COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR THE 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR
Dear Parents of Students in USD480 Schools,
On August 11, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new recommendations regarding COVID-19 that outlined changes for operational guidance for K-12 schools. With the health and safety of our students, staff and their families in mind, our district has worked diligently since the Spring of 2019 to maintain practices that aligned with professional health recommendations from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the CDC for COVID-19. It is recognized that COVID-19 is a virus that now needs to be handled in an endemic fashion more similar to influenza and other diseases with the focus on individual responsibility. The severity of disease prevalence in a county is recommended to be a guiding factor in decision making. Most often, the incidence of COVID-19 in Seward County is listed as HIGH. This information can be accessed through KDHE website (kdhe.ks.gov), COVID-19 Dashboard. Any practices are subject to change based on this severity and identified outbreaks. Please be aware of the following key points for this school year:
STAYING HOME WHEN SICK: Anyone having symptoms of gastrointestinal or respiratory infection such as fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, or congestion should stay home and notify the school office. Testing is recommended for those with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Students/Staff who become ill during the school day will be sent home with further guidance from the school nurse. No one should attend school unless they have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. This remains consistent from previous years.
COVID-19 TESTING: Free testing is no longer available locally, although many sites do provide tests at a cost. Local pharmacies, health clinics and health practitioners have methods for testing. Free at-home COVID-19 tests can be ordered and mailed to your home from the following websites: accesscovidtests.org or covidtests.gov or through the KDHE website kdhe.ks.gov. If you complete a home test, please notify the school nurse of your results.
- POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST: Remain home in isolation for 5 days from the start of symptoms (tracing back no further than 2 days). Individuals can be released on day 6 when meeting certain criteria. Masking is recommended for days 6-10.
- NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST: Consider seeing a healthcare provider if symptoms are severe and re-test for COVID-19 in subsequent days if symptoms do not improve.
QUARANTINE: No longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings (schools are not included). Students are expected to be at school if asymptomatic. Notifications of classroom exposures will not occur this year.
MASKING: Masking continues to be a recommendation when community levels of illness are high or for those with underlying health conditions. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask during the school day or at school events will be supported in their decision.
STAY UP TO DATE ON VACCINATIONS: This step is essential to prevent illness from many different infections and is the leading public health strategy to prevent severe disease. COVID-19 vaccines are available through the Seward County Health Department (and are still free at this time) and all of the local pharmacies. Children as young as 6 months are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.
CLEANING: Routine cleaning and sanitizing of the school environments will continue to be a priority as it helps to decrease the spread of all infectious diseases.
HAND HYGIENE AND RESPIRATORY ETIQUETTE: Both practices are taught and reinforced routinely throughout the school day. Covering coughs and sneezes, proper handwashing or the use of 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer at regular intervals help to decrease the spread of illness.
WATER BOTTLES: Water fountains are open and water bottle filling stations are available. Students are encouraged to continue to bring water bottles to school daily.
Please contact your school nurse if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information or for resources regarding testing, vaccination or other health concerns. We look forward to working with your family this year and helping students to stay healthy to maximize their learning potential.
- USD 480 NURSING STAFF