Center Grove Schools Superintendent, Dr. Rich Arkanoff and other district staff employees hosted a virtual Coffee Chat and shared plans for reopening as well as safety and health protocols. We’ve seen schools like Washington Township reopening virtually only, Noblesville Schools are reopening with an in-person, virtual and hybrid option, IPS schools opening both virtually and in-person and now Center Grove Schools who are opening but have done an excellent job answering questions about what happens after a child or adult tests positive.
- Pending school board approval (July 23), Center Grove will begin school on August 5th instead of August 4th.
- There are two options: traditional, in-person school and full time virtual school. Families must commit to a full semester in the option they select.
- The traditional option has a goal of 100% of students in classrooms as “normal”. In the event that it becomes necessary, 100% of students may move to e-learning. In the event that the state directs for further social distancing, the traditional setting is prepared to have a blended option that allows for groups of students to alternate being on campus and e-learning.
- The Center Grove Virtual option will be offered for K-12 if enrollment is enough to fill a class. This will be fully online and students will not be allowed to participate in sports or any extracurricular activities. Families need to fill out the RSVP form by July 19.
- Face coverings will be required on buses, in the lunchroom until they are seated, in hallways while changing classes and sometimes in classrooms during partner and collaborative work, if the teacher prefers and in classes where social distancing cannot be carried out. Students will be provided with two masks each. Teachers will be provided with reusable face shields. There will be exceptions for some students.
- The Center Grove cleaning procedures of both buses and classrooms have been amped up. Parents were told of all of the plans, from applying a special formula to the entire bus that treats an area for up to six months (this will be reapplied at Fall break and Spring break, to a three step process of cleaning classrooms, including the use of an electrostatic sprayer.
What Happens When a School Has a COVID Case?
Health Services Coordinator, Amy Norman, RN laid out the COVID protocols for Center Grove Schools.
Students should not attend school if they are experiencing: Fever 100 degrees or higher, new loss of taste or smell, chills, congestion, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue.
Amy from Center Grove Schools shared that if clinic staff examines a student and suspects COVID-19 then additional instructions will be given to the parents about returning to school. Students sent home from the clinic will be required to stay out of school for 10 days unless they visit their own health care provider and have a doctor’s note indicating a different diagnosis.
Protocols with a Positive COVID-19 Test
Amy said that the state has made the expectations clear. Amy speaks to the county health department on a very regular basis. She recognizes that students often come to the clinic with these same symptoms but she requests parents help with identifying within their child. There will be no mass communication that a Center Grove student or employee has tested positive for COVID.
If a student or teacher test positive for COVID 19 and they have symptoms, they must remain home in isolations for at least 10 days from the date symptoms began and 72 hours/3 days fever free without fever reducing medications and improvement of respiratory symptoms. Example, the student runs a fever for 10 days, they will still have to remain out of school for an additional 3 days.
If student or staff members test positive but have no symptoms, they are to isolate at home for 10 days from the day the test was taken. If they develop symptoms then the 10 day isolations begins on day one of the symptoms.
Isolation – You’re sick and you stay away from other people.
Quarantine – You’re not sick, but you stay away from other people because you may have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Close Contact – Have you been within 6 feet of a person who is confirmed positive for more than 15 minutes.
Parents are asked to contact the school if their child has a positive test
Protocols with a Negative COVID-19 Test
If you have a negative test but exhibit the symptoms, it is presumed that you still may have COVID but have a false negative.
With Symptoms: If a student or staff member has symptoms of COVID 19 and they test negative but no alternate explanation is given from your healthcare professional, they must isolate for 10 days from the time the first symptoms started, be 72 hours fever free without the use of fever reducer and have improvement of respiratory symptoms. If the test is negative and your have a doctor’s note providing an alternate diagnosis, you may return to school.
Without Symptoms: If the student or staff member tested negative and has no symptoms, they may attend school unless they were within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of a person with a confirmed case. If this is the case, they must complete a 14 day quarantine even if test results are negative.
COVID-19 Protocols if Your Student is in Close Contact with a Confirmed Case
Patient If you are within 6 feet for 15 minutes ore more of someone with a confirmed COVID19 case, the person must quarantine for 14 days before returning to school, remain symptom free. If symptoms develop, refer to the symptomatic protocols and contact your healthcare provider.
What will happen in school that a student or teacher tests positive in the school. The decisions are being made with the help to determine next steps. This situation is fluid because the school is using face coverings and attempting social distancing. School designees will look at whether the student rides the bus and who sits next to them, near them, are they in an isle seat? All of these will be taken in to consideration.
Thy will look through classroom seating charts and with the guidance fo the health department, they will determine who is considered as “close contact.” Then those families will be contacted and parents will be called to be informed that their child was identified as in close contact and they need to quarantine for 14 days. The name of the child/staff member who tested positive will not be identified. The use of masks and social distancing will help cut down on how many children and staff members come within close contact of one another.
Only those who are identified as close contact will be notified and asked to quarantine. Example: A student tests positive in a class, the only people who will be contacted will be those close contacts in the class (based on seating charts, etc). It is possible that not everyone in the classroom will be required to quarantine. Amy Norman said that she hope to only exclude 2-4 students per class since students will be wearing masks.
Parents should contact other known close contacts such as friends, teams and others the student spends time with.
Even without symptoms, if a student or staff member has had contact with a person who is suspected or has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or someone in their home is being tested or they have recently traveled from somewhere considered to be a hot spot by the CDC, the district may exclude the student or employee from the school building and recommend they self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.
According to State Guidelines, people within one degree of separation of a confirmed case need to quarantine. Friends of friends who have a friend who tested positive do not since the friend is not a confirmed case.
Questions the Health Department Will Ask
- Were they wearing a mask?
- Who was in close proximity?
What Happens if a Child Has a Fever Only?
In the past, students were to stay home for 24 hours following the end of a fever, but now students are to remain home for a minimum of 72 hours after the fever ends. At this time, it is recommended that they contact their healthcare provider if there are additional symptoms or prolonged fever.
Make-up Work for Students Who Miss School Due to COVID
Nora Hoover, Assistant Superintended said, that if a traditional student is out for COVID related absences, they will NOT switch to virtual schooling at that time. The normal structures for makeup work will not work, so a new structure is being developed to support students who are out for extended absences. Students will be able to access their work while they are not at school. In elementary school, students will work on the same standards that their class is on. With secondary grades, it sounds like students would work directly with their teachers to coordinate this. The school is currently working on structures to provide this. Dr. Arkanoff pointed out that this has always happened in the past when students have extended illnesses. The structure development at this time is with the focus on being able to do this for a larger number of students.
When Would Schools Close Due to COVID?
If the governor does not move us from stage 4.5 and in to stage 5, where full capacity is permitted (instead of 250) and an exception is not made for schools, e-learning will be put in to place for the entire student body. The A/B model will not work in this scenario either. These types of closure decisions will come from the Governor’s office and State Health Department. If allowed to be at 50% capacity, that can be done, but nothing less than that.