As we return to Discovery Academy from the Winter Holiday, schools must be prepared to respond quickly when someone within our school family has been diagnosed with COVID-19. In these instances, case investigation and contact tracing serve as important strategies for reducing the risk of others coming into contact with the COVID-19 virus.
Process for responding to COVID-19 cases at Discovery Academy:
This step-by-step process is intended to serve as a guide for Discovery Academy’s response to a COVID-19 case in the school or at a school event.
This process starts when a school becomes aware of someone within the school community who has COVID-19. Schools may find out about people having COVID-19 in a number of ways, including through parent reports to the school, self-reports from students or staff, or screening testing conducted by the school. To ensure that schools know about COVID-19 cases, it is important to encourage staff, students, and their families to report to the school administration and staff anytime a student or other family members who have been in the school or at a school event test positive for COVID-19. Once a school is aware of a COVID-19 case within the school or at a school event, the school should take the following steps in response.
Step 1: Find out the date the person with COVID-19 started showing symptoms (if they have symptoms) or if they don’t have symptoms, the date the person tested positive for COVID-19 (use the date the test was collected). This will help with providing guidance for how long the person should isolate and who to identify as close contacts during contact tracing. If applicable, notify a school administrator and your child’s teacher. In addition, notify your local health department.
Step 2: Provide isolation guidance for the person who tested positive for COVID-19. The local hospital can provide you with the exact days that your child will need to quarantine. The current recommended length is 5 days from the date of positive test, if the person is asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (fever free for 24 hours) and follow-up with 5 days of wearing a mask when wearing a mask. If they have a fever, they should remain home until they are fever free without medication for at least 24 hours.
Step 3: Immediately identify close contacts of the person who has COVID-19. Consider close contacts in all settings within the school.
If the person with COVID-19 has symptoms, identify contacts from 2 days prior to the beginning of the person’s symptoms. If the person with COVID-19 does not have symptoms, identify contacts from the 2 days prior to their positive test result (use the date the test was collected). Contacts should be identified up until the last date the person with COVID-19 was in school or at a school event.
Step 4: Notify all close contacts of their “close contact” status.
For close contacts who are not fully vaccinated, these contacts should:
- Get tested immediately and quarantine immediately (stay at home and away from other people) for a period of 10 days from the last date of exposure unless they receive different instructions from a public health official.
- If they initially test negative, test again 5 days after the date of their last known exposure and continue to quarantine.
- Isolate immediately if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive and notify the school so that the school can conduct any necessary contact tracing.
In addition, fully vaccinated close contacts are not required to quarantine, but they should monitor for symptoms for 10 days. Fully vaccinated close contacts should:
- Get tested 5 days after the exposure. It is not necessary to get tested immediately when notified of exposure.
- Wear a mask indoors in public (including in school) for 10 days following their last exposure or until their test result is negative.
- Everyone should also wear a mask while at the school at all times, regardless of vaccination status or the level of community transmission.
- Monitor for symptoms for 10 days, and get tested and isolate immediately if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and has subsequently recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms does not need to quarantine.
Step 5: Notify the school community of the presence of COVID-19 within the school setting and that all people determined to be close contacts have been notified.
Step 6: For each person with COVID-19 and each close contact, document the earliest possible date for the person to return to school or school activities, and ensure that students do not rejoin in-person class participation until their isolation or quarantine period is over. Maintain communication with close contacts to document any changes from quarantine to isolation status if they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.
We appreciate your support and communication as we continue to ensure the overall health and safety of our school community. Should you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-580-9982.