Report by Paula Antolini, January 4, 2022, 3:03PM EDT
“As I told you, this morning we had a follow-up video call with the Department of Public Health with the implementation of the new guidelines on isolation, testing, quarantine, and contact tracing policies and procedures in schools. I encourage you to thoroughly read the guidance. We will be updating our COVID website to reflect our new procedures. The most important thing to remember is that the best way to keep our schools healthy and safe is to keep your students home if they are ill. Do not send your student to school with medication to mask their symptoms.
“This chart provides an overview of the new guidelines on how we will handle cases going forward:
Connecticut Department of Public Health:
Updated Considerations for Quarantine, Isolation, Testing, and Contact Tracing Policies and Procedures in PreK-12 Schools (Dec. 31, 2021)
You say that I should not send my student back if students are not “significantly improved” and fever-free after 24 hours. What does “significantly improved” mean?
The Department of Public Health clarified on our call this morning that significantly improved means that the symptoms are almost gone and/or that they are not noticeable. For example, a student should not be actively coughing, etc.
If my child meets the criteria on the 6th day of being fever-free or having significantly improved symptoms are there other accommodations that need to be made during the school day, like at lunch?
The Department of Public Health this morning stated that if the student or staff member has met the criteria to come back on day 6 (no fever for 24 hours and symptoms which are significantly improved) and with appropriate mask wearing, that the individual is at low risk for any spread and no additional operational accommodations need to be made .
Will the school accept the results of home test/self test kits?
Yes. Per DPH guidance, these results will be accepted. An individual is considered positive.
What are the changes with contact tracing?
The Department of Public Health and the Connecticut State Department of Education have changed their guidance to move away from contact tracing and focusing resources on identification, early isolation, and clinical management of students and staff with active symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. This change was made by the Department of Public Health because data indicates that transmissions in public schools across the state are low risk, given compliance with mitigation strategies in schools. Therefore, routine contact tracing of individuals’ exposures that occur inside schools or during school-based activities has been discontinued but we are required to notify you of an exposure so you can actively monitor your child’s symptoms. If you are interested in monitoring the cases in all schools, the data on our website will be kept real time.
How will I be notified if there is a positive case in my child’s class or in the school?
Here is how our new notification will occur:
● An email will be sent by the principal to the affected class at the elementary level.
● An email will be sent by Mr. Watson for the grade level of the positive case at Bethel Middle School.
● An email will be sent by Mr. Troetti notifying all Bethel High School families of positive cases.
If I need a home test because my child is symptomatic and I can not find one in thecommunity, what do I do?
Please see my communication from yesterday. If you can not get a home test kit in the community or an appointment, the district has them available to assist you and your family.
We are supposed to get a Frequently Asked Questions document in the next few days. As soon as that information is available we will distribute it.
Is the athletic guidance from the CIAC going to be updated as a result of the changes
The CIAC has communicated that they have reached out to the Department of Public Health to revise the policies and procedures. Once we have the revised guidance, we will communicate it immediately. In the meantime, we are required to follow current guidance.
Please let me know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.