Modified Quarantine Protocols

Posted on 12/03/2020
Superintendent Update - Modified Quarantine Protocols - November 24, 2020


November 24, 2020

FHSD Staff and Families:

Today, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health issued modified quarantine protocols for K-12 schools regarding quarantines in the school setting. These rules come on the heels of new guidance from the state of Missouri, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Beginning November 30, 2020, the Francis Howell School District will implement the new quarantine procedures as established by local health officials in collaboration with local school superintendents:

If both individuals at school – the person diagnosed with COVID-19 and the person exposed to the positive case – have masks on and are wearing them correctly, the individual exposed will be able to attend school as long as they remain symptom free.

This modified quarantine protocol applies to FHSD students and staff – only for exposures in the school setting when both parties are properly masked. The new rule cannot be applied retroactively, so those individuals currently on quarantine must remain quarantined through their release date.

Please note the following:
• Contact tracing will still be conducted and close contacts will be identified, notified, and reported to the health department.

• Close contacts who were properly masked at the time of exposure will continue to be placed in quarantine, but will be provided an exception to report to school daily, as long as they are not showing symptoms.

• Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed at school until cleared to return.

• Symptomatic students and staff members will not be allowed at school.

• Close contacts under modified quarantine will not be able to participate in extracurricular sports and activities, or leave the house and gather with others during the quarantine period – other than to attend school.

• The health department will continue to follow its normal quarantine procedures in instances where one or both parties were unmasked during a school exposure, or when contact occurs outside of school, regardless of mask usage. This would include exposures during lunch and sports/activities. In these cases, close contacts will not be allowed to return to school or work until cleared (generally 14 days after exposure).

Though the authority to modify quarantine rules rests with the health department and not the District, our contact tracing data supports this change.

As is the case in many school districts—and recently confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control—the majority of positive cases stem from contact outside of school. We’re seeing little evidence of transmission in our schools, and those quarantined out of precaution due to contact with a positive case at school are very rarely contracting the virus themselves.

This data further highlights that our behaviors outside of school matter. With numbers on the rise in our region and across the state, proper mask usage – both inside and outside of school – is even more important than ever.

Please join me in supporting our teachers, our staff, our healthcare workers, and all other essential workers by committing to four simple behaviors: Avoid crowds, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay home when sick.

As we’ve done all along, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our protocols when necessary.

We know that some families may wish to re-evaluate the learning option selected for second semester based on these new quarantine procedures. We think it’s only fair that you be able to do so. Changes will be accepted through Wednesday, December 2. Please contact your child’s school next week if you wish to modify your learning option. (Please note that buildings are closed Wednesday through Friday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday).

Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we navigate this dynamic situation. We will continue to update you as we learn more.

Dr. Nathan Hoven
Superintendent

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