In the News



Berkeley public schools reinstate mask mandate through end of the academic year

By KCBS Radio – San Francisco, May 20, 2022

Berkeley is bringing back mask requirements for public school students through the end of the academic year. For more on what’s next, KCBS Radio news anchors Patti Reising and Jeff Bell spoke with Ana Vasudeo, managing director of Safely Opening Schools. Listen to it here!

COVID-19 testing in schools: Double-down or phase it out?

By Kara Arundel, K-12Dive, February 2, 2022

The logistical and financial burdens of school-managed testing are worth it if it keeps students learning in classrooms, some education stakeholders say. Dr. Lynn Silver and Ana Vasudeo of the Safely Opening Schools program are featured. Read more here.

Los Angeles Times Letter to Editor: Yes, California should require all K-12 students to be vaccinated

By Dr. Lynn Silver, Safely Opening Schools, January 28, 2022

COVID-19 is not harmless for kids, especially now. In January 2021, kids accounted for just 1.6% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations nationally; today, that number is 6%. The death of a 15-month-old from the virus was reported in L.A. County this week. More than 140,000 children have lost a caregiver to COVID-19. More than 6,400 have the longer-term inflammatory syndrome that can devastate vital organs. Read more here.


State senator’s bill would require all California students to be vaccinated against COVID

By Lin Taht, Los Angeles Daily News, January 24, 2022

State Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, announced Monday, Jan. 24, legislation he’s sponsoring that would prohibit families from being able to claim a personal belief exemption when it comes to California’s COVID-19 student vaccine requirement, a mandate that could take effect as early as this fall. Read more here. To watch the press conference, featuring Dr. Lynn Silver, SOS Director, click here.

Berkeley Schools Ramp Up Testing Amid Omicron Surge 

By Ally Markovich, Berkeleyside, January 7, 2022

Committed to keeping schools open, the Berkeley school district is ramping up testing and passed a booster-or-test policy for students and staff. Ana Vasudeo of the Public Health Institute’s Safely Opening Schools program is highlighted for her work in helping districts across the state, including BUSD, get access to at-home rapid tests. Read more here.

Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine is now Available for Kids. Will Schools Require It? 

By Alia Wong USA TODAY, November 5, 2021

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children ages 5 to 11, and shot clinics have started, leading to more questions about vaccine mandates in schools. Dr. Lynn Silver of PHI’s Safely Opening Schools program comments on the need for vaccination for safer schools. Read more here.

6 answers to parents’ COVID-19 questions as kids return to school

By Sujata Guptam, Science News, August 11, 2021

As schools across the country reopen this fall, parents have questions about COVID-19 mitigation efforts to keep schools safer. Dr. Lynn Silver of PHI’s Safely Opening Schools program comments on the role that on-site, rapid COVID testing can play in school reopening efforts. Read more here.

South Coast Schools Start COVID-19 Testing Pilot

By Claudia Brancart, Half Moon Bay Review, Mar 16, 2021 

PHI’s Safely Opening Schools pilot offers rapid, on-site COVID-19 testing to all teachers, staff and students in California schools, to help school districts most affected by the pandemic to safely reopen. In San Mateo County, La Honda-Pescadero Unified, Ravenswood and Redwood City school districts are participating. Read more here.

Así Funciona el Programa Piloto para Reabrir las Escuelas en el Condado de San Mateo

By Univision, March 4, 2021

In this interview for Univision, Dr. Lynn Silver of PHI’s Safely Opening Schools describes the pilot program at three Bay Area schools to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing, helping schools that have decided to reopen do so more safely (interview in Spanish). Read more here.

Some California Schools Are Testing Kids For the Coronavirus Twice a Week Before Letting Them Inside 

By Julia McEvoy, KQED, February 11, 2021

PHI’s Safely Opening Schools project, part of our Together Toward Health program, is a learning collaborative developing clear and easy-to-follow methods for on-site rapid COVID-19 screening, to give families, schools and teachers confidence that, when they are ready to reopen, they can do it more safely. This work, with support from The California Endowment, was featured by KQED and in other recent media reports. Read more here.

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Safely Opening Schools is a project of the Public Health Institute, (PHI) PHI has been a leader in public health and development for over 50 years. PHI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a vision of creating healthy communities where individuals reach their highest potential. Safely Opening Schools is part of PHIs Prevention Policy Group, which works on policy approaches involved in safely opening public schools after Covid-19.