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We want to take a moment to share with you some of the safety and COVID Response protocol that has been put in place for all SLPS schools.
General Procedures for Contact Tracing
First of all, please keep in mind that throughout the year, there will be various reasons why staff members and/or students are out including, but not limited to:
- Quarantine due to outside COVID exposure
- Non-COVID sickness of self or child
- Child quarantine due to other COVID exposure, etc.
- COVID diagnosis
- COVID diagnosis of a family member
And, as we have committed to sending every symptomatic student and staff member home, staff absences will increase across the board considerably this year.
At your child's school, in conjunction with Saint Louis Public Schools, we are in the business of educating children and giving them the academic, social and emotional tools they need to become future leaders. That said, student and staff safety is always our first priority. The District’s Johns Hopkins-trained COVID Response Team works collaboratively with the City of St. Louis Department of Health (DOH) on both positive cases and potential exposures inside and outside of the school that would require quarantine.
Any member of our school community who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay home for at least 10 days following his or her positive test result. Additionally, those individuals cannot return without a physician’s release dated at least 10 days after the positive test result. Documentation must be provided before returning to school.
Should there be a positive case at your child's school, please understand that we will never be at liberty to share the name of that individual. Please be mindful of state and federal regulations, such as HIPAA and FERPA, and general best practices when communicating. We all want what is best for the school community and we will get what is best by respecting each other and the positions we hold in our school.
In the event there is a positive case, these are the steps that our COVID Response Team will take:
- The Contact Tracing Team will be notified of the positive case (by the Department of Health, the principal or supervisor, by families, etc.).
- The Contact Tracing Team will reach out to gather information from the positive individual and contact those who have possibly been exposed to determine whether there has been a “close contact”* (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, with or without masks, per the current CDC recommendations for determining close contacts).
- Should the need arise to quarantine (i.e. if the Contact Tracing Team determined that there was a “close contact”), the principal and Contact Tracing Team will notify persons involved of the need to quarantine, for a time period to be determined by the Contact Tracing Team pursuant to current CDC and DOH guidelines.
- If a teacher is impacted the principal will work with the teacher to communicate virtual instruction or other contingency plans with the class and their families.
- If the principal is impacted, that person will designate a communications process to keep staff and parents informed as needed. It is important to remember that staff may not be notified of a positive case unless necessary.
Outside Student COVID Exposure
If a student has a close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes) with someone who tests positive for COVID within two days of such contact, the student must quarantine** following that contact. This is in cases of both in school and outside exposures. Parents must report any potential exposures of their children. In turn, buildings will turn this information over to the Contact Tracing Team for assessment, determination and tracking.
If the student develops symptoms during that time, the isolation*** period will be extended.
If the positive person is a household member, the quarantine period will last at least 24 days after the family member’s positive test result; with the operative quarantine period starting only after the family member has been cleared by a doctor.
All of the above scenarios are tracked and handled by our Contact Tracing Team, working out of the Board of Education’s Central Office for all schools. Potential exposures as reported by SLPS staff, SLPS families, and the Department of Health (working directly with the team to report any SLPS cases) are all tracked and traced until all affected individuals are returned to school.
Students and teachers cannot attend school if they have any COVID-related symptoms: fever (100.4 and above), sore throat, congestion/runny nose, headache, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, fatigue/muscle or body aches, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste/smell. (Please note, this information is subject to change if the CDC/DOH guidance changes at any time.)
Reminders to Help Mitigate the Spread of COVID
- All persons in the school building will continue to have their temperatures scanned and wear facemasks.
- Social distancing is a crucial component of staying safe and avoiding quarantines. All reasonable efforts should be made to keep 6 feet or more of distance from others at all times. If you are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from anyone throughout your day, keep notes about those interactions for purposes of fast contact tracing in the event of a positive test or exposure.
- The custodial staff continues to do their due diligence by sanitizing high-touch areas, in addition to using the fogger (misting device for sanitizing large areas).
I understand the urge to get back to normal; however, we must be safe in doing so. We need your help to maintain a healthy school environment and to support student success and through in-person learning. Your leadership, positive attitude, commitment to excellence and respect for our school community are appreciated.
Finally, as you begin to prepare for the holidays, please remember to put safety first when planning your celebrations. Thank you for your continued support.
Terms to Know
*Close Contact – Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
**Quarantine – Separates and restricts the movement of people who are exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to the disease but do not show symptoms.
***Isolation – Separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.