MCSD’s protocols for positive COVID case in schools

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 12:30 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Students across the Chattahoochee Valley are either getting ready for the new school year or have already headed back to the classroom as COVID still continues to be an issue. The Harris County School District reports more than a dozen active COVID cases among students.

Muscogee County School District officials say they’ll continue to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, practice physical distancing and have frequent cleaning of areas in classrooms. If there is a positive case in the classroom, a team will come in to fog and clean the entire classroom.

Jeannie Polhamus, lead nurse with MCSD, says the district is following the same procedures they followed last school year if a student starts feeling sick at school. The student will go to an isolation room. Parents are notified and given an exclusion letter with several options on what they can do to get kids back to school. These options include an alternative diagnosis at doctor’s office or proof of a negative PCR test if parents choose to get their child tested.

“We do not require that and we do not ask that of them. That’s just one option that we have. They can return with that. Again, once there is no more fever or their symptoms have gone without the use of fever reducing medicine for 48 hours and they have felt well for 24 hours,” Polhamus explained.

Polhamus says if they are suspected of having COVID, the student can come back once symptoms have gone away and they’ve quarantined for 10 days.

If there is direct contact or exposure, Polhamus says vaccinated students and staff will not be required to isolate or quarantine unless they start showing symptoms. If an unvaccinated person is exposed, they can either complete a 10 day quarantine or get a COVID test on day five from the last exposure.

“If they’re negative, then they can come back on day 7, but they also need to remain symptom free and continue to monitor themselves for symptoms for the 14 day period,” Polhamus said.

MCSD’s lead nurse says they have 17 nurses total with 10 RNs, including herself, and seven LPNs. Polhamus says the RNs see a cluster of about six schools each broken up throughout the school week. The LPNs typically serve two to three schools for other medical needs and also help RNs throughout the district. They also have part time clinic workers who work in school clinics when the nurses aren’t there. Polhamus says she’s very proud of the work the nursing staff and clinic workers have done throughout the pandemic.

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