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California Department of Public Health Issues COVID-19 Guidance to K-12 Schools on Extracurricular Activities
On September 1, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued updated COVID-19 K-12 Guidance to provide recommendations and requirements for school-based extracurricular activities, and to provide further clarified modified quarantine recommendations.
A. Requirements for School-Based Extracurricular Activities
The CDPH made clear that all of its requirements and recommendations for K-12 schools also apply to all extracurricular activities that are operated or supervised by schools (which includes off campus activities), as well as all activities that occur on a school site, whether or not they occur during school hours, including, but not limited to, sports, band, chorus, and clubs.
Masks are required for all persons while playing all indoor sports, unless wearing a mask during play has been determined to pose a choking hazard by a well-recognized health authority, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that masks should not be worn by children while engaged in the following sports: competitive cheerleading (tumbling/stunting/flying), gymnastics (while on the different apparatuses), during wrestling contact, during swimming or diving.
For the playing of musical instruments that cannot be done with a face covering (e.g., wind instruments); or (2) when wearing a mask during play poses a choking hazard, at least one of the following options is required:
a. Conduct these activities outdoors;
b. Use modified face coverings and bell coverings when playing wind and brass instruments, and maintain 6 feet of physical distancing; or
c. Perform at least weekly screening testing with either PCR testing (1:1 or pooled PCR) or antigen testing of all individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated.
Schools must be in compliance with the required weekly testing no later than September 27, 2021.
B. Clarification of Modified Quarantine Recommendations
The CDPH updated guidance states the following regarding when a modified quarantine is permissible for students:
When both parties were wearing a mask in any school setting in which students are supervised by school staff (including indoor or outdoor school settings and school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems), unvaccinated students who are close contacts (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet) may undergo a modified quarantine as follows. They may continue to attend school for in-person instruction if they:
i. Are asymptomatic;
ii. Continue to appropriately mask, as required;
iii. Undergo at least twice weekly testing during quarantine period; and
iv. Continue to quarantine for all extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and activities within the community setting.
It is important to note that the modified quarantine is not applicable to unvaccinated employees, or to students that have close contact exposure to individuals with COVID-19 outside of the supervised school setting. The CDPH guidance clarifies that the school setting includes school buses, and buses operated by private schools.