Developing a School Policy

Posted

Specializes in School Nursing, Med-Surg.

Hi all!

TL;Dr - After a disastrous handling of our positive COVID-19 cases, my principal is letting me put together a quarantine policy for any positive students/staff going forward. I'm collecting info from CDC, my state's dept. of health, my local health dept., and other schools in our area to put together a policy. Any chance anyone would be willing to share your policy/protocol for determining quarantine lengths?

I am exhausted by parents calling me furious that their child has to quarantine for 14 days, especially now with the new CDC guidelines. I am not comfortable with close contacts (6 ft. for 15+ min) coming back 7 days after exposure even with a positive test. Our local health dept. is supportive of any school who wants to make their policy a 14 day quarantine so my school desperately needs something in writing for parents to refer to. 

Some background info:

My principal hasn't been receptive to our local health dept.'s recommendations for quarantine. She basically has made up her own guidelines for how to handle the positive COVID-19 cases in our school. I am in constant contact with our health dept. and our school has a designated liaison who makes recommendations and assists with contact tracing. We've only had 3 students test positive this year but listen to this craziness...

For the first case - teacher was quarantined for 14 days, students who were undoubtedly in close contact (6 ft. for 15 min.+) were quarantined for 14 days (seated immediately around the case or from sports). All other classmates were not quarantined. 

Second case - no teacher quarantine. Only those seated around the case at lunch were picked out to quarantine, no other classmates. 

Understandably, parents had a lot of questions and concerns about how differently each case was handled. We are a very small school and word spreads quickly. In both cases, I believed a 14 day quarantine for the entire classroom was the safest bet and I was 100% supported by our health dept. liaison. 

Boom - another positive case in the same homeroom less than 3 days later. Principal wanted to quarantine lunch-time crew only again. After many parents and teacher voiced concerns, our principal agreed to quarantine the classroom and teacher (recommendation from myself and the health dept.). 

I appreciate any help and hope you're all hanging in there! Happy Holidays!!

JoJoGo

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 29 years experience.

You should just copy and paste from your local health department guidelines. Ours has a very clear algorithm to follow. I just refer all my parents back to that algorithm. I copy and paste the link to it and send it to anyone who questions what we're doing.

 

We've handled cases differently, but we've learned as we went. First teacher who tested positive sent the entire middle school home and we q'd them all. Subsequent teachers have been much more careful about where they are teaching from and how many kids they spend time leaning in and "close" teaching with. Students have been harder-every kid sitting at a desk within 6 feet gets q'd. That can be 5+ kids per classroom x6 classes a day. We are also a small school, so some of the quarantines have led to remote learning for all of high school just because 1/2 in quarantine and 1/2 not makes it impossible for teachers to teach. 

 

It's rough, but just keep pressing on. Best of luck!

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

I second @JoJoGo copy and paste exactly from your LHD.  If your principal isn't cooperative I'd try to get your LHD rep to talk to them.  Also even if CDC recommends something that doesn't change your state or local HD guidelines for schools.  Mine stayed the same.  CDC didn't change because the science changed.  They changed with hopes of people being more compliant with quarantine and 7 day quarantine with testing is really for essential workers who must go to work or the entire company/industry will collapse. 

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 12 years experience.

Most (not all) of our positive people developed sx well within the 10 day window. I hope that helps.

I don't have much more to add - get the local health doc to speak to the principal. Sometimes the truth goes down better from an MD than me.

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

We are going with the new 10 day quarantine guideline from the CDC and my state's DPH. The science behind it is solid (99% of folks that develop COVID symptoms from a close contact exposure will develop then within 10 days) and it also aligns with those that test positive (at least 10 days minimum isolation). Explaining the difference between quarantine and isolation has been long and tiresome and folks were just saying to me "I still don't get it." 

Now it is all 10 days. We do not allow for the 7 days with a test on day 5 or later. I wanted it clean and simple and lowest risk and the head of my school/district agreed. 

Also, I just said I will quarantine an entire classroom cohort. We are cohorting to reduce mixing of students, but that same group is together ALL day and small encounters where social distancing isn't perfect can add up easily to 15+ minutes in that time. Luckily, yes, I also had full support here. 

::hugs:: OP. Keep fighting the good fight here.