Covid-19 Updates

This webpage houses Khan Lab School's community-wide communication updates and links to public health resources. This page will be updated regularly, as we continue to monitor the latest news and the situation evolves.

During the Omicron surge, the CDPH recommends a temporary suspension of exposure notices from January 14, 2022 through February 11, 2022.  KLS continues to collect reports of test positivity and is required to report such exposure events to the CDPH.  A test positivity summary may be found here.

September 12, 2022: Masking Update from KLS

Dear Khan Lab School Community

Today, I’m writing with an update on our COVID masking policy on both KLS campuses. Starting on Wednesday, September 14, masking is optional, indoors and outdoors. This is consistent with most public and private schools in our region at this time. We will share this change in masking policy with Upper School during Morning Meeting on September 12th and will be available to speak with students who have any questions or concerns. All families are encouraged to have a conversation with their students about their approach to masking and how it may differ from what others are doing.

Like us, most schools are also sharing with families that the California Department of Public Health continues to “strongly recommend” wearing a well-fitted mask indoors except when eating or sleeping.

Please read below for important details.

On August 12th this year, we shared our return to school COVID-19 Protocols. Since then, the CDC has moved Santa Clara County from an area of “high” community transmission levels to “low”. Additionally, the FDA has authorized a new round of boosters available this fall. Our county and school community vaccination rates are high, providing a strong layer of defense against COVID-19.

With your continued partnership in following state and county guidance to maintain the health and safety of our community, we support an individual’s choice whether or not to wear a mask at this time.

There will continue to be situations when masks are required.

  • A full 10 days after being identified as a close contact.

  • A full 10 days after testing positive.

  • If either campus has 5% of its population positive for COVID-19.

  • When on campus at Foothill College in accordance with their mask requirements

    High school students who attend Foothill are currently required to mask while on campus and riders of VTA buses are currently recommended but not required to mask.  
     

  • For all KLS campus visitors, when indoors, including parents, volunteers, and outside vendors. 

  • When being transported on buses for School-based field trips and extracurricular activities.

 As a community we take the health and well being of staff, students, and their families as a top priority and continue to follow these key COVID mitigation strategies:

  • Required COVID vaccinations and boosters for staff and students.

  • Recommending masking indoors.

  • Staying home if sick.

  • Taking over-the-counter (OTC) Rapid Antigen test at home when (1) symptomatic, (2) 3-5 days after exposure as a close contact, (3) before returning to campus after a school break, (4) before returning to campus after a positive test. Please upload test results with a picture to Primary.Health.

Reminders:

  • Contact health@khanlabschool.org if you have a positive test result.

  • Staff who are close contacts will not be required to quarantine but will be required to test after the exposure and to wear a mask around others for at least 10 days.

  • We will continue to observe and follow the guidance of Santa Clara County Health Department, California Department of Public Health, and the CDC. If warranted by Santa Clara County or other data, KLS reserves the right to return to more-restrictive on-campus protocols.

  • Please register or re-consent for the 22-23 school year on Primary.Health, using this link.  We use Primary.Health for test result reporting. It is our preferred test reporting system as it provides stronger security and is HIPAA compliant. 

  • At home test kits are available from the front desk at each campus.  You may arrange to pick up two tests from the front desk at either campus by emailing health@khanlabschool.org.

What Parents/Guardians/Students/Staff Can Do To Keep Our Schools Safe:

  • Get vaccinated and boosted

  • Wear a mask when “strongly recommended” or required to do so

  • Stay home when you are sick even if you “think” it’s not COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands

  • Get tested when symptoms present or exposed to Covid

  • Notify school if you test positive

If you have any questions, have trouble accessing Primary.Health, or wish to discuss your specific circumstances, please reach out to us at health@khanlabschool.org. These notices will continue to be archived on the khanlabschool.org COVID web page.  

Thank you again to our dedicated medical panel for their expertise and to all of you for your partnership in keeping our community healthy.

Kim

August 12, 2022 Back-to-School Update

Dear KLS Community

I hope that this message finds you well as we enter the last weeks before our new 2022-23 school year begins.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve over these past 2+ years, the California Department of Health (CDPH) and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) have also continued to update their guidance.

In consultation with our own medical panel, KLS will continue to follow the guidance and recommendations of the public health departments as we have throughout the pandemic.  

The following are the key COVID mitigation strategies we will continue to employ as we begin the 2022-23 school year.  (Note that we will continue to closely monitor the public health guidance and will update our strategies based on their recommendations).  

1) COVID Vaccination.  CDPH is strongly recommending COVID vaccination.  KLS will continue to require up-to-date vaccination (primary course + booster(s) when eligible) of all students and staff.  

 Please upload your record of vaccination to Primary.Health, the same platform we use to manage and administer at-school BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests. This registration link will allow you to re-consent/register and upload vaccinations and test results to Primary.Health.

2) Masks required indoors; Mask optional outdoors.  CDPH is strongly recommending it when community cases are high, which has been the case except for a short period in the spring.  In particular, the current BA.5 strain is highly contagious and masking indoors helps mitigate the spread of infection. KN95 style masks are not required at this time. Neck gaiters or other non-mask style face coverings, and masks with a valve are not permitted. Lunch will continue to be outside this year to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

3) Stay home if sick.  Do not come to school if you’re sick.  Regardless of if the illness is COVID, we will avoid spreading illnesses if we don’t bring it to school. 

Anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms at school will be tested via rapid antigen test and sent home if COVID positive.  

4) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Rapid Antigen symptomatic testing at home.  For the 22-23 school year, the CDPH has shifted their guidance on testing to OTC antigen testing. 

Early on in the pandemic PCR testing was more available (though drastically more costly).  However, in this current phase with the supply of OTC (at-home) tests now readily available, instead of focusing on PCR testing, the CDPH is supporting OTC antigen testing to reduce the resource burden on schools to run regular on-site PCR testing and to shorten the feedback loop for detecting contagious COVID on campus.  By having families test at home, we don't have to take time out of class, nor increase the period of time a potentially contagious individual is on campus. 

Please upload your OTC test results to Primary.Health, the same platform we use to manage and administer at-school BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests. Please see the instructions for reporting an at home OTC test to Primary.Health. 

5) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Rapid Antigen return-to-school testing at home.  After any significant time away from school (holidays, school breaks, travel, etc.), students and staff are expected to take an OTC rapid antigen test to verify that they are not COVID positive before returning to school.  

At this time, we will discontinue the on-campus PCR surveillance testing as well as the daily COVID health questionnaire for students and staff via PikMyKid.  

KLS will continue to do our best to acquire the OTC tests the CDC are providing thru the CDPH, of which we had ordered approximately 4000 to distribute to students and staff before the Summer Term.  If you do not have OTC tests available, you may arrange to pick up 2 tests from the front desk at either campus.  When the ordering window opens again, we will try to keep the supply coming in, though that supply is subject to CDC and CDPH limitations.

Of course, your health insurance should continue to pay for 8 OTC tests per individual per month, and the USPS has recently started delivering the 4th round of free OTC rapid antigen tests to each residential household.  Take advantage of these resources to stock up. 

Together, we will continue to successfully navigate this latest phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at health@khanlabschool.org.

Erin Peirce

March 10, 2022: COVID-19 Mask Update

After consulting with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Santa Clara County Public Health Department, and our own medical advisory panel, on Monday, March 14, 2022, Khan Lab School will move to mask-optional outdoors, but continue masking indoors for the time being.

As you're aware, the CDPH has recently updated their K-12 mask mandate from "required indoors" to "strongly recommended indoors" after March 11, 2022.  Santa Clara County has said that they will not issue different guidance and will direct schools to follow CDPH guidance.

Though the absolute case count remains nearly as high now as the summer surges of 2020 and 2021, the landscape has changed -- namely, our entire eligible community down to our youngest members have completed their primary vaccination course and many who are eligible have also brought themselves up-to-date with a booster.  As a result, the severe outcome and hospitalization rates are very low.

You'll recall that we chose to require masking while on campus for ease of enforcement, in alignment with most local independent schools.  "Mask when at school".  We then upgraded to N95/KN95/KF94 masks for the omicron surge.   

The time has come now where we collectively have to come to terms with living with COVID, whether it's entered the endemic phase in our area or not.  

KLS will continue a mindfully conservative approach and take a stepwise approach to removing layers of mitigation:

We will continue regular weekly on-site PCR surveillance testing as long as it is prudent and insurance continues to cover testing. Surveillance testing gives us the ability to detect infection to help prevent transmission. When insurance no longer covers PCR testing, we have a large supply of BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests on the shelf ready to go.

We will take masking in a step-wise manner.  Come Monday, March 14, 2022, we will move to mask-optional outdoors, but masking remains required indoors.  We will also revert to surgical and well-fitting cloth masks permissible, though it’s been shown in studies that respirators provide significantly better protection. We believe universal masking has been an important reason why we have had zero in-school transmissions. 

We will continue to monitor the situation and will adjust our mitigation measures as appropriate. As we observe the regional effects of mask-optional outdoors and indoors among similar schools, we will make a determination in the coming weeks as to when we can also safely move to mask-optional indoors.  Note that should the situation require, we may also need to reinstate universal masking for a time.

We will require a negative at-home rapid antigen test to return from Spring Break on April 11, 2022.  Since supply is no longer so constrained, families should plan ahead and get rapid antigen tests. Note that USPS.gov will now send a 2nd set of 4 tests to each residential address. Please plan to take a rapid antigen test on the morning of Monday, April 11, 2022 before returning to school. We will require you to turn in results, but expect that every individual will have taken a test to help protect our entire community.

It should be clearly stated that anyone who wishes to continue to mask is encouraged to do so.  In fact, anyone who has any cold or flu symptoms, even if determined not to be COVID, is strongly encouraged to be masked going forward to avoid spreading infection.

Below is a very descriptive graphic regarding the efficacy of various types of masks.  It’s been shown that “one-way masking” is rather effective.  

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We are grateful for our community that has worked together throughout the pandemic to avoid in-school transmissions. Our hope is that as we peel back layers of COVID mitigation that we are able to keep any cases and transmission to a minimum.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
COVID-19 Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

State of California:

Support for talking to children about COVID-19:

KLS links:

Additional resources: