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:
- 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
- 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 Exposure. 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.
- How does CDC define “quarantine”?Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated.
-Individuals who have been fully vaccinated
- Fully vaccinated close contacts: If you’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. If asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine at home following an exposure (they can continue to attend school in-person and participate in other activities). In addition to correctly wearing masks in school, they should wear a mask in other indoor public settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.
-Individuals Not Vaccinated
- If you are not sick, you agree to monitor your health symptoms during the 14 days following the last time you were in close contact with a sick person with COVID-19.
- If you have symptoms: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste and smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, you will quarantine yourself at home except in case of emergency, contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider to be tested for COVID-19.
- If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate.
- If you live in a congregate setting, you should remain in quarantine for the full 14 days since your last known exposure, even if you remain asymptomatic.
- If you DO NOT live in a congregate setting, you may test out of quarantine any day after 7 full days have passed since your most recent exposure occurred, if you fulfill all THREE of the following criteria:
- Do not experience any symptoms during your monitoring period,
- Are tested for COVID-19, andThe test should be a diagnostic test (PCR or antigen). It is preferred that the specimen for your test is collected no more than 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation, however, it should not be collected before day 5 of your quarantine period.
- Receive a negative result.
You may not discontinue quarantine until you have completed a minimum of 7 full days since your most recent exposure, even if you receive your negative test result earlier. If your result is positive, you must follow the Department of Public Health’s isolation guidance: https://dph.georgia.gov/isolation-contact
- If you are unable to be tested for COVID-19 during your quarantine period, you may discontinue quarantine any day after day 10 if you do not experience any symptoms during your monitoring period.
- If you discontinue quarantine prior to 14 days, you should continue to monitor your health and follow mitigation strategies until 14 days after your most recent exposure and isolate immediately if symptoms develop. Mitigation strategies that should be practiced include correct and consistent mask use, social distancing, hand and cough hygiene, environmental cleaning and disinfection, avoiding crowds, and ensuring adequate indoor ventilation.
Note: Congregate settings include long term care facilities, jails, prisons, shelters, etc. Dormitories are not typically considered a congregate setting.
- 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).
- 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
- 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
- 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 and submits it to the Regional Superintendent, Department Head, or Division Chief/Deputy. The immediate supervisor should consult the staff member, if possible, to ensure accuracy of information being reported.
- Regional Superintendent, Department Head, or Division Chief/Deputy sends the reporting document to the designated nurse and COVID-19 Health Team.
- COVID-19 Health Team reviews the report, contacts the DeKalb Board of Health, and consults the Regional Superintendent, Department Head, or Division Chief/Deputy to determine next steps.
- COVID-19 Health Team provides specific guidance from the DeKalb Board of Health and the Georgia Department of Public health 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. Employees may return to work after meeting criteria for ending home isolation per the return-to-work guidance.
- 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, he/she will be contacted by the Department of Public Health to collect information about their close contacts. The Department of Public Health recommends that positive individuals notify their close contacts of the illness.
- All information collected is provided voluntarily and will be kept confidential according to HIPAA standards.