What We Know
In March 2020, OUSD ordered schools to close for in-person instruction because of COVID-19. Since that time, our knowledge about how COVID-19 is transmitted has grown quickly, and our county’s ability to respond to cases throughout the region has also expanded.
The information on this website is drawn from the Alameda County Office of Education’s COVID-19 School Guidance, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UCSF Infection Control, UCSF GME Grand Rounds, and advice from a team of physicians at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital who are supporting the district’s effort to plan for a safe reopening of schools.
Protecting our Students and Staff
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through droplet transmission. Transmission happens when respiratory droplets from speaking, yelling, coughing, or singing come in contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth). This means that to protect ourselves, we need to:
1. Reduce droplet transmission by:
a. requiring masks for all students and staff
b. physical distancing from each other
2. Continue to wash hands frequently and to keep surfaces clean by using soap and disinfectants
3. Ensure we are limiting the presence of COVID-19 on our campuses by:
a. opening campuses during periods of low community transmission, as defined by ACPHD
b. symptom screening on a daily basis for all students and staff
c. providing regular COVID-19 surveillance testing
What We Know About COVID-19, Children, and Reducing Risk
As our knowledge of COVID-19 has grown over time, we now know that:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and regular hand washing/sanitizing are the most important ways we can prevent transmission in adults and children.
- Preventing person-to-person transmission, via respiratory droplets, is more important than frequent cleaning and disinfection. COVID-19 mainly spreads from person-to-person via respiratory droplets.
- Exposure risk is a gradient, rather than an all-or-nothing condition. A rule of thumb is that a person must spend at least 15 minutes within six feet of someone with COVID-19 to be at risk of infection.
- Universal face coverings decrease risk. Being outside is lower risk than being inside. Other risk factors include whether the infected person was sneezing or coughing, or doing an activity that produced more respiratory droplets (not talking < quiet conversation < loud talking < singing).