With private schools reopening and public schools not far behind, you might be wondering how things will be handled if someone in your child’s school comes home with covid. Or you might be wondering what you are supposed to be do if your child is exposed to covid outside of school. The guidance given by St. Tammany Parish School Board and the Louisiana Department of Health have both published guidance on this. Using these published documents, here is a reasonable expectation of what will be happening once school starts.
This post is my best interpretation of the information that is avilable publicly. If you think a mistake has been made or I have missed an important detail, please email [email protected]
What Happens When Someone Has Symptoms or Has a Positive Covid Test?
This person must quarantine for at least ten days. They must also meet the following criteria: it must have been at least ten days since the onset of symptoms, it must be twenty-four hours since their last fever, and other symptoms must have improved. Even asymptomatic persons must quarantine. Additionally, St. Tammany school district requires that students have proper documentation from a doctor stating they are no longer contagious.
What is Considered the Infectious Period?
The infectious period starts two days before the onset of symptoms. For this reason, a person may be exposed before a person shows any symptoms of having contracted covid.
What if Your Child Has Been Exposed to Covid?
If your child has been exposed to covid in a setting outside of school, they must quarantine for fourteen days since the last exposure. What qualifies as exposure? Exposure is being within six feet of someone who has covid (including up to two days before the onset of symptoms) for fifteen minutes or more. Exposure could also be hugging, kissing, or sharing utensils with someone who is infected or being in any situation where they got respiratory droplets on you (such as by cough or sneezing).
What Happens if a Student in my Child’s Class Tests Positive for Covid?
If your child has been within six feet of that child for more than fifteen minutes during the infectious period, than you will be contacted and advised to quarantine. If your child is not considered at risk, you *may* receive a courtesy notice in the mail from the Department of Health. A courtesy notice is not a recommendation to quarantine.
What Happens if my Child’s Teacher Tests Positive for Covid?
If a teacher tests positive then they will be required to self-isolate for ten days from the onset of symptoms or ten days from the positive test if asymptomatic. Any child who came within six feet of the teacher for more than fifteen minutes will be asked to quarantine for fourteen days. You should receive a phone call. If you receive a courtesy notice in the mail about a case in your child’s class then you do not need to quarantine.
What Happens if My Child’s Teacher is Exposed to Covid?
The teacher will be asked to quarantine for fourteen days from the last exposure. Students will not need to quarantine.
What Happens if Student on my Child’s Bus is Positive for Covid?
Anyone who was within six feet of the positive student for more than fifteen minutes will be asked to quarantine for fourteen days.
What Happens if my Child Develops Covid Symptoms While at School?
Any child displaying symptoms of covid will be placed in an isolation room at school and the parents will be notified for pickup.
What Happens if my Child Develops Symptoms of Covid on the Weekend or at Night?
Keep the child home. If the child has a positive covid test or if they were exposed to anyone positive for covid in the last fourteen days, then inform the school.
How Many Children Have to Test Positive to Close a Class?
If two children within the same class test positive or exhibit covid symptoms within fourteen days of one another, the class should be moved to virtual learning for fourteen days since the last symptomatic person was in class.
How Many Children or Staff Have to Test Positive to Close a School?
Closing a school will be done on a case by case basis based on a number of factors including how many staff are infected, how many classrooms are affected by infection, and the ages of those infected. Rather than closed, schools should be moved to 100% online learning.
I hope this helps explain how things will work when schools eventually reopen. If you have more questions, the full guidance can be found on the school board website or on the Louisiana Department of Health Website.
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