A Return to Face-to-Face Instruction: Answering Those “What if..?” Questions
Over the last few weeks, Monroe County School District has gradually introduced students back into our brick and mortar schools for face to-face instruction. We have, and will continue to, maintain strict adherence to CDC guidelines for social distancing, wearing of masks, frequent hand washing, and regular sanitizing of high touch surfaces. Our re-opening plan goes into great-detail regarding policies and procedures related to all aspects of school operations during COVID-19. However, we know that parents, staff, and students continue to have some “What happens if…?” and “What do I do if…?” questions. Our hope is that this document answers these questions and provides you with a clearer understanding of how our district and the local health department are working together to keep everyone safe.
There are three parts to this document. Part 1 contains basic information regarding guidelines for when to stay home, how long to quarantine and what to do if you or a household member is exposed. Part 2 is a series of “what if” scenarios with the appropriate response based on school district, CDC, and local health department procedures. Part 3 is a list of links and contacts to provide you additional guidance should you still have some lingering questions.
If you are sick:
∙ For illnesses/symptoms not similar to COVID-19, stay home until you are feeling better
∙ No diarrhea or vomiting (if the ONLY symptom) for at least 24 hours
∙ For symptoms or a positive test of COVID-19 follow the guidance below
If you have had recent close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive:
∙ Close contact is defined by the CDC as less than 6 feet apart for fifteen minutes or more
∙ Stay home for 14 days after last exposure to that person (regardless of symptoms)
∙ A negative test does not shorten your isolation period.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and receive a positive COVID-19 test result:
∙ Stay home and quarantine even from others in the same household
∙ You can be around others once all of the following criteria are met:
- It has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared
- You have been fever free for 24 hours with no use of fever reducing medication
- All other symptoms are improving and
- You have medical clearance from a provider
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and receive a negative COVID-19 test result:
∙ Quarantine until you have your test result and have medical clearance to be around others
If you have symptoms and are refusing a COVID-19 test or have not seen a medical provider:
∙ Quarantine for 14 days
Please keep the following in mind:
∙ Every person and situation is different and will be treated on a case-by-case basis.
∙ If a student has COVID-19, needs to be quarantined due to exposure, or meets criteria to be excluded, he/she will be coded in Focus with an M. This means the child should not attend school on those days. Please do not investigate or ask questions. Students are protected under HIPAA and their confidentiality will be respected.
∙ Monroe County School District does not determine quarantine lengths and return to school dates. This is determined by the local Department of Health and guidance from the CDC.
“WHAT IF” SCENARIOS
What if I have one child at home who is exposed or positive with COVID-19? Do I send their sibling(s) to school or do they stay home?
Follow the guidance of the health department. Each case should be addressed individually and carefully. If one child is positive, the entire household should quarantine unless directed differently. If in doubt, remain home until advised otherwise.
What if my child’s teacher or a student in my child’s class tests positive for COVID-19?
The local health department will conduct contact tracing and directly notify anyone who could have been exposed. The local health department will provide you with directions for quarantine and need for testing. Virtual instruction by the child’s assigned teacher, or substitute if the assigned teacher is unable to instruct due to illness, will take place for the duration of the quarantine period. Your child’s school will contact you with procedures to access virtual instruction. The classroom and any other affected areas of the school will be thoroughly sanitized.
What if the scenario above occurs? Will I be told if my child’s teacher or a student in my child’s class tested positive for COVID-19?
You will be notified if your child was possibly exposed. Notification of exposure will come from the local department of health. Due to HIPAA laws, no identifying information regarding who/where the exposure came from will be relayed to you.
What if a student was exposed or tested positive for COVID-19? How will the school know that student should not be in school and when it will be okay for that student to return?
The school district will rely on information from parents/guardians and the local health department. Identified students will have an attendance code of “M” entered into Focus through the date the child is allowed to return. This will allow school officials to know when a student is allowed to safely return to school. The code of “M” is a generic code given to all students who are absent due to a medical reason, not necessarily specific to COVID-19.
What if someone in my house tests positive for COVID-19? Does everyone in the house have to quarantine?
Anyone with close exposure to the positive individual will have to quarantine, be monitored by the local health department, and be medically cleared when all criteria is satisfied. The health department will let you know if testing is needed.
What if a student in my child’s class tests positive for COVID-19? Do I need to get my child tested?
The local department of health will conduct contact tracing and will contact you if your child was exposed. Follow all procedures given to you by the local health department if contacted. You may also contact and follow the advice of your medical provider.
What if my child has severe allergies that result in symptoms similar to that of COVID-19? Will they be sent home every time they have a flare up?
Children with known allergies should see their provider to manage their symptoms to the best of their ability. Any child with symptoms also associated with COVID-19 will be sent to the clinic and evaluated. Guidelines and clinical judgment will be used to determine the outcome.
What if my family is going to travel? Will my child need to quarantine before returning to school?
You will need to contact the local department of health, provide your travel details and then follow their guidance. Most travel outside the USA will require a 14 day quarantine period before returning to school.
What if an entire class, or multiple classes of students/teachers, are exposed?
The local department of health will conduct contact tracing and contact each individual who may have been exposed. You will follow their guidance for quarantine and testing procedures. Virtual instruction will begin for all impacted classes for the duration of the suggested quarantine period. Your child’s school will contact you with procedures to access virtual instruction. All affected areas of the school will be thoroughly sanitized according to CDC guidelines.
What happens if a student on my child’s bus route tests positive?
The local department of health will conduct contact tracing and contact each individual who may have been exposed. You will follow their guidance for quarantine and testing procedures. The affected bus will be thoroughly sanitized according to CDC guidelines.
What if a whole class or school has to quarantine? Will there still be free lunch and counseling support available?
Free lunch will remain in place for all students regardless of instructional delivery method through December 31, 2020. Counseling and other school supports will be available regardless of instructional delivery method.
If you still have questions please contact any of the following:
∙ Monroe County Department of Health at 305-293-7500
∙ Florida Keys AHEC at 305-743-7111 x 210
∙ Dana Portillo, RNC- Monroe County School Health Coordinator 305-587-7703 or Dana.Portillo@keysschools.com ∙ Erin Williams, Coordinator of Student Support 305-293-1400 x 65366 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that this document contains the most recent CDC guidance as of September 18, 2020. You are able to monitor for any changes past this date via their website using the following link: CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 - What’s New.