Archer leadership announces COVID-19 guidelines for start of school year

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Photo credit: Greta Irvine

Archer leadership announced the Health and Safety Protocols for this school year. The main changes in the protocols compared to last year are that masking is optional and there is no surveillance testing. 

By Audrey Chang, News Editor

As the 2022-2023 school year approaches, Archer leadership announced the Health and Safety Protocols for the upcoming year. These protocols differ from last year’s guidelines as there is no surveillance testing and masking is optional.

An email with information about the start of the school year was sent to the Archer community August 22 detailing the Health and Safety Protocols for returning to campus in September.

The protocols were developed over the summer through a series of calls with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health about guidance for kindergarten through 12th grade schools.

“The guidance that was given to us mid-August was that the K-12 guidance for this year will follow exactly what Los Angeles County does,” Associate Head of School for Finance and Operations Jane Davis said. “In other words, if you’re wearing a mask in the grocery store, you’ll have to wear a mask at school. In the past, the schools were separated, and protocols for COVID and mask-wearing and other things were different than the actual guidance for other types of businesses, and they have decided this year that those are going to mirror.”

Like last year, all eligible students are required to be fully vaccinated and up-to-date with their booster shots. Additionally, all students must take an antigen rapid test either the evening before or the morning of their first day on campus. Archer has suspended its surveillance testing program for the start of the school year, and, according to Davis, many other schools in Los Angeles have done the same.

I did a survey of peer schools in Los Angeles, and I’d say about 60% of the schools this year are not doing PCR testing,” Davis said. “We will obviously have rapid tests in the health office available for folks should they want to take a rapid test.” 

Archer’s masking protocols will be in accordance with the LADPH’s guidance. As of this month, the LADPH strongly recommends masking indoors, but it is not required. Archer will continue to review the Health and Safety Protocols throughout the year and make any necessary adjustments.

“Wearing a mask is a completely personal choice, and anybody that wants to wear a mask, even though we don’t have a mask mandate, we think that that is absolutely their option,” Davis said. “We will obviously do whatever it is that keeps our students safe — our students, our faculty, our families — [and] we’re going to make sure that we comply with all of the requirements and we have an open mind about what this year brings.”