HEALTH AND SAFETY
What is a close contact?
A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes, starting from two days before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. This means the close contact has possibly been exposed to the virus and can quarantine if they feel necessary.
How will I know if my child is a close contact? How will I know if I have been exposed as a staff member?
- Grades Pre-K through 5 – When a test-confirmed positive is reported, a/an letter/email will be sent to the positive student(s), confirmed close contacts, and the school for a general notification.. Parents/Guardians will be asked to monitor their student for symptoms. As long as the student remains symptom free, he/she will not be required to quarantine. If close contacts are identified, they will receive a phone call and a/an letter/email. A campus-wide general notification letter will be sent to the campus each day a positive case is reported.
- Grades 6-12 – When a test-confirmed positive is reported, a/an letter/email will be sent to the positive student(s), confirmed close contacts, and the school for a general notification.. Parents/Guardians will be asked to monitor their student for symptoms. As long as the student remains symptom free, he/she will not be required to quarantine. If close contacts are identified, they will receive a phone call and a/an letter/email. A campus-wide general notification letter will be sent to the campus each day a positive case is reported.
- Tracking Dashboard – The district is providing a link to the Tarrant County Public Health dashboard that monitors the COVID impact throughout the county. The district is also providing a dashboard dedicated to reporting the number of current test-confirmed COVID-19 cases within the district.
How will I know if there is a COVID-positive case on campus?
When test-confirmed cases are reported to the district, all staff and parents at the affected school will receive an emailed notification once contract tracing is complete. Due to state and federal privacy requirements, the name or details that may identify the individual cannot be released.
How will campuses support student and staff health at school?
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed at all main entrances at all district facilities. Portable, stand-alone dispenser stations also will be delivered to each facility for use wherever campus administration deems necessary.
- Students, teachers, staff, and campus visitors will be encouraged to sanitize and/or wash hands frequently.
- Schools will encourage students to engage in handwashing for at least 20 seconds at least two times each day, in addition to being encouraged to wash hands after using the restroom and before eating.
- Schools will teach students good handwashing techniques.
- Students, teachers, staff, and campus visitors will be encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and if not available, covered in their elbows. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash, hands should be washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or hand sanitizer should be used.
- On the first day a student attends school on campus, EMS ISD will provide instruction to students on appropriate hygiene and other health safety practices adopted in the local school system.
- Sneeze shields/guards will be installed to all locations for use in reception areas and/or other administrative areas as determined by campus leadership.
- Campuses have instituted more frequent cleaning practices, including additional cleaning and sanitization by custodial staff, as well as provide the opportunity for children to clean their own spaces before and after they are used, in ways that are safe and developmentally appropriate.
- Schools will arrange for cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces in classrooms between different class groups, if the same room will be used by multiple class groups. This could include objects such as shared tables/desks, shared supplies such as art supplies, and at high school, touch-powered devices such as shared laptops or tablets.
District custodial staff will implement the following measures within district facilities:
- Access to, and regular use of, additional disinfectant resources including electrostatic sprayers.
- More frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and high-touch surfaces during the day and at the end of each day. This includes doorknobs, handrails, etc.
- Disinfect all locations nightly utilizing cleaners approved by the EPA for use in treating COVID-19. The disinfectant meets or exceeds guidelines set by the CDC.
- Adjust custodial schedules so more staff can be onsite during the day to provide timely cleaning and disinfecting when students and employees are present.
- Per standard practice, ensure cleaning products are stored safely, including storing harmful products where children cannot access them, and ensuring that harmful cleaning products are not used near children.
- EMS ISD custodial staff will be trained in best practices for sanitization on campuses and throughout district buildings. Custodial supervisors will monitor CDC guidelines to ensure district procedures align with the most current recommendations. Trainings will be documented, signed, and dated by each employee.
- Classrooms and offices will be provided Pure Mist disinfectant spray for use when needed or desired.
How will the district screen students, staff, and visitors?
EMS ISD will require teachers and staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming onto campus each day. The self-screening will include teachers and staff taking their own temperature. Teachers and staff must report to the school system if they themselves have COVID-19 symptoms or are test-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry.
Screening Parents and Students
Students and families should perform a self-check of COVID-19-related symptoms prior to boarding a bus or entering an EMS ISD facility. Please do not come to school if you are sick or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Positive tests or symptoms should continue to be reported to the school nurse or using the Let’s Talk! reporting form.
