November 23, 2020
Republic School District Families and Employees,
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has released the below information in regards to the implementation of modified quarantines. This allows students to continue attending school after a properly masked, low-risk exposure to COVID19.
As the release indicates, this does not totally eliminate the need for traditional quarantine procedures. It does, however, provide some leniency to allow for students to continue attending school after a properly masked, low-risk exposure to COVID19.
Please read through the release for details, but we’d like to call attention to a few specifics:
- Modified quarantines are only applicable to properly masked kindergarten-12th grade students. This means both the individual who is positive AND the individual who is exposed must be properly masked.
- Modified quarantines are not applicable for preschool students or for adult employees.
- Modified quarantines are only applicable for attending school. Per Springfield-Greene County Health Department, it is not applicable to activities, athletics or other circumstances that take place outside of the traditional school day. Therefore, outside of the school day these students would still need to quarantine at home.
- District employees will receive additional information from principals/directors soon.
As a result of these new guidelines, Republic School District will immediately implement a masking mandate for ALL kindergarten-12th grade students along with ALL adults both in our facilities and on school buses. This means when students report back to school (scheduled for December 3), they must all be masked. As the release indicates, masks are required. The use of shields must be minimized and a double-layered gator must be used to qualify.
There are several students currently on quarantine that will be able to return to seated school on December 3 due to these new guidelines. If your student is applicable to return, you will receive an email from the district with details over the next few days. If your child is currently quarantined and does not qualify for a modification, you will not be contacted at this time and your student should continue their traditional quarantine.
Moving forward, the district will continue (in partnership with Springfield-Greene County Health Department/Maximus) to individually call parents/guardians of students who are high-risk exposures that need to implement a traditional quarantine. However, if your child is considered a low-risk exposure that qualifies for a modified quarantine, parents/guardians will receive an email notification. As a reminder, this only means that the student is able to attend school. Those placed in modified quarantine must continue to quarantine at home outside of the regular school day.
Please take note we are fully aware of the increase in positive COVID19 cases in our school community. This new guidance will not be used in any way to put students or staff at risk. If we feel there is a possibility of an increased exposure risk, we will be airing on the side of caution and continuing with traditional quarantine measures. However, because of the very low percentage of positive COVID19 cases being transmitted at school, we feel this new leniency allows for us to keep healthy children inside our classrooms where we feel students learn best. As with everything during this uncertain time, we will monitor this new implementation and make adjustments if needed.
Should you have questions, inquiries from the public can be made by contacting the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s call center at (417) 874-1211 or by email at email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued support as we navigate COVID19’s impact on our school community.
Director of Communications
Republic School District
RELEASE FROM THE SPRINGFIELD-GREENE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT:
Health Department to allow strict modified quarantine exclusively in educational setting
In light of growing evidence that suggests the low risk of COVID-19 transmission among children as well as guidance from state authorities, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department will allow strict modified quarantine procedures in K-12 schools under limited circumstances. This means in some circumstances, children may continue to go to school during their quarantine period, despite being identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19.
School districts that choose to adopt these guidelines may implement the new policies immediately. It will be up to school districts to determine whether they will change their processes, and if so, how to implement those changes. Schools may adopt stricter guidelines, if they choose.
Strict modified quarantine will only be permitted among children in schools where masking is universal. Teachers and other adult staff will not be eligible for modified quarantine. Additionally, this will exclusively extend to the classroom only—not to outside activities or other circumstances.
Since the beginning of the school year, 8% of all positive COVID-19 cases in Greene County were among students ages 5 through 17. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is partnering with area schools, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Washington University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine the impact mitigation measures such as masking and physical distancing have on school transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, the Department will work closely with area schools to assess individual situations and will adjust the approach as appropriate.
Acceptable circumstances for modified quarantine in schools
There are several conditions that must be met for students to be eligible for modified quarantine.
Modified quarantine will only apply to children in the school setting where both the infected individual and the close contact were masked at the time of contact. If at any time, a child was within 6 feet of an infectious individual for more than 15 minutes while either person was unmasked, they would not be eligible for modified quarantine.
- Schools must adopt and enforce a universal mask ordinance for everyone ages 2 and up without a medical exemption.
- Extended direct physical contact with an infectious individual requires standard quarantine.
- Schools must have significant mitigation strategies in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- A procedure for screening for COVID-19 and immediate isolation of anyone with symptoms must be in place.
- Students in classrooms with more than one positive case linked to classroom spread are not eligible for modified quarantine
During the modified quarantine time, the child may only leave home to go to school. They may not participate in extracurricular activities or otherwise potentially expose others. During the school day, children are not permitted to participate in any activity in which a mask cannot be worn, and they must be seated at least 6 feet away from other students during lunch.
The detailed guidance can be found at health.springfieldmo.gov/modifiedquarantine. It builds upon procedures outlined by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. That updated guidance is available HERE.
Inquiries from the public can be made by contacting the Health Department’s call center at (417) 874-1211 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.