COVID-19 FAQs

Last update: 1/12/22
POSITIVE CASES AND QUARANTINE

Who should I notify if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
Notify your student’s principal or school nurse as soon as you receive a positive test.

When can my child return to school?
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are not permitted to come to work or school and are required to isolate for 5 days from the onset of symptoms, or 5 days from the date they were tested, if asymptomatic. Based on updated CDC guidance, after those initial 5 days, if they remain asymptomatic or their other symptoms have improved (without fever or fever-reducing medication for 24 hours), they may return to work or school. In order to return on day 6, the positive individual must wear a mask for the additional 5 days when around others to minimize the risk of transmission.  My child was exposed to COVID-19. Do they need to quarantine?

The St. Charles County Department of Public Health is no longer issuing quarantine orders as a result of close contact with a positive case. At this time, individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 are permitted to attend school as long as they remain symptom-free and do not test positive for COVID-19. However, for household exposures, we recommend the following to minimize the risk of transmission to others:

  • If the individual exposed is Unvaccinated – Quarantine at home for 5 days past the date of last exposure. If the individual is not experiencing symptoms, they can return to school/work on Day 6. It is recommended they wear a mask for an additional 5 days. If possible, get tested on Day 5 before returning to school/work.
  • If the individual exposed is Fully Vaccinated – The individual can continue coming to school/work as long as they are not experiencing symptoms. It is recommended they wear a mask for 10 days. If possible, get tested on Day 5 following exposure.

My child has a symptom that is sometimes associated with COVID-19. What should I do?
If your child has any COVID-like symptoms, you must keep them home. Symptoms include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new less of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and diarrhea. They must be symptom free for 24 hours without medication before they can return to school.

How will I be notified if my child is in contact with a COVID-positive individual at school?
Parents will receive an email notification if there is a positive case in their child’s classroom or on their bus or team. 

Is the District still contact tracing?
When a positive case is reported, school administrators and nurses conduct a tracing interview to determine as much information as possible about the positive case (symptoms, symptom onset, location of exposure, etc.). Based on this information, students and staff in the same classroom, bus, or team as the positive case will receive notification via email and be encouraged to monitor for symptoms. All reported positive cases are added to the District's COVID-19 Dashboard. The dashboard is updated throughout the day as each school building finalizes their daily reports.
Will absences related to COVID-19 be penalized?
While attendance is always tracked, we will not be celebrating or penalizing students for attendance. If families have any questions about attendance, they should contact their child’s school.

How will my child keep up with schoolwork if they have to miss school due to illness?
Teachers will make arrangements to ensure that students who must miss school due to illness can continue their learning if they are out for an extended period of time. This information would be shared out via Google Classroom or Canvas, depending on a student’s grade level. 

Are students allowed to make up finals?
Students who are out of school due to a positive COVID diagnosis or other illness will be allowed to make up finals. Students should work with their child’s teacher to determine the specific make-up plan for their courses.

MASKS

Are masks required for students and staff?
Beginning Jan. 10, 2022 through Jan. 21, 2022, masks are required for all students, staff and visitors in District facilities during school hours. This includes all grade levels and early childhood programs. Masks continue to be required on school buses due to a federal transportation order. For evening activities that happen during non-school hours, masks and physical distancing are strongly recommended. 

What will happen if a student doesn’t wear a mask as required?
Staff will follow the Code of Student Conduct as it relates to dress code violations for students refusing to wear a mask. The situation will be addressed based on the nature of the refusal or if there is another reason the student does not have on a mask at the time.

My child cannot wear a mask. Who do I speak with about a mask exemption?
If there is a medical reason a student is unable to wear a mask, families will work with the school nurse and administration as necessary to determine appropriate accommodations for the student's medical needs based on guidance from a medical doctor. 

Will students be allowed mask breaks?
Students are allowed to remove their masks outdoors and while actively eating and drinking. Brass and woodwind players may remove their masks while playing their instruments. Teachers may allow students to temporarily remove their masks indoors for short periods of time when 6 feet of distance can be maintained. 

Do students need to wear a mask on the bus?
Due to a federal order, all students must wear a mask on the school bus. Students will not be allowed to board the bus without a mask. Bus drivers will have a limited supply of disposable masks on hand for emergencies. Bus drivers must wear a mask during loading/unloading and when students are seated in the first row. To ensure safe transportation, bus drivers may remove their mask temporarily while driving to avoid fogging of glasses and sight interference.

