As of last Friday, our schools were experiencing 14 students that were excluded from school who had tested positive for COVID, and 85 additional students were quarantined as close contacts. We have since had additional students that have tested positive and even more close contacts excluded from attending school. We are contact tracing and monitoring cases in cooperation with the Local Health Department. At this time, we have not determined that any spread of the virus is occurring in our schools. While exclusion from school for close contacts can't always be avoided, we want to minimize the number of students learning from home and the amount of time that they spend on quarantine.
The following protocols are now in effect for when students are identified as close contacts:
- The last date of exposure to an individual that has tested positive for COVID is considered Day "0" for the individual determined to be a close contact.
- The student and his/her parents will be notified of exclusion from school until 14 days have passed, and the close contact is not exhibiting any symptoms for 24 hours prior to returning on Day 15.
- We encourage all families to cooperate with the Local Health Department and to participate in symptom monitoring, as the Local Health Department can shorten the duration of the quarantine period for the student to return after ten days of monitoring with no symptoms developing. In this option, the Local Health Department will provide notice of a Release from Quarantine.
- The Local Health Department also approves of a close contact returning to school after seven days if the student has not developed symptoms and can submit a negative COVID test that was taken on Day "6" of the quarantine period or after. (This test can not be a home based test. It must be conducted by a healthcare provider, pharmacy, etc. A copy of the negative test result must be provided to the school office when the student returns on Day "8" of the quarantine period, or after.)
We are currently working with local officials to secure a supply of rapid tests that can be used to implement a "Test to Stay" option for students whose parents give permission to be tested on days 1, 3, 5, & 7. When implemented, this will provide an opportunity for close contacts to not miss any days of school during a quarantine period. We will send additional information when we have secured the supply of rapid tests, determined protocols for managing the information, and have selected dates, times and location(s) for this testing to take place.
Waterloo CUSD #5