Message from the Superintendent

Sept. 8: Contact Tracing Updates Announced by WVDE

BCS Community:

I want to be sure you have received the following information that has been provided to school districts by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). The School Recovery document shared with this message and located on the WVDE website announces several key updates that change protocols for contact tracing and quarantines.

The updates to the School Recovery are on pages 9-10 of this document. The ultimate goal of these updates announced by the WVDE is to support in-person learning for as many students as possible.

Changes to Note Relative to the WVDE Policy Update:

  1. BCS is currently in the category of "Schools with Universal Mask Policy"; therefore, if students AND staff are wearing masks at the point of exposure to a positive individual, the student and/or staff close contacts do NOT have to quarantine.
  2. The category of "Schools with Universal Mask Policy" is applicable to adults and students (it was not applicable to adults prior).
  3. IF BCS goes into the category of "No Universal Mask Policy" , BCS will contact trace staff and students who are within 6 feet of positive case (this WAS 3 feet for students, prior to the update). The duration of contact remains the same (15 total minutes or more within a 24-hour timeframe, when exposed within 48 hours of positive case symptom onset or date of positive test, if no symptoms).

Contact Tracing for Schools

With Universal Mask Policy (Currently BCS):

  • For schools with a universal mask policy (regardless of DHHR map color) quarantining students and staff who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 is NOT required if masks are worn at the point of exposure (including extracurricular activities).
  • Schools should try to limit potential exposures while students are eating lunch by cohorting students who eat together or by eating in classrooms. This will reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

With No Universal Mask Policy:

  • For cases requiring quarantining, students who have been vaccinated do NOT have to quarantine [this is the same for Contact Tracing for Schools with Universal Mask Policy].
  • For unvaccinated students in a classroom, review class, bus, and cafeteria seating charts, and only quarantine students who were less than six-feet of an infected person as opposed to quarantining an entire classroom.
  • There are exceptions when quarantining an entire classroom is acceptable (e.g., greater than 10% of class positive with COVID-19 or younger- aged children where identifying close contacts is not possible).

Thank you for your on-going support and cooperation. I hope you will agree that having our students present in the classroom with their colleagues, friends, teachers and staff is extremely important to their overall health and well-being. Stay safe and be well.

Big picture

Patrick K Murphy, Ed., D, Superintendent of Schools

This message has the most current information as of September 8, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.

Berkeley County Schools

Berkeley County Schools, now 19,911 students strong, and growing, boasts a diverse population recognized statewide for great success in academics, the arts and athletics.

This newsletter is a publication of the Berkeley County Schools' Communications Office.