WCCUSD initiates COVID-19 group tracing this week

Coronavirus causes WCCUSD to close all schools for three weeks
WCCUSD offices at 1108 Bissell Ave. in Richmond. (Photo credit: WCCUSD)

By Kathy Chouteau

West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst notified the school community Monday that, effective this week, the district is beginning a group tracing approach to contract tracing for school COVID-19 cases.

The superintendent said the move allows for “a quicker and broader response to cases identified in school settings” via prompt notification, testing and isolation protocols. It also enables schools to provide safe in-person instruction without conducting involved contact tracing procedures “to identify individuals within a specified radius of someone infected,” he said.

Here’s what the superintendent said the protocol will be when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19: 

  1. Positive students or staff members onsite shall be placed in isolation for five days. On day five, the student or staff can test using an antigen test. The infected person can return to school/work on day six if they are symptom-free and test negative. 
  2. Schools should notify students and staff who spent more than a cumulative total of 15 minutes (within a 24-hour time period) in a shared indoor airspace with someone with COVID-19 during their infectious period.
  3. Notification should occur to “groups” of exposed students (e.g., classmates, teammates, cohorts, etc.)
  4. Notifications shall be provided to all individuals considered exposed, including those who are vaccinated and/or recently infected. 
  5. Exposed students and staff, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status or prior infection, must get tested for COVID-19 with at least one antigen test obtained within five days after last exposure or they must quarantine for 10 days (testing must be verified and can be provided by student or staff medical provider). 
  6. Any FDA-approved, verified, antigen or PCR test is acceptable for evaluation of an individual’s COVID-19 status. For individuals who have been recently infected (within the past 90 days), antigen testing should be used.
  7. Exposed students and staff who participate in testing may continue to take part in all aspects of K-12 schooling, including sports and extracurricular activities, unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. 

The superintendent also announced that the District Office, Alvarado Adult School and Ohlone Elementary School testing centers will be closed as of Fri., Feb. 11 to accommodate testing support and resources at school sites related to the group tracing. Weekly testing will continue for students and staff at school sites and district offices.

Click here for the school testing schedule and more info about group tracing.