The Governor announced new protocols for quarantining students in a school setting on 9-29-20. These have been communicated and are in practice. The staff, students and parents have done an amazing job adjusting to the mask requirement.
If both the person who is positive and the person who is exposed are wearing face masks, only the student who is positive would be required to quarantine. Gaiters and Shields do not qualify for this change in protocols.
The key component of this change is the wearing of masks. If the positive student or exposed student are not wearing masks, they would both be required to quarantine for fourteen days. We recognize that the quarantining of students who are not positive has put a burden on our families. In conjunction with the announcement from the Governor's Press Conference and the Letter to Schools from Palo Alto Community Health, Emmetsburg Community School District will make the following changes starting Wednesday September 30, 2020:
All students PK-12 will be required to wear masks while at school. We have met with the Staff at West and they believe that students PK-2 will be able to make the adjustment. This will give us the ability to not have to quarantine a whole class of students with a positive case. Please contact your Building Principal if you need assistance with getting a mask for your child. Those with medical conditions that prohibit the wearing of masks and provide a medical providers note, would be exempt.
The change in quarantine protocol does not include the use of Face Shields or Gaiters. The change in protocol only applies when both the positive students and the exposed student were wearing a face mask.
Wearing of masks will be required by all spectators at all athletic events. Those with medical conditions that prohibit the wearing of masks and provide a medical providers note, would be exempt.
We now have new information that shields and/or gators are not yet approved by the CDC and therefore do not meet the requirements for the change in protocol. Shields and Gators would be subject to the old requirements that students and staff who are in Direct Contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes would need to quarantine for 14 days.
I am sure you can see our dilemma. We have a staff and students who wear shields or gators and will need to quarantine for 14 days if they come in Direct Contact with a positive case. If the person wearing the shield or mask is the one who is positive, everyone they come in Direct Contact with, mask or no mask will need to quarantine for 14 Days.
Masks are required when working with students when you cannot ensure 6 feet of Social Distancing for a period longer than 10 minutes. We are asking that we keep close contact with students to a minimum when working closely with students and not wearing a mask.
The use of shields or gaiters is permissible when you can ensure Social Distancing. We are asking that we keep close contact with students to a minimum when working closely with students and not wearing a mask.
The reality is that we will really need to balance both Masks and Shields/Gaiters depending on our proximity to students.
Students will be required to wear masks. Shields/Gaiters will not meet the requirement.
Teachers have the discretion to have students take masks off when in a setting that guarantees Social Distancing.
Students with medical conditions that prohibit the wearing of a face mask will need to be socially distanced to prevent themselves or others from the need to quarantine.
Spectators will be required to wear masks. Shields/Gaiters will not meet the requirement.
ECSD believes that continued implementation of the current mitigation strategies in conjunction with the modifications listed above, allow us to achieve our COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies Goal of:
Do everything possible to keep our students and staff safe and healthy and in school
Do everything possible for our kids to continue to play and compete
Darren D. Hanna
Emmetsburg Community School District