NSSD COVID Information 2022-23

September 2022

A Message from Mr. Loving: Student and Staff Health Plan Basics

NSSD Families -

I am writing to share our plan to help keep students and staff healthy and safe as we begin the school year. Let me be clear that our number one goal is to keep students healthy and learning in-person, in school, every school day. We need your help to accomplish this goal.

For the 22-23 school year, planning and responsibility around COVID-19 mitigation have been moved to local county health departments and school districts… for now. We hope to keep it that way. As a result, we plan to use the following mitigation strategies to keep kids healthy and learning in-person. Mitigations are as follows:

  • COVID-19 Vaccinations: Encouraged, but not required.
  • Face Coverings: Optional, Individuals may choose to wear a mask at any time. Masks are encouraged after being exposed to COVID-19, for individuals who are high risk or live with high risk individuals. Current guidance also includes that individuals who test positive for COVID 19 can discontinue isolation after day 5 (instead of 10 days ), and wear a well fitting mask on days 6-10.
  • Physical Distancing: There are no plans to implement physical distancing at this time. (IF we experience a high transmission rate this may be considered as a mitigation strategy.)
  • Hand Washing: Highly encouraged throughout the school day, as needed.
  • Cohorting: There are no plans to cohort students at this time. (IF we experience a high transmission rate this may be considered as a mitigation strategy.)
  • Daily Symptom Screening: Check with your students each morning to see how they are feeling. We ask that families keep their student home when their student is experiencing symptoms.
  • Testing: Tests and testing for staff and students are free and available at all school sites upon request.
  • Ventilation & Circulation: School and classroom ventilation systems are inspected regularly for proper operation and effectiveness. Circulation is adjusted daily as needed.
  • Cleaning & Disinfecting: We will be following the ODE approved school and classroom cleaning protocols.
  • Training & Public Health: All staff have completed the required communicable disease education training prior to the start of the school year and have received COVID specific orientation from district nurses.

Testing Overview

It is the intent of the North Santiam School District (NSSD) to have schools return to normal operations. The best way we can prevent the spread of illnesses, including COVID-19, is having all staff and students monitor closely for symptoms and stay at home when feeling ill. Please refer to the guidelines below.

Notifications of COVID-19 cases at school will be posted on the COVID Dashboard on the District Website. If a school has an increased transmission rate, parents will be informed to enable increased monitoring of their child and access testing.

NSSD will offer 3 optional COVID-19 testing programs for students and staff to help maintain healthy school environments and inform care and return to school. Each school site has ample supplies of iHealth kits to support families.

  1. iHealth At-home
  2. Weekly Screening
  3. School Testing

Please visit the COVID Management Plan for more detailed information.

iHealth At-home Testing

The District has received the iHealth COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests that can be administered by an adult at home. This testing option is available to students and staff who have symptoms, are exposed at school, during extracurriculars, in the community, or in the household. Testing of students and staff who have been exposed to cases of COVId-19 is recommended if symptoms develop or on day 5 from exposure. Testing can be done up to 10 days from exposure.

How It Works:

If you are notified or become aware of an exposure (student or staff) you may request an iHealth testing kit from your school office. Additionally, parents can opt to pick up a kit at school to keep on hand at home in case an exposure or symptoms occur.

Weekly Screening

At Home COVID-19 surveillance testing will be offered to students. This program will use saliva PCR tests mailed to your home and returned to the school's drop-off box Tuesday mornings. Results are uploaded to a private reporting portal within 24 hours of labs receipt. Individuals will be able to opt-in or opt-out of the program at any time during the 2022-23 school year. These programs are provided as part of grant funding from Oregon Health Authority at no cost to the individual. Results will be provided to the individual, and the lab will notify the local public health authority in the case of a positive test result.

Information about this program and sign-up forms are on our District Website or use the QR codes below.

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Testing At School

Testing at school requires parental consent (links below). Each school can perform testing upon request in the following two situations:

  1. When students or staff become ill at school.
  2. When a student or staff member are within 10 days of being exposed to a positive case of COVID in K-12 settings, during extracurriculars, in the community, or in the household, and are symptom-free. The ideal testing time would be five days from exposure.
  3. This test asks students to be able to self-collect the nasal swab sample.

This option is performed with the Binaxnow Rapid tests and results are available in 15 minutes.

Contact a school office or email david.bolin@nsantiam.k12.or.us to access this testing.

Stay Home and Return to School Guidelines

Families are asked to notify the school office if their child is ill and with what symptoms. If individuals test positive for COVID-19 the district nurses will work collaboratively with the Local Public Health Authority.
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