COVID-19 Protocols

Last update: 2/7/22

POSITIVE CASES

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 will have to agree to wear a mask for the additional 5 days when around others to minimize the risk of transmission.

 

EXPOSURES

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.


COMMUNICATION REGARDING POSITIVE CASES

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.).  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. Staff and families are notified of exposures through school eNews or email communication.

 

MASKING

Beginning Feb. 7, 2022, masks are optional in all FHSD schools and buildings. If the number of positive COVID-19 cases in a particular building meets or exceeds 3% of the building population of students and staff for three consecutive school days, a temporary mask requirement may be implemented for just that building.

If a building reaches a positivity rate of 3% and remains there for two days, we will send an email notification to staff and families associated with that building. The communication will include a reminder that if the building remains at a positivity rate of 3% or higher for another day, a temporary mask requirement would be implemented. The purpose of this "warning" email is to give families time to prepare for a possible change in mask requirements. An additional communication would be sent if and when the mask requirement is triggered for that building. (Buildings with a total population under 400 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis since the 3% threshold represents only a few students and staff.)

If a temporary mask requirement is reinstated for a particular building, it would be in effect for 10 school days. On the 10th school day, the number of positive cases would be reviewed. If the number continues to meet or exceed 3% of the building population of students and staff, the mask requirement would remain in place for an additional 5 days. The number of cases would then be reviewed on every fifth day thereafter, with the mask requirement being lifted when the number of positive cases is below 3% on any fifth day.

 

SPORTS

MSHSAA has not reported any changes to their Return To Play protocols at this time. Student athletes who test positive for COVID are not allowed to participate in practices and competitions for 10 days. After being released by a physician, they may begin the five-stage Return To Play protocol. MSHSAA guidelines only apply to participation in athletics; student athletes are permitted to attend school on day 6 following a positive test result if they are asymptomatic and commit to wearing a mask for an additional 5 days.

 

SYMPTOMS

Many other illnesses - in addition to COVID-19 - tend to circulate this time of year. Our nurses ask that you please keep your child home if they have any of the following symptoms.

When to stay home:

  • Fever of 100.0 degrees or higher
  • Feels too sick to participate in school activities
  • Needs fever or pain medication (like Tylenol or Motrin) to feel good
  • Moderate to severe cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Sore throat
  • Diagnosed with COVID, flu, strep throat or pinkeye
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New rash
  • Bloodshot eyes or excessive discharge

If a student develops these symptoms during the school day, nurses will use their discretion to determine whether a student should be sent home. 

When to return to school following an illness:

  • 5 days following the onset of COVID symptoms or 5 days following a positive COVID test if asymptomatic or symptoms are improving
  • No fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications such as Tylenol or Motrin
  • No vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours
  • 24 hours of antibiotics following a diagnosis of strep throat, pinkeye or ear infection
  • Feels good enough to fully participate in school activities


 FHSD administration will continue to monitor district COVID-19 data and make recommendations to the Board of Education as necessary. This could include temporarily reinstating mask mandates in specific classrooms or buildings based on the number of positive cases. Any such changes would require Board of Education approval.



ELEMENTARY

Arrival/Dismissal
Bus and parent drop off will be in separate locations and students will enter through separate doors when possible to cut down on congestion. Dismissal will be staggered to allow smaller groups of students to move out of the building as quickly as possible. Parents picking up students must remain in their vehicles at dismissal. Parent pick-up/drop-off times may be extended as we are expecting an increase in utilization.

Cohorts
A cohort is defined as a group of students who participate in a class or other activity, and may extend beyond one class of students (for example, a grade level). Our goal is to minimize the number of cohorts any one student participates in during the school day. Currently, public health guidance directs us to keep the same group of teachers and students together each day. Most elementary students will stay with the same cohort throughout the day. Some students might be a part of a second cohort if they receive pull-out supports for Special Education and/or English Language Development.

Meals
FHSD will stress the importance for students to wash their hands with soap and water and use sanitizer prior to entering any food service areas. Breakfast will be grab-n-go in nature and eaten in the classrooms. Elementary students will eat lunch in the cafeteria in assigned seats with space between tables. Students will enter, sit and exit the cafeteria by class.

Sharing Supplies
Each student should have their own school supplies for their personal use. When shared supplies are necessary, such as equipment in PE class, proper handwashing and sanitation protocols will be in place.

Specials
Students will still participate in art, music, physical education, and library, following health and safety guidelines. They will travel to all special classes and in some cases, bring their individual supplies. PE will be held outside as much as possible. 

Social Distancing

  • Buildings will work to maintain social distancing of at least 3 feet whenever possible.
  • Students will be provided assigned seats in all situations where close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) may occur, including on the bus and in all instructional areas.
  • Breakfast will continue to be eaten in classrooms.
  • Students will have assigned seats during lunch.
  • Social distancing measures are to be done in an equitable manner that does not perpetuate academic, racial, or other tracking (e.g., separating people into fully vaccinated and non-fully vaccinated cohorts.).

 

SECONDARY

Arrival/Dismissal
Students will not be allowed at school more than 30 minutes before the start of the school day, unless scheduled for a supervised activity. Students are expected to proceed directly to classrooms upon arrival and should avoid congregating in hallways and common areas. No unsupervised students should remain at school more than 30 minutes after the school day, unless scheduled for a supervised activity. If possible, dismissal times will be staggered.

Meals
FHSD will stress the importance for students to wash their hands with soap and water and use sanitizer prior to entering any food service areas. Breakfast will be grab-n-go in nature and eaten in homeroom or first hour classrooms. Secondary students may be allowed to eat in other areas, allowing for more physical distancing during lunch - given that they eat with the class determining their lunch schedule. 

Students traveling to other buildings
Students taking classes at other FHSD schools will be allowed to continue (elementary to middle school; middle school to high school).

Lewis and Clark/CAPS/Early College/Work Program
Students should follow the guidelines established by these programs.

Locker Rooms / PE
Dressing out is optional for PE, but proper footwear is recommended. 

Lockers / Backpacks
Unless otherwise indicated by the school, lockers will be assigned by request only for grades 7-12. Sixth graders will automatically be assigned a locker. Lockers will be spaced out when possible and backpacks will be allowed.

Passing Periods / Restroom Breaks

Traffic will be one-way in hallways and stairwells where possible. Congregating in the hallways will not be allowed. Passing periods may be extended to allow for handwashing and restroom use. Students will also be allowed more opportunities to use the restroom during classes.  

Extracurricular Activities, Athletics and Clubs
FHSD will continue offering extra-curricular activities, including athletics and clubs, taking as many safety precautions as possible. We will follow guidelines from MSHSAA. Travel for co-curricular competitions is currently allowed unless otherwise directed by the District.

Social Distancing

  • Buildings will work to maintain social distancing of at least 3 feet whenever possible.
  • Students will be provided assigned seats in all situations where close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) may occur, including on the bus and in all instructional areas.
  • Breakfast will continue to be eaten in classrooms.
  • Students will have assigned seats during lunch.
  • Social distancing measures are to be done in an equitable manner that does not perpetuate academic, racial, or other tracking (e.g., separating people into fully vaccinated and non-fully vaccinated cohorts.).
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