Quarantine protocols revised
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Department of Health announced changes just prior to Winter Break which involve how schools will continue to function during the COVID-19 pandemic. The key changes involve the protocols that schools will follow during an outbreak of the virus.
Outlined below is a summary of those changes:
• Through contact tracing, if it is determined someone has been exposed to a person with COVID-19 and both individuals were wearing masks, the exposed individual will not be quarantined as in the past, but will be advised to watch for symptoms of the virus. Only individuals who are not masked and have had 15 minutes of contact with a person who is found to have the virus will be quarantined.
• Individuals will be quarantined for 10 days. A negative rapid test on or after day 7 will then allow that person to return to school. Those who choose not to test can return on day 10 if they don’t exhibit symptoms of the virus.
•New threshold levels for schools to move into remote learning will be 1% for those with total populations above 1,500 (students and staff) and 15 for populations below 1,500. A classroom soft closure that results from 3 cases of individuals with the virus will only apply to elementary schools.
• The duration for school soft closures will be 10 days.
• The district’s rapid testing site in the Freeport Center — for quarantined individuals to “Test to Return” to school — will move to a new location and open Jan. 11. The location of the new site will be communicated in a quarantine letter that you will receive if your child needs to be quarantined.
• All high school extracurricular activity participants will continue to be tested every two weeks at their school. Those who test positive for the virus will count against the school’s overall positive case number.
• High schools that reach the threshold number of cases may have the opportunity to conduct, with the help of school nurses, “Test to Stay” rapid testing for all staff and students. Eighty percent participation is required for the school to remain open. Those who test positive for the virus will isolate at home. Students who also choose not to test will not be allowed to attend in-person classes. Teachers will work with those students as with other absent/quarantined students to access their schoolwork through Canvas and will be available on Fridays to support those students.
As a reminder, the school district will continue to adhere to its “Big Five” throughout the rest of the school year. Those protocols are Hygiene Etiquette, Stay Home When Sick, Face Coverings, Physical Distancing (as circumstances allow) and Clean & Disinfect.