Hello Toppers, Bruins and Honey Bears!
I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer weather this week as we prepare for the Labor Day Weekend. Our first 8 days of school have been uneventful and well-attended by students and teachers alike. The past few days have produced some clarity on defining close contact with a positive-testing individual, as well as quarantine rules.
A close contact is an individual not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
For students in the indoor classroom setting, contacts who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student do not require quarantine as long as both the and the contact were consistently masked. If they were not consistently masked, then close contacts are classroom students who were within 6 feet of the infected student for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
Option 1: Any students who have come in close contact with a positive testing individual will quarantine for 10 calendar days after their last exposure to the positive COVID-19 case. Date of last exposure is considered day 0. The individual may end quarantine after day 10 if no symptoms of COVID-19 develop during daily monitoring.
Option 2: Test to Stay Strategy may be used if schools test close contacts on days one, three, five, and seven from date of exposure with the approved rapid antigen test. The school nurse will conduct all testing of staff and students.
Close contacts are permitted to remain in the classroom as long as the results are negative.
Test to Stay is only applicable when both the COVID-19-confimed case and close contact were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks, regardless of vaccination status.
Test to Stay may be used for any indoor exposure, with the exception of household exposures, for both students and staff who are not fully vaccinated.
Students or staff who are not fully vaccinated and engaged in Test to Stay after an exposure may participate in extracurricular activities.
If the close contact is identified five days or more from the date of exposure, adjust testing accordingly, ideally on days five and seven after the last exposure.
When testing in the outlined cadence is not possible due to weekends and holidays, students and staff who are not fully vaccinated should be tested at the earliest possible opportunity.
At the conclusion of the Test to Stay modified quarantine period, the school should notify the local health department that the individual has successfully completed testing and remained negative.
Local health departments have the authority to assess high-risk exposures and order a traditional quarantine, without the option for Test to Stay.
If at any time the student tests positive or becomes symptomatic, they should be immediately isolated and sent home, and the local health department notified.
I know all of the bullets and different options can be confusing. In the event your student becomes a close contact, the school nurse will explain your options so you can make an appropriate decision for your student. Know that we are doing everything we can do to keep your students in school, safe and healthy while they receive quality instruction. Thank you for your trust and patience!.
Frederick A Lamkey, Mt. Pulaski Superintendent