Dr. Shultz May 15 Update

CHANGES TO STUDENT QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS
Posted on 05/16/2021
Update from the Superintendent, Dr. Carl Shultz

CHANGES TO STUDENT QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS

May 15, 2021
Students, Parents, Staff and Community Members,

As you are most likely aware, there have been multiple modifications made this week to COVID-19 Guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). These updates demonstrate positive momentum in the fight to safely begin returning to a more “normal” state of being for our state and nation. The updates that will impact Bedford Public Schools students and staff immediately are in relation to our close contact quarantine protocols.

STUDENT QUARANTINE

On Monday, May 10, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a statement that the department will no longer issue or enforce orders requiring students to quarantine when identified as a close contact within schools. The statement included details regarding the ability of local county health departments to develop their own countywide health orders as necessary in relation to student quarantines. As of today, Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) has not issued a local health order mandating student quarantines and instead have stated that local school districts should follow their own district data and guidelines.

BPS Administration and staff have continuously monitored and reported COVID-19 Case Data as necessary and required by state legislation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the district has reported a total of 209 confirmed positive student cases and 2,259 close contact quarantines following state and county guidelines. This data is significant, as it has helped district officials to clearly understand the correlation between positive cases and virus transmission within our classrooms. A closer look into this district-specific data shows that out of the identified 209 confirmed positive student COVID-19 cases, only 8 total cases can be traced directly back to transmission within a BPS classroom. To state this in simplified terms, less than 4% of our total student positive cases were a result of contact within our school buildings. Based on the diligent contact tracing activities of our BPS nursing staff and building administrators, it has been demonstrated that a great majority of our positive cases are the result of family member contact and activities outside of the traditional school day.

Additionally, the commitment of our families to monitor for COVID-19 related symptoms and keeping symptomatic students home has had a dramatic impact on the level of in-school transmission. Managing COVID-19 has been an ever-changing situation and we remain committed to providing you with the best and most current information. Using this evidence and continued school-level mitigation strategies already in place, we believe that we can safely reduce the instances where close contact quarantining will be necessary for students.

Effective immediately, Bedford Public Schools will only quarantine individual non-fully vaccinated students identified as close contacts when:

1) Student lives in a household where a member of the family has a confirmed positive COVID-19 test.

2) Student is a close contact in a documented COVID-19 “outbreak” within the school setting (MDHHS defines an outbreak as two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household).

BPS is proud and thankful for the continued partnership with our students, families, staff, and community. The change enacted today is the result of our collective efforts to contain and overcome this pandemic. While we recognize that COVID-19 related decisions often come with varied community opinions, we continue to rely on the guidance of the medical experts at the state and federal levels as well as our own COVID-19 data. We are confident that this change will provide students with far greater educational opportunities while continuing to maintain the safe learning environment that our students and staff have enjoyed throughout this year. Thank you for your trust and partnership as we navigate through this pandemic. Your patience, flexibility, and understanding are truly appreciated.

Respectfully,
Carl Shultz, Ph.D
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools

UPDATED STUDENT QUARANTINE PROTOCOL FAQ

(Students that are fully vaccinated based on CDC Guidelines will not need to quarantine unless they are experiencing active symptoms)

Does this impact the ten-day isolation for positive cases?
No. Positive cases will still need to isolate for ten days from the onset of symptoms or from the testing date.

Do family members of a positive case still need to quarantine?
Yes. Family members will still be required to quarantine for the full 20 days (ten days of isolation and an additional ten days of quarantine) from the positive test or onset of symptoms for the positive case.

Will the school still contact trace?
Yes. We will still identify and document close contacts of positive cases within our school buildings however only students who develop symptoms will be required to quarantine. If your student is identified as a close contact, the school will inform you, but the student will not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms.

Will the District still enact quarantines?

Yes, but only as needed. For example, if two or three cases occur in a classroom or sports team, the entire classroom or team may need to quarantine. Each case will be evaluated separately.

Does this impact quarantine for staff?
No. Under Public Act 339 of 2020, staff members are still required to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact unless they are fully vaccinated or were positive for COVID in the past 90 days.

Do athletes still need weekly testing?
Yes. This change is specific only to quarantine of close contacts within a school setting. Athletes must still adhere to the MDHHS orders for competition.

Should my student stay home with COVID related symptoms?

Yes. This is especially true if your student is a close contact to a positive case. We have multiple instances where students remained home when ill, later tested positive for COVID, and no other staff or students were infected because the student stayed home. Please keep your children home until they are 24 hours without symptoms or have an alternate diagnosis such as allergies.

Does this change the need for social distancing?

No. Social distancing is still included in the Federal and State orders.

Does this change the need for cleaning protocols?
No. Cleaning protocols are still included in the Federal and State orders.

When can my student return from quarantine?
All students who are currently on school-related quarantine can return to school/activities effective immediately, unless they are a part of a household where a positive case has been diagnosed.

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