By Crystal Malchose, PIO Pottawatomie County
This is an informational feature supported by the Pottawatomie County Commission to assist in providing educational information regarding the COVID-19 virus to citizens.
Modified Quarantine/Isolation, and back to school.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has compiled a guide for Modified Isolation and Quarantine Requirements in a situation where someone in a classroom has tested positive for COVID-19. Education is important for our youth, and health and safety is important for everyone. The modified quarantine for close contacts allows students and staffs in the exposed classroom to continue attending school physically during quarantine, while remaining quarantined outside of class. The preferred action would be for the close contacts of a case to continue lessons remotely. This is not always possible. Therefore KDHE set-up certain steps, once in place, allows for a modified quarantine. Detailed information is available at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1377/Guidance-for-Modified-Quarantine-in-K-12-Schools---7-28-2020.
The modified quarantine requirements are dependent upon the close contact(s) remaining asymptomatic. The following practices should be followed:
1. Close contacts should only travel to/from school with other close contacts in modified quarantine.
2. They should arrive/leave school at staggered times to ensure they do not interact with the general population.
3. Those in modified quarantine will be pre-screened each day. Checked for symptoms, including fever; and check-in with medical staff periodically through the day. Anyone showing symptoms should be sent home immediately.
4. All those in modified quarantine should wear face coverings at all times; and be kept separated from the general school population. All activities should be within the classroom.
5. A designated bathroom should be set aside for use by those in quarantine, or, if feasible, arrangements made to clean and sanitize the bathrooms after use by those in quarantine.
6. Quarantined students and staff should not participate in activities that involve interaction with non-quarantined individuals. This includes before and after-school, and all school-related activities.
7. When not at school, these individuals are required to follow regular quarantine procedures and remain at home.
Other rules regarding the cleaning and disinfecting of the classroom, materials, etc. is required as well.
Local health departments and school districts can decide the best approach for specific situations.