person? >> good evening. the answer to that is yes. we are returning full-time, five days a week in-person. if you're struggling to -- just
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imagine december 2019, but with everyone wearing masks. we will be back in full-time five days a week. >> next question is for dr. woolridge. what is known about the long-term effect of children who contract covid-19? >> that is an excellent question. what we know from children or what's happening in children, when they get covid, most of them have mild or no symptoms. therefore, no debilitating morbidities. they can still spread the infection. what we know about those children who have had misd,
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pretty much that period of time, they should be monitored in the hospital in an icu care setting. personally having taken care some of these kids as they resolve, they actually do get quite better and we make sure that they have regular follow-up not only with their general pediatrician but with folks specialist that take care of organs most concerned about for any human being.
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when children do get better, majority of them, they go back to resuming what they were doing before. there will be a minority of children who may have really morbid conditions after they heal from covid. compared to adults, much more minimal. >> the next question related to vaccine requirements. this is for both doctor and superintendent matthew. will vaccines be required for students that are currently eligible to receive them? >> there's a couple of things that has to happen in order for vaccines to be required for schools. one it needs full authorization.
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that's because childhood vaccines are governed by the station legislature. they would need to take it up and they will take that up lightly after full f.d.a. approval for all children. >> superintendent matthews, we have a follow-up question. will vaccines be required for all staff at sfusd? >> currently, no. they are not required. we have strongly encouraged all our staff to get vaccinated. as you recall back in the spring, all of our lab partners came together to be asked to be move up the list. we encouraged all staff to get vaccinated. we are currently session --
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assessing exactly who is vaccinated. >> thank you superintendent. the next series of questions are related to what happens if there's a positive case at the school and i will start with the first one, which will be for myself. what happened if a student test positive? for all schools, if a student test positive, we ask the school to the notify us immediately. we also get notified through a registration system with a state health department when there's a positive case. we receive that in two ways. we work very carefully with the school and the school district identifying who is known close
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contact of that positive case. the recommendations for isolation, the recommendations for quarantine and what the school needs to do for next steps. this happen throughout last school year including leading with the school district on a regular basis for any cases that came up when they reopened in april. we're happy to say that again, there were only seven cases as a transmission within a school. most of them were from community transmission. we were able to minimize that through our prevention measures and also properly isolating and quarantining everybody. also, there were no verified outbreaks and there were no school closures related to covid-19 last year. we expect the same because we
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had been through several surges last year. we predicted the surge will be no different from the strategies that we will employ. the next question is either for superintendent matthews or chief smith. if there's a positive case in my child school, will i be notified? >> yes. you will be notified in two possible ways. if we identify as a student and identify first that they have tested positive. first thing we do is identify the close contact of that student. if your student was identified as a close contact, you will be identified immediately and to start quarantining immediately. you will get that call
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immediately during whatever time we found out at the school site. if your student was not identified as a close contact, we'll call a general advisory memo that let you know there was a person on the site that tested positive for covid-19. however, your student was not identified as close contact. you would get either of those two messages >> i believe the next question would also be for you. the next question is, will students attendance records be negatively affected if they have to quarantine or they are confirmed covid-19 case? >> if you have to quarantine as being identified as a close fact
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contact, that does not negatively affect your attendance. >> thank you. the next question is for dr. woolridge and possibly superintendent matthews. but the question is, will the typical fall flu result in school closures? >> flu season does happen every winter. one of the reasons flu season is bad in the wilt, it's because people is cloud in the air to stay warm. i eir do not expect that fulls
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will need to closed. it is super important to make sure your child is up to date on vaccinations. that they are able to get and you won't is to be concerned is it flu it's potential or covid experson. please vaccinate. >> i wanted to add on, i don't expect to -- >> i'll have our team work on
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that right away superintendent. i will just add on to not only encouraging everyone to consider flu vaccines for their children but the measures of indoor masking requirements and hand washing will help prevent -- the next question, there's a series of questions related to masking. -- what type of mask do the health department recommend? >> that's a great question. we can provide the link. the best thing about the masks they are well fitting.
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cloth mask -- >> thank you. the next question, if a child forgets to bring their mask, is there an opportunity to be given new one at school? >> absolutely. we will have face coverings on -- >> the next question on meals is related. there's a question about meals. ky request to have my child eat
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outdoors? >> we are going to have meals outdoors as much as possible that will be more of a school site request or process. schools will have to figure night owl in terms of supervision financial -- we have to make sure students are safe during meals. there will be definitely ways to think about how to have meals outdoors as much as possible. in the secondary school it's where opportunities would pick up meals in the of -- it will we
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will be looking maximize outdoor meals and students able to have various ways get the meal. >> we know that we need to be flexible. we're doing everything we can to grocery workers -- what's critically important, we have to keep students safe.
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they have to be supervised >> i will present to dr. bank become is it safe to eat in large areas and areaer areas of upon. >> next series of questions will be for the school district staff and they are related.
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the question of distance learning. i will leading them all together. what district learning option remains in place? can opportunities -- if they have a vulnerable family member or or they have to miss school because of quarantine. >> i will with the second farther of -- >> can students participate in distance learning for they have a vulnerable family member or if they have to miss school because they are in quarantine?
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tndc oif -- >> if they are in quarantine, the what we know that -- we want all students who can return to return.
