Dear Heritage Families,
Over the past several days, we have been working with our COVID Medical Task Force to safely amend our COVID protocols regarding the length of quarantine for students and faculty members who have been identified as “sustained contacts” with a COVID positive individual on campus.
These discussions were prompted by the following developments:
- Governor Kemp announced the launch of Phase 1B for educational professionals late last week which allows our faculty and staff greater access to COVID vaccines.
- We are several weeks out from our last school holiday (Winter Break). With the return from each school break, we have seen an increase in COVID cases on campus. With no school break on the horizon until April, we do not expect significant travel or large family gatherings to be the norm.
- The number of positive cases in Coweta and our surrounding counties has dropped significantly from where the numbers were in January.
- The CDC guidelines released in December for shortened quarantine periods have been in place long enough to provide supporting data of their effectiveness. Georgia Public Health and our COVID Medical Task Force has now given us the “green light” to incorporate a version of these guidelines in our school setting.
At this time we are not comfortable with the CDC recommendation of administering a PCR test on Day 5 of quarantine and students returning on Day 7 with a negative test. We have, however, come up with a hybrid version of a shortened quarantine. In talking to many other independent schools who have been using this method since January, we are confident that this is an effective way to not only help students get back to school earlier but also detect cases in quarantined students who may be asymptomatic.
What is Changing:
- If your child is asked to quarantine because he or she is a close, sustained contact with a COVID positive classmate, you now have the option to schedule a PCR test to be administered on Day 7 of your child’s quarantine. If the PCR test is negative, he or she may return to school on Day 10. Please note your child must continue to monitor for symptoms and adhere to all COVID school protocols-wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands, etc. Rapid tests will not be accepted and we must receive the negative PCR documentation from a testing center where the PCR was completed by a medical professional. Self administered saliva tests or other tests done at home will not be accepted. PCR tests administered before Day 7 of quarantine will also not be accepted.
If your family does not choose to do the PCR test, your child can complete the full 14 day quarantine and return to school after it is complete if your child remains symptom free.
The shortened quarantine does not apply to close, sustained contacts who live in the same household.
- If your child has been COVID positive in the last 90 days, he or she will not need to quarantine. This must be approved by Nurse Renae Smith before return and it must be a positive case we tracked at school. For example, if your child was COVID positive over the Christmas Break and this information was not shared with the school at the time, we will require an antibody test for clearance. Due to the asymptomatic nature of COVID in some students, your child may have had COVID in the last 90 days and be unaware. If you believe this is the case, antibody tests are available locally. If this is something you would like to explore, please reach out to Nurse Renae for more information.
What Is Not Changing:
- If your child tests positive for COVID, he or she will remain quarantined for the normal period with day 1 beginning on the day the test was administered.
- Quarantining means that your child stays at home for the duration of the number of days assigned by the school. Trips to the store, orthodontist, sports practice, etc. are not approved during quarantine. If your child is unable to adhere to the number of quarantine days suggested, he or she will not be able to use the shortened quarantine length even with a negative PCR test.
- The Return to School protocols for contact tracing, cleaning protocols, mask use, social distancing, and daily health screenings all remain the same.
Communication is key! Please let us know if your family is experiencing any health changes so we can assist you with the many resources we have available. COVID information is sometimes changing on a daily basis and we rely on our esteemed medical professionals to help us make the best researched based decisions.
We are so grateful to Georgia Public Health and our COVID Medical Task Force for helping us stay current on COVID news:
Dr. Samer Blackmon- Internal Medicine, Piedmont Healthcare
Dr. Edwyn Carter-Pediatrics, Piedmont Healthcare
Dr. Jeff Metts- Chief of Medicine and COVID-19 Incident Commander, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Please let us know if you have questions. If your child has been assigned 14 days of quarantine in the last 7 days and you want to see how these new guidelines affect your child’s current quarantine situation, please reach out to Renae Smith via email at firstname.lastname@example.org so she can determine if your child is eligible and direct you on next steps. We are kindly requesting that all questions be sent via email to Renae. Please do not text or call as we want to make sure we are able to answer all your questions in a timely manner.
We know every family brings a different perspective in their approach to COVID. If your family is uncomfortable with your child being at school for face to face instruction, please know the live remote platform is available.
Thank you for helping us to continue to Protect the Nest!