Update of BHUSD Covid Protocol by Allison Margolin

beverly hills hs

As a graduate of the district from Horace Mann (‘91) through to BHHS (‘95) and a lifelong resident, an attorney, a magazine publisher and parent of two school age children in the city of Beverly Hills I feel it my responsibility to keep the community informed as to what I think I know about BHUSD’s Covid-19 protocols. 

Now although my youngest is homeschooled his tutor’s child attends BHUSD. My daughter is in private school with the strictest of precautions.  I worry about how strict the district is compared to LAUSD and Culver City because of the political make-up of Beverly Hills. 

BHUSD does have mandatory testing though voluntary rapid testing sites are established at one site each day including the district office in the late afternoons. 

Might I suggest  a.m. testing as well and add another location. Making things easy on people is benevolent. If someone is symptomatic, waiting all day is imprudent – if the result is positive then it’s too late to seek medical attention.  The late afternoons should stay as is but do not work for everyone. It’s a high traffic hour and hard on families. Crisscrossing town is hard depending on where someone lives. Perhaps open up the afternoons to members of the community for neighborhood testing. School locations can and do become centers for community outreach. Helping others is helping ourselves.

My tutor knew nothing about testing and she is a parent in the district. So the communication is not getting out or not getting read. Perhaps there needs to be alternative outreach. The district, if not careful, can become quite a large superspreader into the city. They are the number two employer with over 600 employees and 3300 students.  

Kids can spread covid and get covid. There are risks involved in getting covid and there are risks involved in vaccines. Getting vaccinated at this time is a personal choice for adults and kids alike.  That may change. One day it may become mandatory except for medical exemption.  

People should not be shamed for a private choice for their body if not vaccinated but transparency is also a generous thing to do without making an adversary out of those who are vaccinated and vice versa.  This goes for adults and children. There should be respect on both sides and it should not become political.  Should it become mandatory it’s for public health and not for persecution of rights. The right to life is in the Declaration of Independence. Covid has the potential to kill. 

What may no longer be a personal choice is getting tested regularly or mandatorily and definitely wearing masks indoors and out. That is for the public good, as well.  I’m sorry to say, kids get up close and personal. Adults do as well. It’s a natural thing to do.  Play it safe. Outdoors should be masked if not alone.  Everyone goes home at night and that’s the naught factor. A simple mask keeps another’s breath out of one’s face. And that’s all it takes to get infected. 

My perspective is one that we can’t pretend this is normal times because it’s not. And because we are back in person with some protocols we can’t pretend that the situation is less than dire. We must be on guard because, most thought, six short months ago we would be out of the woods because of the vaccine – I was not one of those – history has proved otherwise with the Spanish Flu and now we have anti vaxxers and anti-maskers (if you read the news around the country) who are creating scenarios  that are prolonging an inevitable. But even then – the breakthrough cases prove the virus has an agenda all its own. Less is not more here – an overabundance of caution is the only way through and out. 

So with no further ado I will list what I think I know about the protocols in place in the district to give you some information to scale by:

Opening day was changed to virtual. It was supposed to be held at the Saban Theatre but the district felt that 600 plus people in that space was imprudent. So all staff were ordered to their school sites to zoom into the virtual ceremonies. My first thought was why didn’t they let them zoom in from home? They could take virtual attendance and those that had necessity to show up to their sites afterward could and others would not and so limit numbers coming and going.  Anytime people can limit exposure to others is prudent. It helps with contract tracing should someone get infected. 

There is an App called Parent Square  –  it allows students to complete a Health Screening each morning before school. It is a general questionnaire about how they’re feeling or if they have a fever. I do not know how it’s tracked or if the child can complete it once inside school if they forgot or are running late in the morning.  

This is the link to the BHUSD Covid Ready Together Plan: bhusd.org/readytogether/ 

The following information was also provided out to the community: 

“Where can I view the current Los Angeles County Department of Health (LACDPH) Health Order for schools?”


“Should I come to school if I am sick?”


“Do we need to wear masks inside?”

“Per LACDPH, masks indoors are required at all times for everyone (staff, students, visitors, etc) regardless of vaccination status.”

“Do we need to wear masks outside?”

“Per LACDPH, masks outdoors are optional at this time. Per LACDPH, masks indoors are required at all times for everyone regardless of vaccination status.” 

What are the close contact quarantine rules?

“To be a “close contact” you have been within 6 feet for more than 15 cumulative minutes (in 24 hours) of someone who has COVID-19.” 

“Asymptomatic Vaccinated = If you provide vaccination proof to your school administration you don’t need to quarantine but LACDPH recommends you test. “

“Not Vaccinated = Quarantine for 10 days from the day of last exposure, or a negative test on day 5 and you can return on day 7. “

“Asymptomatic & had COVID-19 in the last 90 days = If you provide proof of having had COVID-19 within the last 90 days you don’t need to quarantine but LACDPH recommends you test. “

“Will students/staff need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school?

If a student has traveled outside California 10 days prior to school starting they are required to get a BHUSD COVID-19 test (see below). Per LACDPH, if a student is out for quarantine due to a COVID-19 close contact exposure and they are unvaccinated they must test negative on day 5 to return early on day 7 rather than the full 10 day quarantine.” 

“What is the COVID-19 testing plan? “

“For symptomatic staff and students daily COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing is available at the following locations between 3 pm & 4 pm:”

“Monday – District Office

Tuesday – Horace Mann Elementary

Wednesday – Hawthorne Elementary

Thursday – BVMS

Friday – BHHS”

“What is the plan for inevitable travel before the start of school & on major holiday breaks?”