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>> thank you. i believe you answered all of those related questions. the next question is what steps is the district taking to ensure that there are safe after school programs available to students? i actually will start to answer this but then i will call on chief smith. the san francisco department of public health also offers guidance for all programs for children and youth that are outside of school and this concludes child care, it includes after care, this
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includes many of the summer camps. many of the measures are the same. we require indoor masking. we require hand washing and improve ventilation system and please stay home when you are sick and encouraging vaccines as always. much of what we presented here tonight is to put the bull to all the after care program. >> we have three different types of after care program. we have early education program, we have our excel after school program and then we have school that have maybe private fee-based programs. all will follow the guidance and are required.
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most of the requirements are almost identical. we work very closely with either of the community agencies for the early ed program. those are your staff and for the other programs that have memorandum of understanding to have after school program. we work closely with those folks to ensure that if there's any need to contact trace or quarantine or isolating, we're communicating with everybody at that school site. >> thank you. the next set of questions are related travel. first question is will students be allowed to travel outside of the bay area during the school year? i will actually -- student bees and family., students and
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families are allowed to travel. we do not have a travel advisory or a travel quarantine in place. but it's required. we in san francisco and the state department of public health, prefer everyone to the travel guidance issued by the cdc both for domestic travel and international travel. you can find those links in our guidance and online. there's no restrictions on travel at this point in time. there are recommendations based on someone is fully vaccinated or not. >> if i can, i would like to add that if we think about epidemiologically where we're seeing uptick.
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during november lot of people trampled during thanksgiving. in december, january and during the summer, that is a peak time where people can travel -- rhode island housed well-known fourth of july parade. the results of that large outdoor settings, that pretty much you can best believe that there are people there badly shedding the various and other people leaving and taking it home with them. what i have recommended for folks who want to travel, i -- you should check can the
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vaccination rates. check the case numbers if you are planning to travel. i would follow the guidelines that have been mentioned. >> thank you dr. woolridge. next question, i believe chief miss the will muni be able to be run so children can take public transit to school? my understanding is that m.t.a. and muni are working on that. you might have more information. >> you are correct. muni, the school district hasn't run muni and sfmta. we understand that they are working on ensuring that day trappers or the buses that
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generally service our schools, are the ones that will return to regular service. masking is required on all muni buses. >> we have lots of questions. we're going to get to them as much as possible in the last eight minutes. we're getting lot of questions related to close contact. the question is, can students who get exposed to covid-19 and get no or mild symptoms still be able to attend school virtually? i believe that is for the superintendent or chief smith.
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>> as dr. matthew said, for students who are quarantining, the school will be providing instructional material for them during their quarantine period. there will not be a way that the students can join the online program that's limited for students with particular circumstances. we will not -- you're going to go into quarantine and switch to online program. >> thank you. the next question is for both dr. woolridge and dr. babba.
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why is cohorting and physical distancing no longer required with masks and vaccines? >> when this pandemic first started, we did not know as much about the virus as we currently do now. because of that, we did full-court press. particularly in school districts in the nation, who were in session before the vaccine was made available, we were doing all of these measures, all of these things because we did not know what worked. we were collecting data on what worked in terms of preventing transmission. the reason why cohorting and physical distancing is not being promoted as widely is because
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the things that work and work fast are the masking. eligible people getting vaccinated. very good hygiene, staying at home when you're sick and those things irrespective how much distance you provide are incredibly protective against transmitting the virus. we know what works after we've been climbing through all the data and cases. >> that's exactly right. we are using the best science and data to guide the school reopening guidance. there's been a lot learned with locally within the state, within the country and throughout the world on how best support schools to maintain their opening and ongoing education. as was mentioned, it's the thing
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that we touch and importantly staying home when sick, that makes a difference. >> my school is not listed as approve to reopen. when will this happen? we have been working very closely with the school district in reviewing all of the school application for reopen. we have a set of the last 12 middle and high schools. it is literally going through the ventilation review right now which we expect to happen by end of the week. assuming back to school pass the ventilation review, we will be issuing letters for approval by the end of the week. please check the dashboard by
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the end of this week or by the latest mondayer if the -- monday for the most up to date information. one last question. this is for the school district staff. what can parents and caregivers do? how can we prepare our children to return to school? i will start with you superintendent matthews. >> couple of things. thank you for that question. couple of things, first and foremost, if you are 12 and older, get vaccinated. if you have not gotten vaccinated, please get vaccinated. we still have 23% who we wanted at 100%. please, get vaccinated. i think the second thing is that we are definitely going to be
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spending the first few weeks of school around building community and building relationships. we know that some of you were students -- our students were able to return in the spring back in april. many older students have not been back on campus. we are going to be spending time building relationships and community. we know you're coming back into a place where you haven't been in a while. plus o when we think about the virus and think about covid, it was important that we spend time giving students the opportunity to just get to know the schools, get to know their staff and classmates. we care about them and we're doing we can we can to mayor
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sure the environment is a safe environment. >> i think you were spot on with your comments. getting vaccinated if you're eligible and really staying home when you're sick, will help keep people children. we're really excited to be able to open up our schools in less than two weeks. we can't wait to have your students back teaching and learning all of of this together again. we're looking forward to make it safe. >> i want to go back to what
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chief smith was saying, we one of the things i said back a year ago important. it's how important it is we take care of each other. tell your parents. any signs, stay home. >> thank you. sadly, that is the end of our time. we want to thank all our panel and people participating for making the time to be with us today. as well as the host partners, the department of public health,