2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR
COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
USD480 will continue to work with the Seward County Health Department and follow the guidance of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas State Department of Education on issues and protocols related to Covid-19 mitigation and management. Interventions will be evaluated on a regular basis with the implementation of changes subject to the severity index of the community Covid-19 status. For updated information on the status of Seward County in regard to Covid-19 please access the website sewardcountyks.org.
Several measures were implemented during the 2020-2021 school year that were different from the norms. With the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine, conditions have improved, but the disease is still a present concern for communities. The district looks to return to as normal as possible while still remaining cognizant and compliant with Covid-19 measures. All measures utilized in our schools are for the concern of the health of our students, staff and families of the community.
Health protocols from the nursing office have to remain consistent with the practices of the 2020-2021 school year. The health management protocols for Covid-19 have not changed. Parents are asked to continue the practice of self-screening their child for symptoms of illness prior to sending them to school or allowing them to ride the bus. Confirmed positive cases will need to be isolated from others. Close contacts will be identified. Quarantines will be enacted for close contacts and Seward County Health Department will complete investigations. Any individuals with a confirmed positive case of Covid-19 or in quarantine due to exposure outside the school will be required to have a letter of release from the Seward County Health Department (or their local health department if not a Liberal resident).
A SNAPSHOT OF VITAL TOPICS:
COVID VACCINATION: the Pfizer brand of Covid vaccine is available for individuals age 12 and up. Other brands including Moderna or Johnson and Johnson are approved for ages 18 and up. It is not a required vaccine for school, but if your child has received the vaccine, it is beneficial if you can share this information with the school nurse to update health records. Individuals with documentation of a completed Covid-19 vaccine series are not subject to routine quarantines from exposure that may occur. If you need assistance in acquiring a vaccine, please speak to your school nurse or call the Seward County Health Department. Covid vaccines are free of charge.
SYMPTOMS AND WHEN TO STAY HOME: It is vital that students, staff or visitors self-screen and remain home when having symptoms of illness to prevent spreading it to others. If your child is ill with symptoms consistent with Covid-19, please keep them home and call the school office for guidance. Symptoms include:
Fever (above 100.0 within last 24 hours) New or worsening cough Shortness of breath Fatigue/body aches Sore throat Headache Digestive symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) Loss of sense of taste or smell Poor feeding or poor appetite Children may also experience rash, red eyes, cracked Swollen lips, red/swollen tongue, swelling of hands or feet.
SYMPTOMATIC WHILE AT SCHOOL: Students who become ill during the school day will be triaged by the school nurse or her designee. Nurses will follow KDHE guidelines during assessments. Those students exhibiting a single symptom that includes a new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or the loss of sense of taste or smell will be sent home with guidance. Students who exhibit any 2 symptoms including any of those previously mentioned, fever (above 100.0), headache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shivering, sore throat, runny nose/congestion, or unusual fatigue will also have to be sent home with instructions for options of how to return to class. Pre-existing conditions and diagnosis will be taken into consideration. Students presenting with symptoms while at school will be required to wear a mask until they leave the building.
FEVER: Individuals identified or reported as having a fever (temperature above 100.0 F) must remain out of school until they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
ISOLATION AREAS: It is necessary to isolate Students with symptoms consistent with Covid-19 from other individuals to rest in a separate room or area with supervision until a parent can arrive to pick them up. This is a recommended measure to prevent the spread of illness to others.
MASKS: Masks will not be required for students or staff at the start of this school year. Those who feel more comfortable to continue to wear a mask are encouraged to do so. This is subject to change if the local severity index indicates a need or other legislative requirements are enacted. The CDC does recommend that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear them.
WATER BOTTLES: Students should continue to bring a clean, refillable water bottle to school daily. Water-filling stations are available in each building. Water drinking fountains will remain turned off. Students who do not have water bottles will be provided disposable cups for use.
MEALS AT SCHOOL: Students will return to the cafeteria for breakfast and lunch periods during the school day.
HAND WASHING/SANITIZING: Students will still be reminded to wash or sanitize their hands routinely during the school day to prevent the spread of illness. Hand sanitizer will be available in the buildings and should be at least 60% alcohol based.
COVID-19 TESTING: Testing is available at several sites in the community and is free to any individual. Seward County Health Department, local pharmacies, and some physician offices offer this service. There are also testing kits that can be purchased in local stores. If you need assistance with acquiring a test, please speak to your school nurse or call the Seward County Health Department.
I. WAITING ON RESULTS: Anyone who has tested for Covid-19 and is still waiting on results cannot attend school.
II. POSITIVE TEST RESULT: This means the individual should isolate themselves from others to prevent the spread of the disease. Typically it is 10 days from the onset of symptoms. The health department should be notified. School attendance is not allowed until the individual has completed an investigation and been released by the health department. More information will be shared with the individual in the event of positive test results.
III. NEGATIVE RESULT: proof of a negative test may be needed to return to school. If symptoms are severe, seek care from your healthcare provider for an alternate diagnosis and treatment.
CLOSE CONTACTS: The definition of a close contact is any person who had contact with a confirmed positive case of Covid-19 within 6 feet for 10 minutes (per KDHE regulations) or more. Close contacts who are not vaccinated must remain in quarantine until they have met the criteria for release set by KDHE or Seward County Health Department.
HOUSEHOLD CONTACTS: Any unvaccinated person living in the same household of a laboratory confirmed case is considered a close contact and will be excluded from school until released from their local health department.
QUARANTINE: Seward County has adopted the shortened quarantine protocol for those close contacts of a positive case who remain ASYMPTOMATIC. Please visit ConnectSeward.net for additional details regarding current quarantine requirements.
CLEANING/CUSTODIAL SERVICES: USD480 will continue to follow increased sanitization efforts and cleaning for health protocols. High traffic touch points will continue to be sanitized multiple times throughout the day.