L.A. County to Modify Health Officer Order on Youth Sports
During recent visits, STAT educators found that schools with significant safety enhancements have broad support within the school community for promoting/implementing masking guidance. They also have symptom pre-screening tools that allow for early detection of sick students, consistent COVID-19 screening testing programs, and signage campus-wide to remind staff and students about safety, masking, distancing, and sanitation.
Public Health teams plan to add additional support to schools to assist with contact tracing and appropriate quarantining of students and staff. Every case identified at a school needs to isolate at home away from others for 10 days from their symptom onset or test date. Their close contacts are identified and, if unvaccinated, they are required to quarantine. As a reminder, fully vaccinated students and staff at K-12 schools are not required to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic during the 14-day quarantine period. Public Health will be sending County staff to schools that identify large numbers of exposed students to help manage quarantining of students and staff, recognizing how stressful and disruptive quarantining is to a stable learning environment and to parents/caregivers. An outbreak is when three or more cases with probable transmission occur at schools or school activities. There are many instances at schools where there are more than three cases, but the cases are not linked to each other, and therefore not counted as an outbreak. It is worth noting that of the 17 school outbreaks that opened in August, 47% were associated with school sports. Team athletic activities have some features that make them particularly challenging settings in which to control transmission.
Most recently, Los Angeles County has modified the Health Officer Order to update youth sports testing requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated athletes, staff, coaches, and volunteers. The County continues to recommend weekly testing for unvaccinated participants in youth sports. The following applies to teams and sport activities based in Los Angeles County and relaxes some screening testing:
• Indoor Moderate or High Risk Sports for children of all ages, staff, coaches and volunteers. A weekly negative test result is required for all participants who are not fully vaccinated, including children who are playing, staff, coaches, and volunteers; weekly school testing fulfills this obligation.
• Outdoor Moderate or High Risk Sports for youth 12 and older, staff, coaches and volunteers. A weekly negative test result is required for all participants 12 and older who are not fully vaccinated, including children, staff, coaches, and volunteers; weekly school testing fulfills this obligation.
• No screening testing required for children under 12 playing Outdoor Sports; weekly school testing fulfills this recommendation.
• Fully vaccinated youth participating in outdoor sports are not required to test weekly unless there is a positive case among players, coaches and/or staff. If there is a positive case, all players, coaches, staff and volunteers (regardless of vaccination status) are required to have a weekly negative test result for two weeks from exposure to the case and must test negative prior to competitions.
These requirements may be modified based on the availability of and access to testing and will be reassessed when community transmission is no longer high. Teens 12 and over can receive Pfizer vaccine at any County and city sites without an appointment. Many school districts and individual schools are offering vaccinations over the next few weeks.
For more info call 1-833-540-0473 or visit the County’s website at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.