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Bulloch Schools Report 2 Positive COVID-19 Cases at 2 Schools

The following is a release published by Bulloch Schools. It has been updated, per BCS, to reflect the date of notification as August 19, not August 20. Release provided at 1:45pm on 8/19/20

Two Confirmed positive COVID-19 cases:  One at Langston Chapel Middle School and One at Mattie Lively Elementary School

  • On August 19, Langston Chapel Middle School and Mattie Lively Elementary Schools administrators and their school nurses were notified of a positive COVID-19 case at their schools.
  • Each school enacted their COVID-19 safety protocols that were developed in partnership with the Department of Public Health.
  • Each school immediately identified any persons who had close contact and exposure to the person, quarantined them in the school, and contacted their parents to pick them up.
  • At Langston Chapel Middle School 25 students have been quarantined, and four staff members and two students at Mattie Lively Elementary.
  • All other students are safe to remain and return to school. There is no need to pick up your child from school unless you were contacted by the school to do so, and you do not have to quarantine your child or keep them from returning to school unless you were contacted by the school to do so.
  • The identified students will be quarantined for 14 days at home, and they will receive instruction from their Bulloch County Schools teachers via distance learning using the school district’s Google Classroom and Google Meets tools.
  • Per the Department of Public Health, the quarantined students may not return to school, even with a doctor’s note, until they have completed the 14-day quarantine period and have no COVID-19 symptoms. School nurses will monitor this quarantine to ensure no person returns to the building until their quarantine period is complete and the person has no symptoms.
  • All schools practice deep cleaning measures throughout the day, and the area where the COVID-19 person was present has been temporarily closed to receive immediate deep cleaning.

Superintendent approves communication of COVID-19 positive cases

On August 14, Superintendent Charles Wilson revised his position on how  Bulloch County Schools will communicate information about known COVID-19 cases at the school district’s offices and schools.

“After further discussion with the Department of Public Health (DPH), our school nurses, our school district’s public relations director, and reliable media resources, as well as further consideration of community feedback, I have modified our communication plans related to COVID-19,” Wilson said.  “We believe that this will still allow us as an employer to protect the individual privacy of our employees, and as a public education provider, the privacy of our students. We will continue to partner with the DPH in the way they have asked us to, and responsibly provide information to our community at large.”

How is COVID-19 related absence information monitored?

  • School nurses will collect information on students and employees that are out due to reasons related to COVID-19 so that the school district can adequately monitor their absence and their return to school or work.
  • The school district will actively communicate with the DPH when school or district personnel become aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 that affects an employee or student. School nurses have the necessary DPH contact information to do this.
  • The DPH will handle the contact tracing related to a confirmed case.

How will parents whose child has been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person be notified and what are their next steps?

  • Based upon the exact factual circumstances and DPH guidance, the school district will communicate privately to those in the school who are determined to have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19  and advise them to quarantine for an appropriate time period.
  • Internal protocols are in place to monitor employees’ and students’ quarantine periods to ensure that they do not return to school or work prematurely.
  •  If your child has close contact in the school environment with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you will receive a telephone call from your school.
  • School personnel will inform you that your child was exposed to someone who has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, and that in accordance with DPH guidelines your child will need to quarantine at home.  You will be provided a date that your child can return to school.
  • During this time, you should monitor your child for any COVID-19 symptoms, and contact your health care provider if there are any concerns.  You will also receive a follow up telephone call from the school’s nurse.
  • At no time will any individual health information about other students or employees be shared with anyone.  The privacy of individual student health information is protected by the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), and individual school district employee health information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

How will the public will be informed of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases?

  • The school district’s Public Relations Department will generate a press release to local and area news media and a communication to all parents when there is a known confirmed case of COVID-19 that impacts one of our schools.
  • This information will be site specific, but will not include any specific information related to the individual(s) involved.

How will students who are absent due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or quarantine receive instruction or make up work?

As a student is well and able, the school district’s distance learning option is activated for them, and the student will receive instruction and assignments at home from their Bulloch County Schools teachers via Google Classroom and Google Meet. Once a child can return after a quarantine period, face-to-face learning can resume.

How should families conduct daily self-checks to help stop the spread of COVID-19?

Before you go to work or school, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Monitor all members of your household

Continuously monitor members of your household for the following symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Body Aches
  • Chills
  • Congestion or Runny Nose
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Shortness of Breath /Difficulty Breathing
  • Sore Throat

STEP 2: Keep your child home when sick or exposed.

Do not send your child to school if any of the following apply to your child:

  • Exhibits any of the above symptoms that are inconsistent with any other expected seasonal health conditions (such as allergies), other common illnesses, or ongoing chronic conditions.
  • Lives in the same household as a sick person with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis;
  • Provides care for a sick person with COVID-19;
  • Has close contact (within 6 feet) of a sick person with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more;
  • Has direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissed, shared utensils, etc.).

STEP 3: Inform the school of your child’s absence

Inform the school of your child’s absence if it is due to possible COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to a positive or symptomatic person by doing one of the following:

  • Call your school nurse;
  • Complete the online form found on your school’s website homepage in the red News Alert section, entitled, COVID-19:  Stop the Spread – A Daily Reference Guide forFamilies; or
  • Scan the QR code on the COVID-19:  Stop the Spread – A Daily Reference Guide for Families flyer that your child received at school.

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