Please follow each campus’ procedures related to welcoming visitors and receiving deliveries for staff or students.
In evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consider the following question: Have they recently begun experiencing any of the following in a way that is not normal for them?
- Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
- Loss of taste or smell
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or Headache
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Shaking or exaggerated shivering
- Significant muscle pain or ache
- Nausea or vomiting
This document refers to “close contact” with an individual who is test-confirmed to have COVID-19. In general, close contact is defined as: (a) being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or (b) being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes; however, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination.Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are test-confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test.Can I visit my child's school?
Please follow each campus’ procedures related to welcoming visitors and receiving deliveries for staff or students.
What is the district's mask policy?
Per Executive Order No. GA-38 from the Governor, school districts cannot require masks to be worn. However, EMS ISD will support students’ or employees’ choice to wear a mask or not.How will students eat on campus?
Cafeteria meal services will continue at both elementary and secondary levels with additional safety and sanitization practices implemented:
- Serving lines will be sanitized between each class or table, depending on how campus administration manages the release of students to the serving lines.
- All staff will continue to wear gloves.
- Shields will be placed at cash register stations to provide added protection for students and staff.
- Sneeze guards will be in place.
- All breakfast will be “grab-and-go” in a bag to reduce congregating.
- Salad bars will not be open while enhanced health safety measures are in place.
- Service times will be adjusted as needed to meet the needs of each campus.
- All Child Nutrition staff will participate in training in additional health safety protocols for meal service.
What do I do if my student has COVID-19 symptoms or has been diagnosed through a lab-confirmed positive test result?
Keep your student home and contact your campus nurse. If your student has symptoms, begin a 10-day quarantine from the time of your test or the onset of symptoms. If your student has been diagnosed with COVID-19 through a lab-confirmed positive test result, begin a 10-day quarantine from the time of the test or the onset of symptoms, whichever is earlier.
What do I do if my student has had direct exposure to someone with COVID-19?
Close contacts will be notified but will not be required to quarantine if they do not have symptoms. Close contact students who choose to voluntarily quarantine will follow the same process as if they are absent for any other illness.
What do I do if someone in our household is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?
This is considered a "close contact." Your child may quarantine if you feel it's appropriate.
What do I do if someone in our household has been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
This is considered a "contact of a contact." If a member of your household has been exposed to COVID-19 but is not experiencing symptoms and the student was not in close contact with the positive COVID-19 individual, then your student may continue attending school on campus. Continue to monitor for symptoms and follow CDC guidelines by:
- Maintaining good hygiene
- Practicing social distancing
- Wearing a mask
- Washing hands frequently
What do I do if my child is ready to return to school after having COVID-19 or its symptoms?
Your student can return to school when all three of the following criteria have been met:
- At least one day (24 hours) has passed since with no fever without the use of fever reducing medications and
- Ten (10) days have passed since the symptoms first appeared and
- Symptoms are improved
You also may submit a medical professional's note indicating an alternative diagnosis or obtain an acute infection test that comes back negative for COVID-19 to gain clearance to return to school. Students must check-in with the school nurse before being allowed to return to classes.
What do I do if I need to report a test-confirmed COVID-19 case during non-school hours?
Visit Let's Talk on the district website and complete the COVID-19 After-Hours Reporting Form. Someone from the campus or district will follow up with additional instructions.
What happens if someone infected with COVID-19 is on campus?
- Schools must immediately separate any student who shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school until the student can be picked up by a parent or guardian. The parent or guardian is expected to come pick up the student immediately.
- Schools will clean and sanitize the areas used by the individual who shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school (student, teacher, or staff) as soon as is feasible.
- Students who report feeling feverish will be given an immediate temperature check to determine if they are symptomatic for COVID-19.
Required Actions if Individuals with Lab-Confirmed Cases Have Been in a School
- If an individual who has been in a school is test-confirmed to have COVID-19, EMS ISD must notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Schools must close off areas that are heavily used by the individual with the lab-confirmed case (student, teacher, or staff) until the non-porous surfaces in those areas can be disinfected, unless more than seven (7) days have already passed since that person was on campus.
Free rapid antigen testing is available on every campus for students and staff through the school nurse. Central Office staff can access free testing through EMS ISD Health Services.