After extensive collaboration, we have received the official announcement from the St. Charles County Health Department of Public Health on how the county will move forward with quarantining. The SCCDPH has taken the guidance from the Governor’s office and has modified protocols to allow staff and students (who have been exposed to a positive case at school, while wearing masks) to continue attending school if the exposure occurred under the circumstances detailed below. The modified quarantine protocols go into effect November 30th. These new protocols are not retroactive, meaning any staff or student currently in quarantine, no matter the exposure type, will remain as such until they meet the previous criteria to return to school. Here is the updated information:
Modified Quarantine Protocols for Contacts in Schools (SCCDPH)
The DESE/DHSS state guidance announced by the Governor on November 12, 2020, requires that schools have a mask mandate if the guidance is implemented in any form at a school. The following are required in order for a student or staff member to receive a quarantine exception to attend school during a 14 days exposure quarantine in St. Charles County:
- Mask mandate in place for ALL students, teachers, faculty/staff and visitors in schools and on school-supplied transportation. Protocols must be in place for constant and proper use of masks or cloth face coverings among staff and students.
- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s School Guidance regarding quarantine requires masking as a qualifying criteria for any student to stay in school after a COVID-19 exposure.
Students, faculty, staff and volunteers in a school with a mask mandate, who are properly wearing a mask, will be quarantined under Modified Quarantine Protocols for Contacts in Schools: An exposed person (mask to mask) may attend school after a school-related exposure but will have to quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The first day for the quarantine period begins the day AFTER the last contact. The modified quarantine protocol will be revoked, and standard quarantine protocols will be applied, if symptoms develop or if the individual tests positive for COVID-19.
Please note that the modified protocols do not include after school activities or athletics. Students will still be quarantined from activities/athletics even if the exposure occurred during school time and students were masked up. Also, anytime a staff member or student is exposed without a mask on (at lunch, outside of school, etc), it will result in a 14 day quarantine, without exception to attending school in-person.
Also, the spirit of that modified quarantine protocol is to keep our in-person learning going safely and strong, while still quarantining staff and students when necessary. This can ONLY occur if we all stay masked up, wash our hands regularly, and social distance whenever possible.
As I mentioned in recent emails, and as the pandemic continues, we have to be ready to switch to full virtual (on-line) learning (on a day’s notice) if the following occurs.
- A significant staffing shortage (due to quarantining) could force our high schools to go full virtual to allow K-8 to stay in-person (shifting support staff and subs).
- A school building would go full virtual for (at least) two weeks if the positive case percentage reaches/surpasses the 5% threshold in that specific building (to keep everyone safe and stop the spread).
We will fully communicate with our staff and students if/when the time comes to switch to full virtual (on-line) learning.
We want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. Please stay safe, social distance, and stay masked up. We would love to continue our in-person learning throughout the school year, but it’s up to us all to do our essential part.
Dr. Jason Sefrit
Superintendent of Schools