Quarantine, Isolation and Positives
Quarantine Update 5/7/2021
May 7, 2021
Dear Comstock Park families,
During the 2020-2021 school year, Comstock Park Public Schools has been diligent in navigating the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier today, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) issued a press release which stated, “...the Local Health Departments have advised the school districts within their jurisdictions that in consideration of current epidemiological trends, increasing vaccination coverage rates, and the availability of safe and effective vaccines, the Local Health Departments are not issuing county-wide orders requiring all school districts to comply with the MDHHS’ quarantine guidelines.” Instead, the KCHD now recommends that districts, “...use the MDHHS’ quarantine guidelines as best practices...”
In plain language, this information means that the KCHD is no longer requiring student ‘close contact’ quarantines in many instances. With the information provided, we understand the following to be “best practices” and will adjust our quarantining practices according to the following:
- Students who are identified as a close contact will not be required to quarantine, UNLESS they reside with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Families will continue to be notified if their student is considered to be a ‘close contact’ with a positive case at school. However, unless the student becomes symptomatic or resides with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will not be required to quarantine.
- Students must continue to complete the daily health screener. If a student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay home from school.
- Students that exhibit the symptoms of the virus in school will be sent home.
Students who are currently in quarantine may return to school on Monday, May 10, unless they were placed in quarantine by the KCHD because someone in their household tested positive for COVID-19 or become symptomatic.
We view this as a positive change for our students. Per the KCHD, the estimated number of students who tested positive after being identified as a close contact with a peer in school could be as low as 2%.
We also see this change as evidence that the mitigation strategies currently in place are working. These strategies include face coverings over the nose and mouth, cohorting students (particularly at lunch), washing hands, or using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. All of these mitigation strategies will remain in place for the final days of school.
That optimism has been ever present in the courage shown by all of you in completing this most challenging school year.
Quarantine Update Frequently Asked Questions:
Does this impact the ten-day isolation for positive cases? No. Positive cases will still need to isolate for ten days from the onset of symptoms or from the testing date.
Do family members of a positive case still need to quarantine? Yes. Family members will still be required to quarantine for the full 20 days (ten days of isolation and an additional ten days of quarantine) from the positive test or onset of symptoms for the positive case.
Will the school still contact trace? Yes. We will still identify and document close contacts of positive cases within our school buildings however only students who develop symptoms will be required to quarantine. If your student is identified as a close contact, the school will inform you but the student will not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms.
Can I keep my child home if they are identified as a close contact? Yes. If you wish to have your student quarantine at home, we will respect that choice, but the home quarantine will not be required.
Will the District still enact quarantines? Yes, but only as needed. For example, if two or three cases occur in a classroom or sports team, the entire classroom or team may need to quarantine. Each case will be evaluated separately.
Does this impact quarantine for staff? No. Under to Public Act 339 of 2020, staff members are still required to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact unless they are fully vaccinated or were positive for COVID in the past 90 days.
Do athletes still need weekly testing? Yes. This change is specific only to quarantine of close contacts within a school setting. Athletes must still adhere to the MDHHS orders for competition.
Should my student stay home with COVID related symptoms? Yes. This is especially true if your student is a close contact to a positive case. We have multiple instances where students remained home when ill, later tested positive for COVID, and no other staff or students were infected because the student stayed home. Please keep your children home until they have a negative COVID test or another diagnosis. We will continue to follow the Kent County Health Department’s Symptom and Testing Protocol: https://www.accesskent.com/Health/CommDisease/pdfs/K-12-COVID19-SYMPTOM-TESTING-PROTOCOL.pdf
Does this change the need for masks? No. Mask mandates are still included in the Federal and State orders.
Does this change the need for social distancing? No. Social distancing is still included in the Federal and State orders.
Does this change the need for cleaning protocols? No. Cleaning protocols are still included in the Federal and State orders.
When can my student return from quarantine? All students who are currently on quarantine can return to school on Monday May, 10, 2021, unless they are a part of a household where a positive case has been diagnosed.
What to Do If Instructed to Quarantine
If you have been informed that you are a close contact and have been Instructed to quarantine:
Please inform the school. Please include either the date of contact or the last date of quarantine date given to you by the health department.
What does it mean to quarantine?
- To the furthest extent possible, please stay home and avoid contact with others.
- Only the person who was in close contact will need to quarantine (not other siblings or family members). If you do choose to get tested, all household members are expected to remain home until results are back.
- Generally speaking, a close contact will need to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact.
- If the close contact is within the household, all household members should quarantine during the positive person's isolation period and then 14 days after.
- It is not necessary to be tested if you are in quarantine or are a close contact, and the Health Department will go over more guidelines, but it is your choice if you wish to have you or your student tested or not.
A negative test result does not shorten the length of quarantine.
What to Do if Someone in your house has COVID
Household members must quarantine at home while the positive person is in isolation (10 days) AND for 14 days after last exposure to person with COVID19 or cleared by the health department. (per the Kent County Health Department Symptom and Testing Protocol)