Hello LEAD family!
I am writing to share an important COVID-19 update with you, specifically as it relates to our approach to contact tracing and quarantines. As you may have seen, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced on January 25th that it is ending contact tracing in most circumstances. You can see the details of their statement by clicking on the link.
Since their statement, more than 50% of the school divisions we serve, including Hopewell City Public Schools, have removed contact tracing from their schools. Contact tracing has put a fairly significant administrative burden on staff with creating virtual lessons and a significant burden on families of our students who have been placed on virtual services due to contact tracing. As we’ve said from the beginning – we know that in-person instruction is the best form of instruction for our students.
Working in conjunction with several school divisions and after reviewing the current guidance and protocols, we have decided to take the following approach to COVID-19 quarantines and contact tracing, effective Wednesday 2/16/2022 and mask guidance effective Tuesday, 3/1/2022:
– We will no longer be https://unovahealth.com/online-pharmacy/ contact tracing for individual COVID-19 cases at LEAD, following the Virginia Department of Health’s lead.
– Students who test positive for COVID-19 must continue to isolate themselves at home for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms or their positive test result, whichever occurs first. Remote learning will continue for students, to the greatest extent possible, who test positive for COVID-19 and are required to quarantine, currently or in the future.
– Staff who test positive must quarantine for five days (5) from the onset of their symptoms or their positive test result, whichever occurs first. They will return to work with mask wearing following that quarantine period, assuming they are asymptomatic. This includes being fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
MASKING FOR HEALTHY, ASYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS:
– Effective March 1: Masks are optional for students.
– Effective March 4: Masks will be optional for staff.
GUIDANCE FOR POSITIVE TESTS:
- Classrooms with someone who tests positive will be notified of the positive test result and the class will refrain from gathering with other classrooms in the lunch room or other areas where students could intermingle for a period of five (5) days following the positive test result.
- If 3 or more people test positive within one classroom within a period of 10 days the administrative team will meet to determine if additional quarantine and isolation measures are needed.
- Contact tracing will still apply to staff families. If someone living in your household tests positive and you meet exposure criteria, then you will need to quarantine for a period of 5 days.
- Contact tracing will still apply to student families. If a student’s family member tests positive, then he/she will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days. Families must notify LEAD if someone tests positive in the home.
- The quarantine periods are different for student than staff due to the inability of our students to wear a tight-fitting mask for the second 5 day period of the current CDC isolation recommendations.
- Quarantining is not necessary for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days per CDC guidance.
I recognize these decisions represent a significant change in our approach at LEAD. However, this shift allows our staff to spend greater focus on teaching and caring for the educational needs of our students, as well as the successful operation of our school. Since the onset of COVID-19 almost 2 years ago, we have been committed to the wellbeing of our students and staff. At LEAD we are still committed to following current guidance and creating the safest environment possible for everyone.
We will continue with other health mitigation strategies, such as encouraging social distancing to the greatest extent possible, frequently cleaning our building, bathrooms, and high-touch surfaces, and routinely running air purifiers in classrooms. As we know, the most effective health mitigation strategy is to ensure staff and students are not in the building while sick. We are asking you to help with mitigation protocols to ensure that if your child has symptoms that you do not send him/her to school. Please note that students who are sent to school with symptoms will be sent home.
I ask for your continued flexibility as we navigate through these ongoing changes. I am extremely grateful for your continued support of our efforts to keep our schools open and safe. We’ve done a phenomenal job at LEAD in maintaining a healthy environment and positive staff and student culture! I want to see that trend continue, even as the guidance shifts with this change and any future changes to come.
The LEAD Center staff is committed to responding to your questions and/or concerns. Please contact Chrissy Fukushima at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-452-3730, ext. 348 if you have questions.
Chrissy Fukushima, Executive Director