January 21, 2022
We are all aware that the Covid-19 landscape is constantly changing and continues to be challenging. Recently, the CDC offered new recommendations for isolation for those positive with Covid-19. Monthly, the Lawson R-XIV Board of Education reviews our protocols contained in the Remain In School Plan.
At the January 19, 2022 Board meeting, the Board voted to maintain the 10-day Isolation period for a Covid-19 positive individual to return to school/work. Day 0 is the day of symptom onset, not when a positive test has been achieved. The decision to maintain the 10-day Isolation period is in response to the latest recommendation from the CDC, which only recommended a 5 day Isolation period + 5 days of properly wearing a well-fitted mask.
The recommendations for the Board’s decision included:
- Determining Day 0 for Symptom onset is subjective. With only a 5 day window for return to school, that subjectivity could lead to a student or staff member returning earlier than day 5, possibly during the infectious period.
- The CDC recommendations include wearing a 'well-fitted' mask for days 6-10 (the days of return to school).
- This is not possible at lunch, band, choir, P.E., or extra-curricular activities, putting other students and staff members in contact with positive individuals.
- It is with concern that we would put another child in the position of sitting next to or practicing with a confirmed Covid-19 positive student as early as Day 6.
- Who's enforcing the proper wearing of a mask during the 5 day masking period?
- The CDC recommendations state that those isolating at home should wear a well-fitted mask when around other people for all 10 days of isolation, among other mitigation steps. This is not a component the school district controls nor should it control.
We should remember that maintaining a 10 day isolation without return includes just 6 to 8 days of missed school since a 10 day isolation will include anywhere from 1 to 4 weekend days. If Day 0 is subjective for this approach, it is somewhat unlikely that a student or staff member may return while still likely to spread a communicable disease.
Thank you for your understanding and partnership as we continue to hold in-person learning and strive for student achievement during the pandemic.
Roger A. Schmitz
Superintendent of Schools
A few Frequently Asked Questions:
- So how do we calculate Isolation?
Day 0 is your first day of symptoms OR a positive viral test. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed OR your test was taken. If you have COVID-19, isolate for at least 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.
- What if I have symptoms but cannot get a Covid test?
If a student or staff member has symptoms of a communicable disease, they should NOT be in attendance. As long as symptoms occur, do NOT return to school. The student or staff member with symptoms, but not a confirmed positive for Covid-19 should only return to school after being symptom-free for 24 hours without aid of medication. For example, if you are fever-free and still taking fever-reducing medication, then you should not return to school until you are symptom free for 24 hours without medication.
- Are Isolation and Quarantine the same thing?
No, Isolation is used to separate people with a confirmed positive or suspected COVID-19 positive from those without COVID-19. Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 positive should stay home and isolate from other people. Quarantine is the practice of staying away from others when you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, but you are not showing symptoms nor are you positive for Covid-19. Since the Ray County Health Department is no longer assisting with or requiring quarantine, the District is no longer employing or requiring quarantine.
- Will the District continue to make ‘Courtesy Calls’ to the parents of a student who has been determined to be in close proximity of a confirmed positive student?
No, the District will discontinue this practice. This courtesy has been used since the end of Quarantine, but the expectation is that all responsible parties will monitor for symptoms of Covid-19. Should a student or staff member display symptoms they should NOT be at school.