Will the District require or provide N95 masks?
No. Students and staff are welcome to wear their own N95 masks but the District does not require or provide such equipment. 

Will teachers Zoom with my child if I keep them home while the mask mandate is in effect?
The District does not require teachers to allow students who are absent to join live classroom instruction via Zoom. However, you are welcome to contact your child’s teacher directly to see if they can accommodate the request. 

Can a student temporarily switch to virtual learning due the change in mask requirements?
Students can switch to virtual learning for second semester, but must commit for the entire semester. This means students would not be able to move back to in-person learning if/when masks become optional again. Those interested in this option should contact the child’s building principal as soon as possible. Launch (the virtual course provider) and FHSD follow different calendars. Launch has already started their second semester so we want to get students enrolled quickly if that’s the preferred option. 

I thought mask mandates were illegal? How can FHSD require masks?
The court ruling referenced by Attorney General Eric Schmitt does not limit the ability of elected officials to put mitigation measures in place that apply to district operations. Our mask protocols are determined by the FHSD Board of Education, which is composed of elected school board members.

OTHER

What is the threshold for requiring masks or closing a building?
District and school administrators are carefully monitoring the COVID situation and will make appropriate adjustments to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. We monitor transmission rates in our county and region, paying special attention to positivity rates among school age children. We also track positive cases and potential school spread in all buildings. When a positive case is identified, we work through our tracing process to identify and notify those in the same classroom or on the same bus. We also interview the positive individual and/or their family to determine the likely source of transmission. If we see multiple connected cases in a particular classroom, school, or sport/activity, we may consider additional mitigations in that area to limit further spread of the virus. We will be prepared to temporarily close a building and switch to remote learning due to staffing shortages (if multiple teachers are quarantined and unable to teach) or if a large number of students are absent for a period of time due to illness or quarantine.

Are there additional protocols in place to reduce the risk of transmission at school?
Yes. In addition to required masking, all schools will work to maintain physical distancing of at least 3 feet whenever possible. School leaders will continue to require that individuals who are sick remain home and will encourage frequent handwashing and other healthy habits designed to reduce the spread of disease. Students are in assigned seating in classrooms and on buses. When there are increased rates of COVID-19 in the community or school district, large school events may be canceled, postponed, or moved to a virtual format, and visitors to buildings may be limited.

How will students and staff physically distance at school?
We will take steps to promote physical distancing in our school buildings, although we cannot guarantee that students will be six-feet apart at all times. The goal is to distance 3 feet whenever possible. Physical distancing will look a little different at each school, due to the difference in the spaces, and it could include:

  • Rearranging furniture and equipment to allow students to be spaced farther apart
  • Staggering the use of common spaces, including the cafeteria, playground, and other areas
  • Physically distance while in line for restrooms, waiting for breakfast or lunch, or moving within the building
  • Adjusting recess and lunch schedules allowing for more periods with fewer students and to allow for more cleaning and disinfection
  • Modifying passing periods
  • Creating hallway and stairwell traffic patterns that have students moving in the same direction
  • Changing arrival and dismissal procedures
  • All students will have assigned seats in classrooms

Will students and staff be screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Families and staff should self-screen for illness/COVID symptoms before coming to school and work each day.

Where can I find a COVID test?
COVID tests are in short supply. FHSD does not offer COVID testing.  You can register for a test via the St. Charles County Department of Public Health website. Some community members report finding at-home tests at Walgreens, CVS and Walmart early in the morning. Another patron let us know that the 94 Convenience store at 4500 S. St. Peters Parkway is offering walk-in testing. Please call to verify availability before heading that way.

Is my child required to have the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school?
No. Vaccination requirements are made at the state level and there are currently no requirements for COVID-19 vaccination. The state of Missouri has a statute for compulsory vaccinations and potential exemptions. The Department of Health and Senior Services has regulations that further define these requirements and provide guidance to local officials. No decisions are made at the local level for vaccinations. That said, being fully vaccinated may help your child avoid serious illness.

How can I monitor the COVID situation in my child’s school?
All reported positive cases are added to the District's COVID-19 Dashboard. The dashboard is updated throughout the day as each school building finalizes their daily reports.

How can I contact the St. Charles County Health Department?
The St. Charles County Health Department COVID-19 Hotline is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The hotline number is 636.949.1899.

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