An Important Message from Superintendent Holmes

Created: Mar 9, 2022 12:36 pm / Updated: May 25, 2022 02:19 pm

By SUSD Website

March 9, 2022

Dear Sunnyside Families & Employees —

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently updated their COVID-19 guidance to reflect current community transmission levels. The Pima County Health Department (PCHD) supports this guidance, which we are now using to guide our own COVID protocols. The Pima County community transmission level is currently: “Medium” and is predicted to move to “Low” in the upcoming weeks. Under the medium and low community transmission categories, both the CDC and PCHD no longer require the use of masking as a universal mitigation effort. The Sunnyside Unified School District has consistently followed the CDC and local public health data to guide our decisions, which are always in the best interest of our school community.

For this reason, the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board voted last night to make face coverings optional for all students, staff and visitors upon our return from Spring Break, effective March 21, 2022. Please be aware that if at any time our community transmission levels return to high, we will follow the CDCs guidance of requiring masks again.

Although students, staff and visitors are no longer required to wear a mask on district properties, the following CDC and Pima County Health Department measures will remain in place:

Positive Test

Currently, the PCHD website indicates that if a person tests positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status), they should isolate themselves for five days. If no symptoms are present, or symptoms are resolving after 5 days, the individual may leave their house. If the individual has a fever, they should continue to stay home until the fever resolves. Once they return to work/school, they must continue to wear a mask for five days.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing for school-based cases is recommended by PCHD. As such, SUSD will continue contact tracing as this remains an important public health measure within school environments to help identify potential outbreaks. These changes in reporting and contact tracing mean the school can still identify contacts, but no longer need to report them to PCHD.

Close Contact for Vaccinated/Unvaccinated Individuals (source: CDC)

  • Close contacts that are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic can remain at work/school and need to wear a mask for 10 days.
  • Those that have tested positive in the last 90 days are exempt from testing; however, they do need to wear a mask for 10 days.
  • Close contacts that are not fully vaccinated and symptomatic must quarantine for five days and must wear a mask for the following five days.
  • Close contacts that are not fully vaccinated and symptom-free, are eligible to participate in Test to Stay, but they must wear a mask for 10 days.

Pool Testing & Test to Stay

SUSD will continue to provide weekly pool testing through the end of the school year for those that wish to participate. The current Test to Stay program will also continue as it allows those who would otherwise need to quarantine to remain in school for in-person learning.

In addition, we recommend that you continue to follow the COVID-19 Mitigation Measures that the PCHD has outlined for all Community members in a recent Public Health Advisory:

  • Get vaccinated, and if already vaccinated get boosted.
  • Stay home when sick with a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Every person who is symptomatic or has had an exposure should test promptly for COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask that provides you with the best protection if:
    • You are symptomatic,
    • at least 65 years old, or
    • if you are a household contact of someone who is at-risk
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric, or into your sleeve or elbow (not into hands)
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer

As we prepare for a much anticipated Spring Break, I'm reminded of how two years ago at this time, news began to break about a world-wide pandemic. Not one of us could have predicted the events we would encounter. Now, with COVID cases on the decline, we are looking toward a future 'endemic,' or a low, stable case rate moving forward. I remain hopeful that our school community will continue to thrive and stay resilient, because if there is anything SUSD has proved, it is that we continue to be Sunnyside Strong.

Have a wonderful and relaxing Spring Break!


Steve Holmes, Superintendent

PDF Viewer