Weekly Updates

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weekly update 10.23.20

Since our students have begun the process to return to school, the Newton County School System is monitoring the state of public health in our system and will report on this webpage, every Friday by close of business, the updated total number of active COVID-19 positive cases and quarantines in our system.

If a student’s exposure to an individual who has tested positive meets the Georgia Department of Public Health’s requirements for mandated precautionary quarantine, parents/guardians will be immediately advised; the same notification will be made to employees who meet these requirements. A precautionary quarantine does not mean that an employee or student is sick or will become sick, but is a Department of Public Health-mandated practice, fully supported by the Newton County School System, to best ensure the safety of the student or employee, as well as those teaching and learning around them.

Students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, must not return to school until they meet the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Return to School Guidance After COVID-19 Illness or Exposure.

Additionally, students and staff must not come to school with a fever of 100.4 or higher, and must not come to school until they have been fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours and have seen a reduction in their symptoms.

FAQS

Q: “Why is the school system only providing the number of total positive cases and quarantines within the school system and not by school?”
A: Our number of positive COVID-19 cases are so low that infected individuals could easily be identified, putting the school system in violation of HIPPA and FERPA laws.

Q: “Should my child get tested if they were identified as a ‘close contact?’”
A: Your child does not need to get tested unless he/she develops symptoms. If you choose to have your child tested, he/she cannot return to school until the 14-day quarantine has expired, even if the test is negative.

Q: “There is a positive case at my child’s school, should we get tested?”
A: Your child does not need to get tested if someone at the school tests positive for COVID-19. If your child is identified as a close contact, he/she will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If you choose to have your child tested, he/she cannot return to school, even if the test is negative, until the quarantine period expires.

Q: “I know someone who has been absent for more than a week. Is this a positive case we have not been made aware of?”
A: All extended absences are not positive cases. Many situations (another illness, an injury, staying home with a quarantined child, etc.) could cause an absence of multiple days.

Q: "Why does the quarantine period seem to be shorter than 14 days from when parents were notified about a case?"
A: The 14 days starts at the point of the last exposure as determined by contact tracing, not the point of notification. For example, Student A is in close proximity to Student B on a Friday for an extended period of time. On Saturday, Student A starts feeling ill. The parent seeks medical treatment for Student A on Monday, and a COVID test is performed. Student A stays home from school during this time, and a positive test result is received on Wednesday, which triggers contact tracing. Student B was determined to be exposed within the 48-hour window of the onset of illness, and must quarantine for 14 days. The start of the quarantine is the last exposure on Friday, not the day of notification on Wednesday.

Q: "I know a student or teacher who is having to quarantine but I didn’t receive a letter. Why not?"
A: People do not just have to quarantine due to an exposure at a school. They could be under quarantine from exposure in another setting outside of school, such as a family member, recreational sports, church, etc.

Q: “What is the definition of a ‘close contact?’”
A: For COVID-19, the Department of Public Health defines a close contact as any individual who was within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more.

Q: “If an individual is wearing a face covering and is within six feet from someone who tests positive, does that individual still have to self-quarantine, is this still considered a ‘close contact?’”
A: Yes, according to the Department of Public Health, exposure is irrespective of whether the person with COVID-19 or the contact was wearing a face covering.

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