“If students traveled outside the State of California 10 days prior to August 13th, September 9th and November 29th without being fully vaccinated, please complete a BHUSD COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test a the District Office – 255 S Lasky Drive, Beverly Hills CA, 90212 at the following times:”

“August 12th – 11 am – 3 pm

September 9th – 7 am – 9 am

November 29th – 7 am – 9 am “

“What travel rules are there for students and staff?

We encourage all students and staff to observe the LACDPH Travel Advisory which recommends that you follow the CDC Guidance – click here. “

“After speaking with the LACDPH they reiterated that this is a recommendation but not a requirement. To ensure BHUSD is doing everything we can to create the safest possible learning environment we will be requiring the following:”

“If students traveled outside the State of California in the last 10 days without being fully vaccinated, please complete a BHUSD COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test between 3 pm & 4 pm at the following locations:”

“Monday – District Office

Tuesday – Horace Mann Elementary

Wednesday – Hawthorne Elementary

Thursday – BVMS

Friday – BHHS”

“Do staff/students/visitors need to do health screenings?

Yes. Per LACDPH, health screenings for everyone are recommended but not required at this time. In an effort to keep our schools as safe as possible, BHUSD will be continuing health screenings for all staff, students and visitors. Staff and students can complete this using ParentSquare and Visitors can visit bhusd.org/healthscreening/. To learn more about how to complete your screening visit bhusd.org/healthscreening/. “

“What happens if my child does not pass the health screening or exhibits symptoms throughout the school day?

They will need to test at one of the following locations between 3 pm & 4 pm:”

“Monday – District Office

Tuesday – Horace Mann Elementary

Wednesday – Hawthorne Elementary

Thursday – BVMS

Friday – BHHS”

“Pending their result and the discontinuation of symptoms they will be able to return to school in accordance with the LACDPH Exposure Management Plan.”  

“Will BHUSD still take student temperatures prior to admittance?

Yes, all students and visitors will be required to walk through the thermal scanners or have their temperature taken using the handheld infrared thermometer upon entering school. Staff are able to take their temperatures prior to coming to school using their district provided thermometers or one they have at home. “

“Will eating take place indoors?

To the greatest extent possible, eating will take place outdoors. Increased physical distance will be recommended per LACDPH. Elementary students will eat with their classroom groups.” 

“Can we use water fountains? 

Yes, per LACDPH water fountains have been reinstated, we encourage everyone to bring a water bottle from home if they are more comfortable.” 

I would not want my child putting their mouth on a water fountain. Seriously. And then there will be others filling up water bottles from the same fountain?? How does that work? Or is there a separate fill fountain?  

“Will PE be indoors? 

No, to the greatest extent possible PE will be outdoors, if it is inside masking will be required, if outdoors making is optional.” 

“Will each teacher have seating plans in their classroom?

Yes, due to the close contact rules (within 6ft for more than 15 cumulative minutes within 24 hours) we need to be able to quickly identify students who may be impacted and begin contract tracing.”

“Will cleaning procedures differ at all from last year? 

Per LACDPH COVID-19 routine cleaning is recommended at a frequency no less than once per day during periods of operation but may be done more frequently.” 

I would not be too sure about that. The upper grades change classes and classrooms.  They sit where others have sat. Teachers or aides cannot be expected to clean. That is not their job or their function. Nor should it be. 

“Will masks be required for sports/performances?”

“If indoors, yes.” 

“Are there extra best practices for performances?”

“Yes, per LACDPH click here

“Will COVID-19 vaccinations be required?”

“Not at this time, we will follow all LACDPH protocols.” 

Classes are large in the district: upwards of 20-30 students. Seating is within 6 feet. Kids find it difficult to keep their noses in their masks. Please send your child to school double masked and with extra masks. The KN95 masks are the best and cover the nose. Please send your child with extra water bottles so that they do not have to use the water fountains. And PLEASE encourage your child to NOT share food. Children have a habit of sharing their bags of chips – putting their hands in someone’s else’s bags of chips or peanuts or any loose snack. These are things that are not taught but must come from parents. Please send your child with a personal hand sanitizer. Or better yet, wet wipes.  When they get home please make sure the first thing they do is wash their hands.  You can be sure that may be the first time they have done so all day – especially the older ones. Wash their clothes regularly, school is not clean.  They are kids. We want them to stay healthy.  There is covis but there is also cold and flu. It can get confusing or mistaken. The last thing we don’t want to see happen is think covid is a cold. 

Covid-19 is no joke and no hoax so please take it seriously so that our children’s children will be reading about it only in the history books and be able to ask what it was like rather than still living with it as an ongoing disease. 

“‘While all of us are focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to forget about the world’s longest-running pandemic—cholera. Over the last 200 years the deadly diarrheal disease, which thrives in areas without safe water and sanitation, has killed millions of people. The current cholera pandemic—the world’s seventh—started in 1961, spreading from South Asia to Africa and the Americas. Every year, cholera outbreaks around the globe affect about 4 million people and lead to as many as 130,000 deaths.’”

“‘An affordable, effective, and safe oral cholera vaccine, however, is proving to be a game changer in the fight against this often-forgotten disease. Thanks in large part to recent cholera vaccination campaigns, the number of cholera cases decreased globally by 60 percent in 2018, according to the World Health Organization. Though 2019 saw an increase in cases, the total number of cholera deaths fell by 36 percent.’”

Thank you! 

Author: Sherri Margolin (Dark Matters) and Allison Margolin, ESQ.

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