COVID-19

COVID-19 Information Page

The St. Joseph School District is committed to transparency as we communicate to our school community and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it does take time to ascertain facts and details of a reported case when we learn about it. We ask your patience as we work to first take care of the individuals who test positive and anyone in which they may have come into close contact.

We have developed a chart that will list the number of confirmed cases by student and staff  and those who have are quarantined. The charts will be updated every Friday.

The SJSD reports positive cases to the St. Joseph Health Department and relies on their guidance and recommendations regarding self-isolation and quarantine requirements.

Although the district discloses case information to the St. Joseph Health Department, we must maintain confidentiality for the individual who tests positive.

To assist us in mitigating cases, please remember the 3 W’s:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Wear your mask
  3. Watch your distance

    Ask your child the following questions before sending them out the door every morning:

  4. Does your child have a fever?
  5. Does your child have a new cough?
  6. Has your child experienced nausea, vomiting or diarrhea?
  7. Does your child have a sore throat?
  8. Does your child have a headache?
  9. Has your child lost smell or taste?

If your child is sick, please STAY HOME. 

COVID-19 Symptoms
In evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consider the following question:

Have they recently begun experiencing any of the following in a way that is not normal for them?

  • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Sore Throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Shaking or exaggerated shivering
  • Significant muscle pain or ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

Key Definitions

Close Contact: Defined as “close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. The definition of close contact is evolving with our understanding of COVID-19, and individual scenarios should be determined by an appropriate public health agency. In general, close contact is defined as:

  1. being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or
  2. being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes; however, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination.

Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test.

Close contacts should follow the stay at home protocol as outlined by the CDC. COVID-19 testing for close contacts is not necessary, as negative test results can occur at any time while the virus is incubating. The role of schools in identifying close contacts is to provide relevant information to local health departments, not to determine close contacts in the absence of public health guidance.

Screening: Screening is an activity that campuses conduct to identify and temporarily exclude from campus those who may have been exposed to COVID, to keep the virus out of campuses. 

Screening is accomplished by asking questions via electronic methods, by phone, and/or in person to determine that individuals:

  • Are not lab-confirmed with COVID-19
  • Do not themselves have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have not come into close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19

Case InvestigationDiscussions with a COVID-19-positive individual to determine who may have spread and/or been infected and how that spread may have occurred.

Contact Tracing: The identification of individuals who have been exposed as close contacts to COVID-19 and are as a result possibly infected themselves, but pre-symptomatic.

Case investigation and contact tracing will be conducted by the local health entity. If an infected individual was on campus during the infectious period, school personnel will need to provide information to inform the case investigation and contact tracing process.

Staying Home: Staying home allows individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to monitor their symptoms during the period in which they may be infectious. These individuals should separate themselves from others outside their home, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health entity.

Because doctors believe a positive person can infect others with COVID-19 for two days prior to experiencing symptoms, and symptoms may take 14 days to appear, if an individual is made aware that they are a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they should immediately begin to stay home and continue to do so during the virus incubation period. It is important for schools to keep track of the individuals who have been directed by local public health entities or asked by the school to stay at home, so they can temporarily remain home. In most cases, local health entities will notify close contacts that they should:

  • Stay home until 14 days after last close contact with confirmed positive COVID-19 individual
  • Check temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19
  • If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19

Self-Isolation: Self-isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID19 (including those who are sick with the virus and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).

Self-isolation allows individuals who may have been infected with COVID-19 to recover while trying not to infect others. Based on medical professionals’ understanding of how long an individual is infectious after fever and other symptoms disappear, self-isolation can end when a symptomatic or lab-confirmed individual meets all three of the following conditions for return to school:

  • 24 hours with no fever;
  • Symptoms improved; and
  • 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

Or:

  • Obtain an acute infection test at an approved testing location that comes back negative for COVID-19.

Or:

  • A doctor’s note indicating an alternate diagnosis

Staying Home vs. Self-Isolation
Staying Home:
 Purpose of this period is to prevent pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals from spreading the virus.

  • Asks individuals to stay at home, but no further precaution required
  • Applies to close contacts of confirmed positive individuals
  • Individuals don’t have symptoms, but they have been identified as having a higher likelihood that they may have the virus
  • Duration lasts for 14 days from close contact
  • There is no need to get a test, because the individual could be incubating the virus until the 14-day incubation period ends regardless of result

Self-Isolation: Purpose of this period is to prevent symptomatic/ lab-confirmed individuals from spreading the virus.

  • Asks individuals to stay at home and stay isolated while at home, encourages others in home to wear masks, disinfect frequently
  • Applies to individuals who are symptomatic and/or lab-confirmed
  • If the individual has symptoms, but doesn’t think it’s COVID, the individual can end self-isolation with a medical professional’s diagnosis that the symptoms are something other than COVID –or– by obtaining an acute infection test at an approved testing location that comes back negative for COVID-19.
  • Otherwise, it ends when the virus can no longer spread from the individual, with all three of these being true:
    • 24 hours with no fever;
    • Symptoms improved; and
    • 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
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