Managing Medical Concerns

Are temperature checks required?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a temperature screening is an optional strategy because asymptomatic individuals or individuals with mild, non-specific symptoms may pass through the screening. Temperature screening and health checks are not a replacement for other protective measures such as wearing masks and utilizing layered mitigation strategies.

Non-contact, infrared thermometers have been provided to all schools and centers to take the temperature of an employee or student who presents or exhibits symptoms. Mass temperature screenings/checks are not a practice in the DeKalb County School District at this time.

Screening K-12 Students for Symptoms of COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current guidance does not recommend that schools conduct symptom screening for all students in grades K-12 on a routine basis. Parents/guardians are encouraged to monitor their children for symptoms of infectious illness through home-based symptom screening.

When should an employee or student stay home based on symptoms?

Each day, before coming to work or any on-site school or facility, employees, or students (parents for students) should self-assess or screen with these three questions:

  1. Do you have any of the following symptoms?
    • Fever/temperature at or above 100.4 or chills or sense of having a fever
    • Cough that you cannot attribute to another health condition
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Ongoing fatigue that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • Muscle or body aches that cannot be attributed to another health condition or specific activity, such as physical exercise
    • Headache that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • Congestion or runny nose that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • Nausea or vomiting that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  2. How does CDC define “close contact”?
    Close Contact through Proximity and Duration of Exposure:
    According to the CDC, close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed positive or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.  An example would include three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes. An infected person can spread SARS-CoV-2 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date), until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation.

    This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.
    Teachers and staff must follow the Close Contact through Proximity and Duration of ExposureSomeone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed positive or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.  An example would include three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes.

  3. How does CDC define “quarantine”? The separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic from others who have not been so exposed to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease. Quarantine may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.
  4. How does CDC define “isolation”?
    Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.
    People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).
  5. Have you been in close contact with someone who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 and/or have you been directed to quarantine? Have you tested positive for COVID-19?
    If the employee or student answers “YES” to ANY of the above questions, the individual should STAY HOME AND DO NOT REPORT to ANY DCSD Building. The individual should contact their healthcare provider for further guidance. Employees should also contact their supervisor immediately.

What to do if a student becomes sick on the school bus, at school, or reports a COVID-19 diagnosis?

  • Student displays signs of infectious illness consistent with COVID-19
  • If a student becomes sick on the bus, then bus driver notifies COVID-19 designated Point of Contact (POC). The POC is the designated staff member that is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns, such as Principal, Assistant Principal or School Nurse and notifies their direct Supervisor.
  • If a student becomes sick at school, then teacher or staff excuses the student from classroom, cohort/pod or area within the school and notifies COVID-19 designated Point of Contact (POC). The POC is the designated staff member that is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns, such as Principal, Assistant Principal or School Nurse.
  • COVID-19 POC takes the student to the designated isolation room/area until parent transportation can be arranged to send student home or to seek emergency medical attention. If a student becomes sick on the bus, then driver isolates the student in the first seat, and notifies the POC upon arrival at the school. Note:  If multiple ill students must be placed in the same isolation room/area, ensure that each person is wearing a face covering and that they maintain at least 6 feet of distance between them.
  • Principal or COVID-19 POC notifies the Regional Superintendent and ensures appropriate letters are distributed that day. If the incident occurs on the bus, then the Transportation Manager should be notified.
  • COVID-19 POC notifies parent(s), guardians, or caregiver(s) of ill student(s)
  • Parent(s), guardian(s), or caregiver(s) pick up student(s). The student(s) should consult with their healthcare provider for evaluation and determination if testing is recommended.
  • If the student has a NEGATIVE COVID-19 test result, then the student returns to school following existing school illness management policies (for example- no fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication).
  • If the student has a POSITIVE COVID-19 test result, then the COVID-19 POC initiates a list of close contacts of the ill student and communicates the possible exposure to teacher(s), staff and parent(s), guardian(s) or caregiver(s) of the student in the school. The POC notifies the COVID 19 Task Force.
  • The exposed area is closed off for up to 24 hours; cleaning and disinfecting of the area is performed by appropriate staff.
  • COVID-19 POC and COVID-19 Task Force work with local health officials to assess transmission levels and support contact tracing efforts.
  • Close contacts are notified and will be provided quarantine guidance. Close contacts are advised to consult with their healthcare provider and determine if testing is recommended.
  • The COVID-19 POC communicates with teacher(s), staff (including transportation), and parent(s), guardian(s) or caregiver(s), the importance of COVID-19 mitigation strategies (i.e., staying home when sick, washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing).
  • Members of the student’s household are requested to follow quarantine guidance.
  • Student returns to school after meeting criteria for ending home isolation, following return to school guidance.

