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Union R-XI School District’s COVID-19 Safe Return to School Plan update.
On Wednesday, March 16th, the Board of Education met to discuss district COVID-19 procedures and protocol for attending school as well as all district extra-curricular activities. As we previously shared, we wanted to provide an update on some of those changes.
Things that stayed the same from the January 19, 2022 meeting:
Staff, students in grades Pre-K to 12, and visitors who test positive for COVID-19 or who are symptomatic will be excluded from the Union R-XI School District premises in accordance with our Communicable Diseases (Policy EBB) and Staff Health and Safety (Policy GBE) policies.
COVID-19 Positive individual/duration of isolation:
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they are to isolate for a minimum of 5 days.
They can return on days 6-10, once they are symptom-free for the previous 36 hours.
It is recommended they wear a mask through days 6-10, however it is not required.
There is no longer a negative test requirement to return.
COVID-19 At-Home Positive individual: If there is a household positive, and the family wants to keep their student(s) home for precautionary purposes, the following will need to occur:
Evidence of household positives must be provided for a student to receive a COVID-19 approved absence.
Evidence is defined as a picture of the individual with their positive test (home tests are acceptable). This evidence would then be uploaded into the system for attendance verification and auditing purposes.
Communication to Families: The district will no longer be contact tracing at the individual level. We will continue to communicate the best we can regarding positive cases in each school.
Elementary: The elementary setting is more conducive to provide communication regarding possible close contacts with students remaining in their same classroom. This communication may be in the form of a phone blast or email when their student is considered a close contact.
Secondary: The secondary setting is structured with more student movement throughout the day, which increases the chances of students becoming a close contact. Therefore, we will not be communicating on a regular basis for each positive case and close contact. We continue to encourage you to monitor your children daily for symptoms before sending them to school.
Things that changed from the January 19, 2022 meeting:
Bus transportation will be available to eligible students. The CDC has changed its guidance for masking on school buses. Within the new guidance, the CDC no longer requires people to wear masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs. As with any COVID-related mitigation strategies, local school districts and boards of education have the authority to implement local mask requirements if they choose.
Effective 2/28/22, masks are now optional and not required on all Union R-XI school buses. Masks will still be available and provided upon request.
EXPLANATION OF CHANGES TO THE MSHSAA COVID-19 RETURN TO PLAY FORM/PROTOCOL
As of March 2, 2022, MSHSAA is no longer requiring student athletes to have a formal medical screening prior to returning to sports participation following COVID infection. The original intent of the screening by a medical professional (MD/DO/PAC/ARNP/ATC) was to assess for the possible complication of myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, that can lead to exercise intolerance and the ability of the heart to function normally. Early in the pandemic, there was concern for higher rates of myocarditis in the general population after COVID-19 infection than what the medical community thought happens with other viruses, which led to the screening process MSHSAA has required. As we have moved through 2 years of the pandemic, it seems that the risk of myocarditis is less than first estimated.
Because of this, the MSHSAA Covid-19 Task Force has recommended to remove the required screening by a medical professional prior to return to play. This also coincides with updates from leading national sports medicine organizations and the National Federation of State High School Associations.
However, there will still be a Covid-19 RTP Form that must be completed the student athlete, parent/guardian and school personnel for any student athlete that tests positive or is symptomatic for Covid-19. Furthermore, a 5 day/step RTP progression also remains in place for those student athletes who test positive or are symptomatic for Covid-19.
The top portion of the RTP Form is to be completed by the student athlete and parent/guardian.
Student Athletes may start resuming activity as of day 6 following their onset of symptoms OR date of their positive test without symptoms.
Athletes may NOT resume competition until day 10 from the onset of symptoms OR date of their positive test if without symptoms.
The bottom portion of the RTP Form which accounts for the completion of the days/steps of the RTP Progression is to be completed by a head coach, athletic director, athletic trainer or school nurse.
Student athletes and school personnel must sign the form attesting to the validity of the dates entered on the form and that they have also completed physical exercise WITHOUT any of the problems listed on the form.
If an athlete does experience any of the issues on the form before starting or while resuming exercises, they should be referred to their primary care health care professional for further clearance.
We will continue to navigate the pandemic in a safe, practical, and sensible way as we move forward and focus on the safety of our students, families and employees. We appreciate your support and understanding and we will communicate updated information if anything changes.
Scott D. Hayes, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Union R-XI School District