Covid Protocol Update

Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 1/15/2022 9:25:00 AM

ECS parents, 

This pandemic has dealt us all another blow with the extremely contagious Omicron variant.    We continue to seek ways to comply with all state guidance to keep our students safe while maintaining as much normalcy as possible. Last Friday, the NCDHHS updated its guidance for schools, adding a “test-to-stay” option for individuals who would otherwise be required to quarantine.  NCDHHS implemented this change after seeing results from a study conducted by the ABC Collaborative (a group of Duke University physicians), which followed five North Carolina mask-required school districts that implemented a test version of this program in the fall.  For the six week duration of the study, the group found no documented transmission from a study participant to another person.  Under the test-to-stay program, individuals are exempt from quarantine if they show no symptoms and test negative for covid on the day of exposure notification and five days after exposure.  For now, test-to-stay is allowed in mask-required schools only, but the ABC Collaborative is currently studying the effectiveness of test-to-stay in mask-optional schoosl. As always, we are adjusting our ECS policies and procedures to match the new NCDHHS guidelines.  

Guidance and ECS procedures that did not change:

  • Exposure is defined as 15 minutes of unmasked time within 6 feet of one another.
  • Fully vaccinated students are not required to quarantine when exposed UNLESS the vaccinated child has Covid symptoms or a positive Covid test.
  • Unvaccinated students are not required to quarantine when exposure occurred in a masked setting.
  • The ECS Covid dashboard will continue to be updated each Tuesday and Friday.  

Guidance and ECS procedures that did change:

  • Unvaccinated students considered exposed to Covid are no longer required to quarantine IF we follow the following protocol:
    • ECS continues being a mask-required school, except for lunch and outdoor recess.
      • As soon as possible after being notified of an exposure, the student takes a PCR test, a rapid test, or an at-home test.  Rapid tests may be taken on-campus with written or verbal parent consent. If the test is negative, the student may remain on campus as long as he/she does not have Covid symptoms.  Five days (or as close to 5 days as possible) after the exposure, the student must be retested. The family may take a PCR test or a rapid test with our school nurse, but we will not accept an at-home test.  If the student tests negative and continues to be symptom free, he/she will be considered out of the danger zone and may resume normal school procedures.
  • Middle school students will end the simultaneous mask-off time at lunch and return to the  previous 30 minute lunch procedure.  Each student will be encouraged to remask once he/she has finished eating.
  • All grades will resume snack time prior to fourth quarter. Snack time will be brief and students will remask as soon as the eating time ends.
  • We will no longer send grade level emails when a student in a grade has tested positive.  Instead, we will only email the families whose children are considered exposed according to state guidance. We encourage each family to regularly check the Covid dashboard for information regarding Covid in our community.  We also continue to encourage every family to monitor their children for Covid symptoms

covid protocols 2022

(PDF version of 2022 Covid Respons Protocols)

Thank you,

Christi Whitside, ECS Director