COVID-19 Identification and Notification
As we return to in-person learning, we want to share the procedures we will use to notify parents and staff when there is a positive case of COVID-19 at school and how you can help keep our children, staff and school communities healthy.
How you can help
- Click here for a Parent Guide to Student Health to answer your questions about when to stay home and our notification process.
- Keep your student at home if they experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19, if they have had close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, or have been recently tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the test result. Call your school to report the reason for the absence.
- If your student tests positive for COVID-19, notify the school nurse immediately so that contact tracing can begin.
- Help your student understand the importance of following health and safety protocols at school. This includes correct mask-wearing, regular handwashing, staying in assigned seats and practicing physical distancing whenever possible.
- Activities of students and families in the community can significantly impact student health and the health of classmates and teachers. Please follow CDC guidance to encourage good hand hygiene and wash hands frequently, wear face coverings in public, maintain physical distance with those outside your household and monitor the health of your family daily.
- Please keep your contact information up to date so we can reach you in the event your student needs to go home due to illness or exposure to COVID-19. You can update your contact information in Infinite Campus here.
- Create a family emergency plan now for the unexpected times your student may need to stay home.
What to do if...
We have outlined some scenarios here to help you determine what to do if your child has had contact with a symptomatic person or positive case, as well as other scenarios.
What happens when there is a positive case at school?
Parents and staff will be immediately notified if they have been in contact with a positive case. When we return to school, we will begin sharing the number of cases and quarantines on our Community Health Dashboard which will be updated regularly.
It is likely that we will have staff and students who will be required to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
What process is used to determine who had close contact with a positive case?
The Parkway Health Services team has previous experience in contact tracing and a dedicated contact tracer on staff this year. In addition, every school has a nurse and at least one administrator who has been trained in contact tracing. When we are notified of a positive case within a school or building we will immediately begin the case investigation process. This includes:
- Determine when the individual was last at school, when their symptoms began, when they were tested for COVID-19 and when they received the positive test result.
- Students will have assigned seats in class, during lunch and on the bus in order to successfully identify contacts in the event of a positive case. Using class schedules and seating charts, we will identify other individuals this person may have come into contact with during their infectious period, including special classes, supports, bus transportation, extracurriculars and recess.
- We will create a list of “contacts” (in the same classroom or general vicinity) and “close contacts.” We will collaborate with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health to determine who is a close contact. Close contacts who were within six feet of a COVID-19 positive individual for more than 15 minutes (cumulative) are required to quarantine per the Department of Public Health.
- The school nurse or school administrator will contact the families and staff of all close contacts and inform them that they need to quarantine. The current requirement for close contacts is to quarantine for 14 days. At the time of notification, we will inform parents or staff of their tentative return date to school or work. Final guidance on the return date for students or staff who are in isolation or quarantine will come from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.
- Other contacts who may have been in the same classroom or general vicinity but are not considered a close contact will receive communication from a school nurse or administrator. They will be advised to monitor their student for possible symptoms but can continue sending their student to school.
- Parents of students and staff who are not considered contacts with a positive case will not be notified each time there is a case in the building. Parents and staff can follow the number of cases on our Community Health Dashboard which will be updated regularly.
- All building staff who are close contacts will be notified immediately.
- Due to health privacy laws, we cannot share the names of students or staff who have tested positive.
What does learning look like if my child is quarantined at home?
If a child is feeling well and quarantined at home, teachers will work with you to ensure your student can stay caught up and complete assignments at home. Teachers will continue to maintain Schoology pages with assignments and learning materials so we can support students who are quarantined. This will also help maintain learning in the event of a classroom, school or district closure due to illness in our schools.
If a child is ill for an extended period, the school principal and teacher(s) will work with parents to determine how their child can make up work when they are feeling well.
If an entire class is quarantined, will students move to distance learning online with their teacher during the quarantine?
Yes, if an entire elementary class was quarantined at the same time, the teacher and class would move to distance learning online together during the quarantine. If the teacher is ill, a sub would be provided. For middle school students, this would not be possible as students have multiple teachers/classrooms. In that case, teachers will work with you to ensure your student can stay caught up and complete assignments independently at home during the quarantine period.
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
While quarantines and isolation can be difficult and disruptive to students and families, they are a required health precaution from the CDC and St. Louis County Health Department and a positive strategy to prevent further spread of illness in our schools.
Isolation requires individuals to stay home and separates those with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. Isolation is usually at least 10 days as long as the last 24 hours of that period are fever-free without medication and symptoms are improving.
Quarantine also requires individuals to stay home and keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. Quarantine is usually 14 days from the last day of exposure to the person with the virus. In families, where it is hard to isolate from each other, a quarantine period can extend much longer.
For more information, please visit our Health and Safety website. Thank you for your support as we return to school and work together to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.
Dr. Robin Wallin
Director of Health Services