COVID-19 and Quarantine Procedures
Heather Ellis / Sharla Harris
Thursday, October 08, 2020

COVID-19 and Quarantine Procedures

Inola Public Schools is working to keep our students and teachers safe while allowing as many students as possible to come to school. The school understands that this is difficult on many different levels and kids are losing some of the experiences that coming to school provides; therefore, an abundance of caution is being used when a quarantine is needed. This is an evolving process and new information from the health department is being shared with us daily and our school must follow the guidance provided. The school recognizes that having a quarantined student is difficult for a family and this action is not taken lightly which is why we are working diligently in contact tracing to only include the students who were in close contact in the quarantine group. Heightened cleaning procedures, sanitization stations, and temperature checks each morning are being done on campus to help keep illness levels down.

The Quarantine Process:

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the students and staff who were in close contact will be notified by the school and will be sent home. The school then sends the information to the health department and begins contact tracing to identify students who have been in close contact.  

  • Students may be sent home at the beginning of contact tracing, but after the school officials and the health department review the data, some students may return. These students will be contacted by a school official.
  • The school does not “quarantine” students. They provide the information to the health department, who quarantine.
  • The School is following the guidelines from the State Health department to decrease the potential of community spread, which could shut down the school. The goal of IPS is to continue in-person learning for as many kids as possible.
  • Should your child/children start showing COVID related symptoms, it is strongly recommended that you contact their primary care physician or the local health department to have them tested immediately.
  • Students cannot “test” out of a quarantine. If the health department quarantines a student, they cannot get a negative result and return to school.
  • If quarantined, the student is not allowed to be on school property until the quarantine period has ended.

Positive case timeline:

  • The school is informed that a student or teacher has tested positive for COVID-19.  
  • The local health department is contacted.
  • Contact tracing begins.
  • Any student who has potentially been within six feet of the positive individual for 15 minutes according to the result of initial contact tracing will be on this list. This includes in the classroom or at lunch. If students are sitting in a group at a lunch table, the entire table will be required to go home.
  • Parents will be given the information on the quarantine from the school and the local health department.
  • The school will continue to investigate close contact of the individual to confirm the students on the quarantine list. If it is determined that a student on the list has not been within six feet of the positive individual for 15 minutes, that student will be removed from the quarantine list and allowed to return to campus.
  • If students remain on the list and are quarantined, their schoolwork will be available on Google Classroom, and the days will not count against them. They must log into Google Classroom daily and participate in their assignments to be counted as present.

Positive case in an extra-curricular activity:

Extra-Curricular activities provide their own set of issues when doing contact tracing. These issues can include, but are not limited to the following: if the students are inside (gym, band room, locker room, or auditorium), transported on a bus or school vehicle, or if physical contact has been documented. These conditions can cancel out the 6 feet, 15-minute rule. The health department will be contacted in each circumstance and their guidance will be used when determining which students should be sent home. Initial guidance may recommend that the entire group of activity participants be included in the quarantine. With the severity of the pandemic, it is important to err on the side of caution regarding the initial quarantine group.

Helpful Information:

The school experience is an important component to student learning. Our district wants our students to be here and involved in their activities. In order to make this happen, we need to continue following the recommendations and guidance from our local and state health departments. While it is an unfortunate reality that students may need to be quarantined during the school year, if we work together, our students will be able to have a school year that is as normal as possible.