Hello! I hope the warmer weather is bringing you a new sense of hope, health, and a feeling of happiness. As the second half of our school year is quickly moving forward and spring break is just around the corner, I want to share an important update with you.
The St. Charles County Department of Public Health (SCCDPH) has announced this week that the county quarantine orders have changed and will now be aligned with CDC guidelines. The SCCDPH new protocols are retroactive and started Wednesday, 3/10. All students and staff who are currently on quarantine and qualify for the new quarantine changes WILL be receiving an updated letter from the SCCDPH through email. Here are the highlights you need to know:
SCCDPH Quarantine Length Changes
(This applies only to exposures and close contacts, not positive/probable cases of COVID-19.)
- An individual may maintain a shorter period of quarantine (originally 14 days) under one of the following circumstances:
- Completely Symptom Free after Exposure for Ten (10) Days
- After remaining completely symptom free through and including the tenth day of quarantine, an individual may discontinue in-home quarantine for the remainder of the 14 days.
- Wearing a mask and social distancing at all times remains critical throughout the remainder of the fourteen days following exposure to COVID-19 to reduce the spread to others.
- If symptoms develop at any time after discontinuation of in-home quarantine, seek testing, notify SCCDPH, and immediately isolate within the home
- Completely Symptom Free after Exposure for Seven (7) Days AND Negative Test after Exposure
- If (1) the individual remained completely symptom free through and including the seventh day of quarantine, AND (2) has received a negative COVID-19 test result from a medical provider (NOT an at-home test) which was collected on or after the fifth day following the exposure, the individual may discontinue in-home quarantine for the remainder of the 14 days. PCR testing is preferred, but a Rapid Amplification or Antigen testing could be utilized.
- Wearing a mask and social distancing at all times remain critical throughout the remainder of the fourteen days following exposure to COVID-19 to reduce the spread to others.
- If symptoms develop at any time after discontinuation of in-home quarantine, seek testing, notify SCCDPH, and immediately isolate within home
- Important Note: Because wearing a mask and social distancing at all times remains critical throughout the remainder of the fourteen days following exposure to COVID-19 to reduce the spread to others, our early childhood students will not be able to come back to school early under the new changes because we cannot guarantee proper mask wearing and social distancing in the classrooms.
- Should the individual experience even 1 symptom on the list, they no longer qualify for the shortened quarantine period.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- The SCCDPH is allowing the same circumstances as above for the modified quarantine. If minor symptoms develop and are not deemed probable, the individual can return to their modified quarantine after 24 hours symptom free and must complete modified quarantine for the duration of their original 14 days.
Household contact quarantine
- This quarantine will remain the same. The individual will need to quarantine for 14 days after their last exposure. They do not qualify for the shortened quarantine options.
- The DHSS/DESE guidance and the CDC recommend abstaining from participation in high risk activities inside or outside of school where masks cannot be worn effectively and social distancing is not possible during the 7 or 10 day shortened quarantine options. High risk activities include sports or activities where social distancing is not possible. (Building Principals and Athletic Directors will be able to assist in determining what activities students may be eligible to participate in under these new guidelines.)
Also, we are preparing for a vaccination distribution event for educators in our county at St. Charles West on March 27. If you and/or someone you know is a registered nurse and would like to help vaccinate school staff, please contact Julie McClard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy spring! Let’s continue to be safe, social distance, and stay masked up. We would love to finish our in-person learning strong this school year, but it’s up to us all to continue to do our essential part.
Dr. Jason Sefrit
Superintendent of Schools