January 11, 2022 - Important Changes to Responsible Return 2.0

January 11, 2022 - Important Changes to Responsible Return 2.0
Posted on 01/11/2022

Robocall Transcript:

Good evening, families,

This is your Superintendent of Schools, Lou Taylor. I am reaching out tonight to let you know that beginning tomorrow, January 12, several changes to our Responsible Return 2.0 plan will go into effect. 

First, the Maryland Department of Health and Maryland’s Department of Education have revised their guidance for schools regarding isolation and quarantine to align with recent changes announced by the CDC. 

 - Beginning tomorrow, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or have suspected COVID-19, should quarantine for at least 5 full days from the onset of symptoms, or in the case of asymptomatic individuals, from the date of their positive test. 
 - After day 5, individuals may return to school if symptoms have improved, and no fever is present for at least 24 hours without medication. When returning, these individuals must properly wear a well-fitting face covering whenever they are around others for the next five days in both indoor and outdoor settings like recess. Individuals unable to wear a face covering should complete their entire quarantine at home. 
 - Several changes have also been made for individual exposed to COVID-19; however, as they vary depending on vaccination status, this information has been posted to our website, www.worcesterk12.org. (Please see full guidance below.)
 - Any students or staff who are currently in quarantine should contact their school nurse’s office for a new return date. When calling, we ask for your patience and kindness as our nurses’ are working diligently to address your questions and concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible while at the same time caring for our on-site students and staff. 

I also want to share a change to our contact tracing protocol. Worcester County Public Schools will now focus our contact tracing efforts on school activities where individuals are unmasked, such as lunch and athletics, as well as identifying household contacts.  We continue our commitment to notify families and staff when an individual in their cohort has tested positive. However, as individual contact tracing proves to be less effective when community transmission is high, our health staff will shift their efforts from investigating relatively low-risk in-school exposures to more critical activities like the identification, early isolation, and management of students and staff with active COVID-19-like symptoms. 

Additionally, much like the contact tracing protocol, we have made the decision to eliminate the daily screening tool, in favor of this simple and direct message: if your child is exhibiting any signs or symptoms – even mild ones – of illness, keep them home and contact your healthcare provider or your child’s school to determine next steps. We truly can’t stress this enough: when sick, stay home.  

Lastly, throughout the end of this month, we will be hosting daily school-based COVID-19 testing clinics for students and staff. Date and registration information on these testing events is available on our website, www.worcesterk12.org. We encourage all families and staff to utilize these free, accessible testing events if you are symptomatic or quarantined. Please do not come to school if you are symptomatic or in need of a COVID-19 test.

I recognize that this is a lot of information, so I encourage you to visit the Responsible Return 2.0 hub on our website, www.worcesterk12.org, to view all of this information, or you can simply press the star key at the conclusion of this call to have it repeated. 

Again, thank you for your time tonight, and may God bless you and your family. Have a good night. 



NEW QUARANTINE & ISOLATION PROTOCOLS

These changes have been adopted to align WCPS protocols with those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Persons Who Have Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 (Isolation)
All persons who test positive for COVID-19 or have suspected COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should complete isolation as follows:
  • Stay home for at least 5 full days from the date of symptom onset if symptomatic or the date of the positive test if no symptoms
    • Day 1 is considered the first full day after symptoms started in symptomatic persons or the first full day after the person tested positive if asymptomatic.
  • After Day 5, if the person has no symptoms or if symptoms are improved and they have had no fever for at least 24 hours without medication, they may return to school or child care IF they wear a well-fitting mask when around others* for an additional 5 days.
  • If the person is unable to wear a mask around others, they should remain at home for a full 10 days.
Persons Who Are Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine)


The following recommendations apply to:

  • Adults 18 years and older who have been boosted OR completed the primary series of Pfizer within the last 5 months or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months AND they have no symptoms;
    • Children 5-17 years old who have completed the Pfizer vaccine series as recommended AND they have no symptoms; and
    • Persons who had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (i.e. tested positive using a viral test).


    These 
     persons  do not need to quarantine  after  exposure  but  should:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others* for 10 days after the last close contact with the person with COVID-19 (Day 1 is considered the first full day after the date of last close contact)
    • Get tested at least 5 days after the last close contact (persons who had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days do not need to test).
      • If the person tests positive or develops symptoms they should stay home and follow recommendations for isolation above.
      • If the person tests negative or is unable to get a test, they should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others* for 10 days after the last close contact.
The following recommendations apply to:
  • Persons of all ages who are unvaccinated; and
  • Adults 18 years and older who have completed the primary series of Pfizer vaccine over 5 months ago or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted OR completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted.


    These persons  should quarantine after exposure as follows:

    • Stay home for at least 5 days after the last close contact with the person with COVID-19 (Day 1 is considered the first full day after the date of last close contact)
    •  If no symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after the last close contact.
      • If the person tests negative, they may return to school or child care IF they wear a well-fitting mask when around others* until 10 days after their last close contact;
      •  If the person tests positive, they should follow the recommendations for isolation above;
      • If the person is unable to get a test, they may return to school or childcare after Day 5 IF they wear a well-fitting mask when around others* until 10 days after their last close contact.
    •  If the person develops symptoms they should get tested immediately and remain at home; if the test is positive, they should follow the recommendations for isolation above.
    •  If the person is unable to mask around others, they should remain at home for10 days from the date of last close contact.
*NOTE: For people who are returning either from isolation (after a positive COVID-19 test) or quarantine (after exposure), the recommendation is that masks may be removed only when eating and during naptime. Unmasked time should be minimized and physical distancing and ventilation maximized during these times. People should not be participating in any other activities unmasked.



UPCOMING COVID-19 TESTING EVENTS

Through our partnership with MAKO Medical, we are proud to extend our regional COVID-19 testing events through the end of February 2022! 

COVID Testing Dates

Pre-registration is required to participate, and students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Dates are in the graphic below, and links to register are below. Be sure to register using the link for the school at which you work / your child attends:

Berlin Intermediate School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-BIS
Buckingham Elementary School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-BES
Cedar Chapel Special School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-CCSS
Ocean City Elementary School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-OCES
Pocomoke Elementary School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-PES
Pocomoke High School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-PHS
Pocomoke Middle School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-PMS
Showell Elementary School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-SES
Snow Hill Elementary School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-SHES
Snow Hill High School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-SHHS
Snow Hill Middle School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-SHMS
Stephen Decatur High School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-SDHS
Stephen Decatur Middle School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-SDMS
Worcester Technical High School: https://tinyurl.com/COVIDTest-WTHS