Back-to-School Message from Dr. Hoven

Posted on 08/20/2021

Dear FHSD families:

The first day of school is right around the corner. We are excited to welcome students back on campuses beginning Monday.

While we all hoped for a more typical school year, we continue to be impacted by COVID-19 and the Delta variant. Our number one job is to educate students and we know we can that better if students do not experience interruptions to their learning due to avoidable quarantines.

Here are some things you can do to help ensure your child(ren) stay healthy and remain in school.

  • WEAR A MASK. At this time, masks are required indoors for students in PreK-6th grade. They are strongly encouraged for staff and students in 7-12th grades. Wearing a mask offers a layer of protection against COVID-19 and helps reduce the spread within our buildings. In addition, wearing a mask can help students remain in school by qualifying for modified quarantine or the CDC quarantine exception.
    • Modified Quarantine applies to masked exposures that happen in the school setting at a distance of 0-3 feet. Modified Quarantine allows a close contact to continue attending school as long as both parties were correctly wearing masks at the time of exposure. The close contact must continue to wear a mask during the quarantine period and cannot participate in sports or extracurricular activities until their quarantine is completed.
    • The CDC Exception applies to masked exposures that happen in the school setting at a distance of 3-6 feet. The CDC Exception allows a close contact to avoid quarantine altogether as long as both parties were at least 3 feet apart and properly masked at the time of exposure.
  • VACCINATE. As long as they remain symptom-free, individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to quarantine if identified as a close contact of a positive case. For this reason, vaccinations are strongly recommended for those who are eligible.
    • While families are not required to provide the District with proof of vaccination, doing so will save time and expedite the contact tracing process in the event your child is identified as a close contact.
    •  If the District does not have proof of vaccination on file and your child is identified as a close contact, they will not be allowed to attend school until vaccination status can be confirmed with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. To avoid this delay, families can provide their child’s school nurse with a copy of the student’s vaccination card at the start of the school year.
  • STAY HOME WHEN SICK. Please do not send your child to school if they are experiencing any COVID-like symptoms. Students must be symptom free for 24 hours without medication before they can return to school. Like last year, COVID-related absences are considered excused absences and students will not be penalized for staying home when ill. 

As mentioned in an August 12 District update, we will re-evaluate the District’s mask protocol and other mitigation measures by September 17. At that time, the mask protocol may be extended, expanded to include additional grade levels, or lifted completely. The decision will be informed by local impacts of COVID-19 and school-specific data from the first four weeks of school.

I want to thank you for your flexibility and understanding that protocols may change quickly in response to the situation in our schools and our community. We stand ready to adapt and adjust where needed to keep our staff and students safe during this ongoing pandemic.

Dr. Nathan Hoven



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