COVID Updates - March 10, 2022
As we shared with you last week, a number of changes in the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework will take effect this Saturday, March 12. Some of the significant changes include the lifting of the K-12 mask mandate, the pause of contact tracing, and the pause of the quarantine requirement for close contacts following an exposure.
Last night, the SSD Board of Directors received an update from District staff on these changes; video of that presentation can be viewed here (presentation starts at 40:40 on video).
Below you will find additional information about our COVID protocols that will take effect district-wide March 12. Please watch for additional information from your child’s school about any school-specific updates.
Lifting of Mask Mandate
As we shared with you last week, our district will move to “mask optional” status effective March 12. This includes our schools and facilities, as well as our school buses. Changes in state mask requirements are also aligned with the newest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, which now provide specific mask recommendations based on identified COVID-19 Community Levels. Families and staff may choose to utilize this guidance as they make individual decisions about mask use once optional. Currently, Washington County is at a low risk level.
While close contacts will no longer be required to quarantine following exposure to a positive case, students and staff with primary COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result will continue to be excluded from school for a 5-day isolation period. Primary symptoms of COVID-19 that would require exclusion from school include:
Temperature of 100.4° or higher
Shortness of breath
New loss of taste or smell
To calculate the 5-day isolation period, day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of a positive test result, with day 1 being the following full day. Isolation may end after 5 full days if the individual is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved.
Our Health Services Department will continue to contact the families of ill students, as well as ill staff members, to provide information, testing support, and confirm the date that the student/staff member can return to campus.
Our district will resume the practice of sending email notifications following the identification of a positive case that has been on campus. This will include notifications at the classroom, cohort, and school level.
For potential exposures on one of our bus routes, notifications will be sent via our Transportation Department’s Ride360 app to the families of all students on that bus route. As a reminder, the Ride360 app provides real-time information for the parents/guardians of bus riders, including alerts when the route has a delay. For information on how to sign up for the Ride360 app and receive these notifications, please visit our website here.
Our District will continue to provide diagnostic testing in our schools for students and staff members who become sick with primary COVID-19 symptoms while on campus. Testing is optional, and written permission is required for students to receive diagnostic testing.
If you would like to provide permission for your child to participate in on-site testing at their school location, please complete the permission slip found here and email completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Permission slips are also available in the Main Office at each school. Please note that tests are designed to be self-administered by students. If your child is unable to administer their own test, you can administer the test to your child when you come to pick them up, as students with symptoms will need to go home that day regardless of the test result.
If a student or staff member develops primary symptoms of COVID-19, viral testing is highly recommended. Symptomatic individuals who receive a negative COVID test result will not be required to isolate for the required 5-day period, however they will be required to stay home from school or work based on symptom-specific guidelines (click here to see symptom-specific information). A negative test result can come from an in-school diagnostic test, a clinic or health care provider test, or an at-home test kit (please photograph the test result with the date written on the test kit for verification).
The state’s weekly screening test program for unvaccinated students or staff will continue to be available -- sign-up is required for participation. Additionally, our district can provide assistance with testing access for those with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 (such as medically fragile individuals) following a potential exposure on-campus. For more information on these options, please contact your school’s office.