What to do if an EMPLOYEE reports a POSITIVE COVID-19 diagnosis?

  • Staff member is notified of positive test for COVID-19. Staff member contacts the immediate supervisor.
  • If the staff member receives positive test results while at work, the staff member alerts the immediate supervisor of the positive test via phone.
  • The immediate supervisor notifies local administration to provide alternate coverage if needed.
  • The immediate supervisor directs the isolation of the individual. The individual should leave the premises or report to the isolation room.
  • If an employee is too ill to go home, call 911 and contact the employee’s family.
  • The immediate supervisor notifies Regional Superintendent, Department Head, or Division Chief/Deputy via phone to make the initial report.
  • The immediate supervisor completes the reporting document through the portal. The immediate supervisor should consult the staff member, if possible, to ensure accuracy of information being reported.
  • COVID-19 Health Team provides specific guidance from the DeKalb Board of Health and the Georgia Department of Public Health (GA DPH) regarding isolation or quarantine guidelines. Close contacts are notified and advised to stay home, follow the quarantine guidance, and consult with their healthcare provider for evaluation. If you are COVID positive and symptom free or improvement of symptoms after the isolation period, CDC and GA DPH do not recommend a negative test to return to work.
  • The immediate supervisor, Regional Superintendent, Department Head, or Division Chief/Deputy shares the guidance received from the COVID-19 Health Team with the identified employee(s).
  • The immediate supervisor, Regional Superintendent, Department Head, or Division Chief/Deputy must personalize the appropriate community letter and send it to the COVID-19 Health Team and Chief of Staff for approval prior to mass distribution.
  • Chief of Staff notifies the Superintendent, Board of Education, and Cabinet.
  • Upon receipt of approval, the immediate supervisor, Regional Superintendent, Department Head, or Division Chief/Deputy will send the email/phone/text initial notification to the appropriate audience.
  • Upon receipt of approval, Cabinet members will take appropriate action(s) to address facilities, food service, transportation, athletics/extracurricular activities, media inquiries, technical support, and essential services.
  • Distribute the community letter via School Messenger or Office 365 to staff, students, and families, as applicable, before the close of business.
  • The immediate supervisor notifies the cleaning team – exposed area(s) closed off for up to 24 hours for cleaning and disinfecting of the area. If the facility is closed for an extended period due to COVID-19, additional cleaning and disinfecting measures will take place.

What if a FAMILY MEMBER tests POSITIVE for COVID-19?

  • If a student reports that a family member has tested positive for COVID-19, the staff member notifies the immediate supervisor.
  • The immediate supervisor will escort the student to the nurse for assessment. While the student is being assessed by the nurse, the immediate supervisor will contact the parent/guardian to gather more information.
  • If the information is accurate, the immediate supervisor will remind the parent/guardian to adhere to the guidance provided by the DeKalb Board of Health and the Georgia Department of Public health. If the child lives in the home with a family member who is positive, the student must go home and adhere to the quarantine guidance that will be provided by the COVID-19 Health Team.
  • If the student has COVID-19 related symptoms, the student will be escorted to the isolation room until the parent/guardian picks-up the student.
  • If the information is inaccurate and the student is not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, the student will return to the classroom.

Is the District performing contact tracing?

DSCD assists the DeKalb Board of Health with contact tracing by providing the names and contact information of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and the names of contacts identified by the person with confirmed COVID-19.  Isolation Guidance or Quarantine Guidance is provided to the individual by our Health Services Department based on their reported case.

DCSD collaborates with the Georgia Department of Public Health and the DeKalb Board of Health who promptly identify individuals who have had recent close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual(s) to prevent further spread. The district follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the state and local health departments for best practices and procedures to protect everyone’s health.

Please see the steps below for contact tracing conducted by the DeKalb County Board of Health:

  • If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, the individual may be contacted by the DeKalb Board of Health.
  • All information collected is provided voluntarily and will be kept confidential according to HIPAA standards.