2020-2021 Back to School FAQ (Google Document)
POLAND BULLDOGS COVID-19 FAQ’s
Do students have to wear masks to school?
Based on Governor DeWine’s latest order, students grade K - 12 will need to wear masks while in school and on buses.
Can a student wear a shield in place of a mask?
No. The Ohio Department of Health has stated that shields can NOT be used in place of a mask but can be used in CONJUNCTION with a mask for extra protection.
Will students be kept 6 feet apart at ALL times?
Based on the volume of students in school, efforts will be made to keep students as far apart as logistically possible BUT can’t guarantee students will be kept 6 feet apart at ALL times.
Will students be permitted to use his/her locker?
Students may have limited access to his/her locker and those limitations will be based on the student needs in each building. Staff is working to minimize the volume of materials students must travel with between classes.
Can a student carry a backpack in grades 5 - 12 “in between” the classes?
If students find the need to carry a backpack in between classes the backpack MUST be clear and see through due to various non-COVID safety precautions.
Can students share materials with other students?
Based on both CDC and Mahoning County Health recommendations, students should NOT share materials while in school. Staff is working diligently to eliminate situations where students would share materials (i.e. class sets of materials, etc.)
HOW TO HANDLE SYMPTOMS, CASES, AND CONTACT
Can a student in the TESTING protocol with NO symptoms come to school or practice?
Students should NOT come to school or any after school activity while in the COVID testing protocol. That family should inform the school nurse, trainer and coach of the situation.
What is the definition of a case?
Confirmed, positive person with coronavirus
What is the definition of a contact?
Someone who was exposed to a case at 6’ or less for 15 minutes or more.
How is quarantine handled for a contact?
Anyone deemed a direct close contact of a confirmed positive must quarantine for 14 days - even with a negative test. After 14 symptom free days, the contact may return to work or school.
Does a student who has already tested positive for COVID 19 and went through the necessary quarantining process need to quarantine again if deemed a close contact of another person?
If they were a confirmed positive case then they do NOT need to quarantine again. Right now, if they develop symptoms 3 months after their first infection they can be retested but not before…and only if they have symptoms again.
Should a student deemed a close contact be tested?
This is not recommended by the board of health BUT is a family decision.
If a student whose sibling was considered a contact to a confirmed case, is this sibling going to need to quarantine?
No. This sibling is considered twice removed (Contact of a Contact) from the positive case and is NOT required to quarantine.
Are asymptomatic people contagious?
Yes. They are active carriers and there is potential that they could develop symptoms. Direct contacts to the confirmed case need to quarantine for 14 days, regardless if they test or not. Secondary contacts do not need to quarantine. For example if a child is in contact with the sibling of the infected student, the sibling would need to quarantine, BUT the sibling’s contacts would not.
Do we have to keep students at home if they were sent home with a fever?
If the child has no other symptoms and is fever free for 24 hours, they may return to school.
If a student is sent home with a fever AND one or more symptoms, what is the protocol?
The rule is 24 hours fever free , 72 hours improving symptoms, 10 days from the onset of symptoms. If someone is severely compromised, they are asked to stay in isolation for 20 days from onset of symptoms.
For clarification on these questions: Here is the clinical case definition that we use for determining a case:
At least two of the following symptoms: fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new olfactory and taste disorder(s)
At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing (And this is a change in cough or severe cough) so if you have a child that has allergies or asthma and coughs anyway you would look for a worsening change in their cough.
CONFIRMED CASES IN DISTRICT
How should we handle students or staff if someone in their immediate family is confirmed?
That person would be considered a CLOSE CONTACT and identified through case contact tracing and be made to quarantine for 14 days. No further action would need to be taken at school-except for a plan for educating the child while out of school. Follow the flow chart, COVID Algorithms for Schools, developed by the Health Dept.
If there is a confirmed case and contact tracing shows several individuals meet the definition of contact (6' or less and 15 min or more - currently with or without a mask), what are your recommendations for the individuals who came in contact with the affected person?
Through contact tracing, the Health Dept. will identify close contacts of the confirmed case. They will work with the schools to see who would have met this criteria in the school setting. Whomever was identified will be expected to quarantine for 14 days. No further action would need to be taken at school-except for a plan for educating the child while out. Follow the flow chart, COVID Algorithms for Schools, developed by the Health Dept.
Will the Health Dept. notify the superintendent if an employee or student is positive for coronavirus?
The Health Dept. will need to identify a contact at each school building that the Health Dept. will be in contact with for cases and contacts. This can be the superintendent, school nurse, and/or the principal.
Once a case is confirmed, is the district responsible for contact tracing?
The Health Dept. will work with the school to perform contact tracing in the school. This will be a case by case basis because depending on the grade of the child and/or teacher it will determine the number of contacts.
How will districts submit contact information to the health department? What steps need to be taken after a child is sent home?
We are still getting clarification of this. If a child worsens, it is recommended they see a physician. If symptoms are not worse, we are still working to see what will happen. There will be many other illnesses also being spread by children, not just COVID. Disease healthline is monitored all the time. It is recommended to call the health line and leave a message if needed and someone will return the call. The first 4-6 weeks of school being open the health department will be busy with calls and they are ready.
If one student gets sick do we send home the siblings?
Yes, if a student is sent home with probable COVID symptoms, siblings should be sent home to assist with contact tracing. Once confirmed, siblings would be on 14 day quarantine. Covid tests are taking longer to get the results back. If they have probable COVID symptoms, they need to stay home until they are cleared by a physician.
Can school districts implement stricter requirements for quarantine than the DOH?
Yes, but at this time Poland Local Schools is following the recommendations of the Mahoning County Health Department.
If someone has a positive test with no fever and no symptoms, how long do they quarantine?
10 days with a positive test result regardless if they’re showing symptoms or not.
What are the quarantine/isolation restrictions by case or type of contact?
If you have a positive test, you must be fever free for 24 hours, show improved symptoms, and have 10 days since your onset date of symptoms.
If they are asymptomatic when they test positive and remain asymptomatic then they can return 10 days after their test date.
To assist in defining a CLOSE CONTACT - The contact tracing will go back 48 hours prior to symptom onset or 48 hours prior to test date (if asymptomatic) . The quarantine period is based on the last date of contact. So in the scenario below the last date of contact was the 3rdso if the kid is asymptomatic and is tested on the 7th then there would be no one that would need to quarantine because the last contact was 4 days prior.
Student A is last in school/practice on Aug. 3rd
Student B + C are seated near Student A on Aug. 3rd
Student A is tested on Aug. 7th and results in a positive case
Students B + C are NOT considered Close Contacts based on LAST contact being outside the 48 hour window.
How will the health department know who is positive so that contact tracing can occur? How long does it take for you to get notified of a positive case? What is the typical turn around from positive test to beginning contact tracing?
It’s going to be back and forth between the Health Dept. and the school. It could take up to a week. If the school contacts the Health Dept., the Health Dept. can contact the lab for results. Administrators can start contact tracing within the school if you know you have a positive case. Reporting from physicians and labs is not happening within 24 hours like it was supposed to. The Health Dept. will be notified of a positive case, but it may be delayed. Once the child’s legal guardian notifies the school, the Health Dept. can start the process to confirm and contact contacts of the positive case.
Please visit the CDC website for more information.