@HSD Health Update

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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HSD and the 14-day Quarantine for Close Contacts

The COVID landscape is ever-evolving. We learn about new variants, the latest vaccine information, and/or updated recommendations and guidance. It can be challenging to keep pace with the rate of change, and, frankly, some information can be hard to understand; but the amount and frequency of information is an indication that national and local health officials are attempting to be as responsive as possible when confronted with new information and/or situations.

If you follow our district COVID+ notices, it's easy to analyze that we are currently experiencing a rise in COVID+ students. You can see from our COVID+ dashboard that this recent rise is occurring primarily at the high school. As we have outlined to the community, with more time in school and an increase in the number of students in class together, more students than ever are required to adhere to close contact quarantining guidelines when we determine that COVID+ individual is in school during his/her contagious period (generally two days prior to the onset of symptoms or two days prior to taking a COVID test that comes back positive).

So ... why is the Haddonfield School District requiring a 14-day quarantine when the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) outline a 10-day return (if symptom-free) and/or a test option for a 7-day return option?

Here's the chain of information that helps us to arrive at decisions.

1) The CDC and other governing medical bodies publish guidelines and recommendations.

2) The NJDOH reviews the guidelines/recommendations and decides whether to adopt, reject, and/or modify those recommendations.

3) The Camden County Department of Health (CCDOH) then reviews the guidelines/recommendations and determines how they will apply to schools within their jurisdiction.

4) HSD’s Pandemic Response Team (district administrators, nurses, district physician) then reviews/analyzes the guidelines/recommendations to implement policy and procedures that closely align with CCDOH guidance.

The CCDOH determines and establishes the quarantine options for Camden County, and they continue to URGE Haddonfield School District to adhere to a 14-day quarantine for identified close contacts. Their rationale is that 14 days is the safest option and stems from the fact that the Southwest Region (and nearly the entire State of N.J.) is in the Orange/High COVID-19 Activity Level.

The exceptions to close contact quarantine include individuals who are fully vaccinated (two weeks post second shot/single J&J shot) or individuals who were a close contact, but previously diagnosed with COVID within 90 days after the date of symptom onset.

Our District Pandemic Response Team meets at least once per week to review and assess COVID-related information. We maintain regular contact with CCDOH officials; in fact, we have had daily communication with the CCDOH over the past two weeks, including Saturdays and Sundays.

The purpose of quarantine is to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID away from others and to help prevent spread. Our current spike in cases has resulted in contact tracing and subsequent quarantine requirements. We understand that this process impacts our families, and we empathize. However, we remain steadfast in our commitment to keeping the Haddonfield school community as safe and as healthy as possible.

We are proud that we have remained open for longer than most other public school districts in our county. To continue to best serve our families, staff, and students, it is critical that we maintain a carefully implemented plan so that we can remain safe and open until we see an end to the COVID pandemic.

Please visit HSD's COVID-19 Decision Tree for additional details.

Please Put the Community First!

We know this is challenging, difficult, and onerous, but, please consider others when making decisions and doing your part to keep yourself and others healthy and safe. One of the contributors to our rise in COVID+ students at HMHS was traced by the CCDOH to a large student gathering in a private residence.
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Update on Desk Barriers

The shield mandate was removed when the CDC issued its latest guidance, which no longer recommended the use of shields based upon lack of evidence that they prevented the spread of Covid. When they are up, they are a significant obstruction to instruction, which we were willing to tolerate in the name of enhanced safety; however, with the CDC no longer recommending them, we provided teachers with the option to remove them and the vast majority have done so. The option was provided due to the guidance from the CCDOH, which went from requiring them in certain instances, to revising their guidance and stating, "Consider physical barriers as an acceptable additional mitigation strategy, where feasible."

Volunteers Still Needed!

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Click on School Logo Below to Volunteer!

HSD's COVID-19 Decision Tree

Your one-stop site for HSD-specific COVID answers including Isolation, Quarantine, and Travel Protocols. This document has been recently updated (2/19). Please pay special note to the 14-day quaratine protocol requirement.

Reminder: Seasonal Allergies vs. COVID-19 Symptoms and HSD School Attendance

Managing Seasonal Allergies: If your child has significant seasonal allergies, it is important to provide your school nurse with documentation from their healthcare provider concerning this diagnosis. Your child may attend school if the seasonal allergies are well managed. Please follow your child’s healthcare provider’s recommendations for allergy medication/s administration.

If your child’s allergies result in uncontrolled symptoms, a remote learning day will be required until symptoms improve.

  • A medical note will be necessary from your child’s healthcare provider for return to school once symptoms improve.

  • If your child’s healthcare provider suggests COVID-19 testing, your child may return to school if the result from a molecular test is determined to be negative. Provide your school nurse with the results of the COVID-19 screening test along with a medical clearance note.

  • If testing is recommended, siblings will need to remain home until a negative test is received.

Students will not be permitted to remain in school while exhibiting the following uncontrolled seasonal allergy symptoms:

  • Unable to wear a face mask comfortably due to increased sneezing, runny nose, or congestion making breathing difficult.

  • Uncontrollable sneezing, runny nose, or congestion even if able to wear a face mask.

  • Frequent coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

  • Increased fatigue that prevents your child from learning in the school setting.

Remember, children with allergies can still get sick. This means if your child has allergies and then develops new symptoms that do not respond to allergy medications, it is important to follow up with your child’s healthcare provider. Anyone with signs of illness should isolate at home to avoid transmitting the germs to others.

Please see the HSD COVID-19 DECISION TREE for detailed information, and refer to the following website:

CDC: Overlap of COVID-19 symptoms with seasonal allergy symptoms.

If you have any questions, please contact your school nurse.

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