The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) released new guidelines regarding when individuals should be quarantined due to exposure to a positive case of COVID-19. According to the information shared earlier today, if an individual is exposed to a person who tests positive for the virus, in a business, education, or child care setting, and both the infected individual and the close contact were wearing face coverings consistently and correctly, quarantine is no longer being recommended by IDPH. They further stated that individuals who have close contact due to exposure to a household member are still required to quarantine at least 14 days. The new guidance is attached below this update.
Based on these new guidelines, local county health officials are making some changes to the contact tracing and quarantine process. Students who were exposed at school where the positive case and the close contact were both properly wearing face coverings, will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days. The students who were in close contact with a person who tests positive will still be notified of the exposure so that the student and parent can self-monitor for symptoms. Since this notification is now just for awareness, not to require home-isolation, the communication may come in the form of an automated email or automated call.
Up until this change in guidance, students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade were not required to wear a face covering. We know that many students in these grades are currently wearing face coverings each day even though they are not required. With the changes to the guidelines being made by the IDPH, we are now requiring all students in these grade levels to wear face coverings. This new requirement will go into effect on Monday, October 5th. If you need assistance finding a child size face covering, please contact your child’s school.
This change in guidance and our continued mitigation efforts will help us keep students in school; however, times of day such as lunch and athletic competitions could still be a cause for direct contact that could result in a 14 day quarantine. In these situations, students/athletes are not wearing face coverings the entire time which is the reason for the possible exposure.
Students who are currently being quarantined due to an exposure at school can return to school sooner than anticipated as long as they have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19 since the time that they were in close contact to the infected individual. If the student is being quarantined due to close contact with a family member or an exposure outside of the school setting, they will not return to school until the date that was previously set and communicated to them and their parents.
We hope that the changes to the guidelines provided by the IDPH will help us minimize the number of missed days for our students.
Take care of yourself and your family.
Rick Colpitts, Superintendent
Western Dubuque Community School District