COVID-19 Management Protocols
ACTION PLAN FOR HIGH TEMPERATURE OR DISCOVERY OF COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
Changes since last update are in maroon font.
FOR THE STUDENT OR STAFF MEMBER
(Recommended by the TN Department of Education) For students with fever at or above 100.4℉ or any of the above symptoms AND known exposure to someone with COVID-19:
- Instruct the individual to wear a face mask. Provide a mask if the student or other individual does not have one.
- Anyone assisting the individual wears a mask. Limit the number of people who are in direct contact with the individual.
- Ensure the individual is safe and does not need emergent medical attention. If the individual appears to be seriously ill, call 911 and inform them that you are calling about a possible/confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms with a corresponding fever will be sent home, and the parent/guardian will be responsible for making decisions regarding treatment.
- Students who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (e.g., a family member) will be required to stay home for 14 days.
- Confidentiality will be maintained in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA), and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
FOR CLASSROOM AND/OR ASSOCIATED GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS
Every case will be handled based on the specific circumstances. Examples of possible responses to a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis could include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Additional cleaning and sanitizing will occur in affected spaces.
- A school building could be closed for 3 to 5 days, with students learning from home during the closure.
- Positive COVID-19 cases may enact student-specific responses for identified risks, depending on the level of exposure.
- Those who have been within 6 feet of a confirmed positive case for at least 10 minutes will be expected to stay home for a minimum of 10 school days, and fever free for the 72 hours (3 days) prior to return, depending on the risk.
RETURN TO SCHOOL
With regard to students and staff returning to school, conditions that would permit such individuals to return to school may include, but are not limited to:
- A health care provider has confirmed that the individual’s illness is not due to COVID-19 because another explanation has been identified (e.g., fever due to urinary tract infection, strep throat confirmed by a positive strep test, etc.).
- Students/staff (with a positive COVID-19 test or have had symptoms but no test) have gone 72 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medications and symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and 10 school days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
DECISION MAKING PROCESS FOR SCHOOL CLOSURE
Several factors will be evaluated when considering a possible school closure, including the following:
- student absenteeism,
- teachers on sick leave,
- availability of substitutes,
- impact on the community, etc.
We will work with our local health department and emergency management department when considering a school system closure due to COVID-19 rates of infection. Quantifying a specific number or percentage that would trigger a closure is difficult; however, we will monitor the numbers closely everyday and consult with the health department related to an appropriate response.
Closing individual schools for short periods of time during the school year due to illness and infections of COVID-19 may be necessary. If a school closure occurs, the school will transition to online learning classrooms for the number of days of closure. This scenario may occur multiple times during the year.
Other factors regarding school/district closures will be considered, including, but not limited to, the following:
- A sharp rise in the number of new cases in our county
- The number of cases being admitted to the hospital and hospital capacity
- The guidance from the Blount County Health Department
- The recommendations from local emergency management authorities
- The recommendations from the Tennessee Department of Education
- The recommendations from the Governor
STATUS OF EMPLOYEES, IF EXPOSED TO COVID-19 OR DURING SCHOOL CLOSURES
All school district employees are essential critical workers. As such, they will be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and follow mask-wearing and other health protocols.