There are many questions at the beginning of the school year: Who is my child’s teacher? Will she make the team? Where can we find lunch menus?
But this year, many parents have one big question on their mind: How will I know if my child has been exposed to COVID-19 at school?
Perry County School District 32 has partnered with Perry County Health Department to streamline our processes for sharing that information.
This is what parents can expect when classes resume at Perry County School District 32 schools:
· When a lab-confirmed positive case that impacts our students and/or staff is reported to District 32 by Perry County Health Department, the district will provide all necessary information to assist the health department in conducting contact tracing. Each building’s school nurse will lead this process in their building. The district will provide seating charts, parent names and contact information to the health department to help health officials determine who may be close contacts to a positive case. The district has put procedures in place to limit the number of people who will participate in this process or have access to this information, in compliance with federal privacy laws and district policy. Close contacts are those who were within 6 feet of the positive case for 15 continuous minutes or longer.
· If, during the course of the contact contracting investigation, the health department determines that students or staff were close contacts to a lab-confirmed positive case while on campus or on a school bus, the parents of those students and the staff members will be contacted by Perry County Health Department. The health department will provide information about isolating, symptoms to watch for, and provide an anticipated date of return to school.
· The district will also contact those families with updated educational plans. (For instance, if the class is temporarily moving to 100% online instruction.)
· At no time will the district or district employees share the names or other personal identifying information of any students or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 or determined to have been a close contact with a positive person, in accordance with HIPAA.
Reporting a positive case
When the health department informs the district that a staff member or student has tested positive for COVID-19, the district will send an email to all parents at all buildings stating that
“an individual/individuals at (Name of School) have tested positive for COVID-19. We are coordinating our efforts with Perry County Health Department to promptly identify those who have had recent close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual/individuals to prevent further spread. Any staff member or student identified as a close contact has been or soon will be notified by Perry County Health Department.
“District personnel will clean, disinfect and sanitize all areas of the building/bus affected. We will continue to follow all guidance from Perry County Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect everyone’s health and safety.
“As always, please monitor your family for symptoms of COVID-19 and stay home if you’re sick. Maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet between persons, wear a mask, and practice good hand hygiene.”
The District will not notify the community if a person who on our campus has been identified by Perry County Health Department as a close contact to a positive case. This is because there is no protocol required beyond isolating the close contact; contacts of close contacts do not have to isolate.
Teacher and staff absences
The District anticipates that as the pandemic continues, we will have experience greater-than-normal staff absences. Teachers and other staff may have to stay home because they have exhibited symptoms listed on the Daily Health Screening. They may have to isolate if they’ve been a close contact to a positive case of COVID-19. They may also have to quarantine because they have tested positive for COVID-19 themselves.
It is important that we not make assumptions about a staff absences, both for privacy and to prevent unnecessary anxiety for our students.
The District is making every effort to help staff stay healthy at work by providing PPE, requiring physical distancing and mask usage. We are also actively encouraging all staff to practice mitigation procedures away from campus to stay healthy.
We are also making an effort to recruit more substitute teachers and bus drivers. There may be times, however, when classrooms, buildings or the entire campus may have to temporarily transition to 100% online learning due to staffing shortages.
If that becomes necessary, we will strive to give parents as much notice as possible. However, it is possible that advanced notice will not be possible, so we urge parents to have alternate arrangements for their children prepared in advance.
Please make sure you have completed your child’s online enrollment and updated your contact information so you will receive messages from our schools. For updates, visit our Website at www.pcsd32.com.