Oct 16, 2020 9:28 PM

USD 489 meeting will focus on quarantine, school gating changes

Posted Oct 16, 2020 9:28 PM

The Hays USD 489 Board of Education will meet in special session at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Rockwell Administration Center to discuss adjusting coronavirus-related protocols.

The board will hear information about adjusting quarantine requirements and implementing the use of school gating criteria in the district's COVID-19 plan for the 2020-21 school year.

The updated measures are below:

Update to Gating and Quarantine

Through collaboration with the Ellis County Health Department and Dr. Heather Harris and based upon Ellis County Schools data from the first nine weeks of school, USD 489 is adjusting quarantine requirements and implementing the use of building gating criteria to be included in the USD 489 Updated COVID plan for 2020-21 School Year. 

Building-Level Gating Criteria

  1. If a classroom has two or more students or staff in isolation (Isolation = positive COVID test result)
  2. Classroom will go remote for a minimum of seven calendar days.
  3. If a building has more than 1% of its total population in isolation
  4. Notify staff and parents of status and potential move to remote if numbers continue to increase. 
  5. Consider one day move to remote to allow for additional sanitization measures.
  1. If a building has more than 1.5% of its total population in isolation
  2. Evaluate Epidemiological (EPI) Links (team, band, classroom etc.) to determine risk of spread.
  3. Based upon EPI, building may move to remote learning for one to five school days.
  1. If a building has more than 2% of its total population in isolation (minimum of five if the total building population is less than 250)
  2. The building will move to remote learning for a minimum of five school days.

Please NOTE: Staffing and total building absences may impact the decision to become more restrictive than any of the above levels at any given time.  

Changes to Quarantine Requirements 

  1. If anyone in the home setting is awaiting test results due to close contact and/or COVID symptoms, staff and students are asked to quarantine until results are received.
  1. If a staff or student has COVID exposure in the home or outside of a school setting there will be no change to current quarantine period set by Ellis County Health. 
  2. Close contacts identified outside of the school setting will be subject to Ellis County Health Department quarantine guidelines.
  3. If a student or staff member is identified in the school environment through contact tracing as a close contact AND all parties were wearing a mask at the time of ‘contact’
  4. Parents and students will be notified of the potential exposure and the individual will be required to quarantine for seven calendar days from last day of contact. 
  5. Parents/guardians may choose to quarantine for the full quarantine period as set by Ellis County Health and should make that known to the school. 

Please NOTE:

  1. If identified as a close contact while not wearing a mask, the quarantine will be the period set by Ellis County Health. 
  2. All quarantines - school, home, or community related – are to include quarantine from all school and community activities.
  3. The seven-day adjustment in quarantine is based on the number of days most individuals develop symptoms after exposure.

Rationale for the change is based upon the following data sample taken for students and staff within the school buildings as of 8:00am Oct. 15, 2020. Six hundred eleven students & staff have missed days because of quarantine and/or isolation. None of the students or staff placed in quarantine due to close contact in school have tested positive during their quarantine period.

  1. 6035 school days missed because of quarantine & isolation
  2. 5554 school days missed because of quarantine due to exposure either in school, in the home, in the community, or while awaiting test results
  3. 481 school days missed because of isolation

While this data does not rule out spread of the virus within the school building, it does suggest that mitigation measures being taken in schools are impacting the spread.  It also suggests a shorter quarantine would still protect students and staff while limiting the negative impact of lost school days.