How does the COVID dashboard work and why is there a delay from the time the case is identified to the time it is on the dashboard?
The COVID Reporting Dashboard (www.csdecatur.net/dashboard) is the page where the community can see all of the district’s cases and quarantines since October 10. The dashboard consists of:
- The number of individuals currently isolated because they have a probable or confirmed case
- The cumulative number of individuals isolated (probable or confirmed cases) since October 10
- The number of individuals currently quarantined because they are identified as close contact
- The cumulative number of individuals quarantined (close contact) since October 10
- Narrative statements about each probable or confirmed case
When a probable or confirmed case is identified, our first priority is to conduct contact tracing and notify all close contacts. The dashboard is the last step in the communication process and is updated once the contact tracing for each probable or confirmed case is completed. Details about our COVID communication procedures can be found on pages 27-28 of the COVID-19 Safety, Facilities, and Healthy Schools Manual (www.csdecatur.net/covidmanual). The graphic below illustrates the process.
Are quarantined students added to virtual classes?
No. When an in-person student or entire class quarantines, they are not added to existing virtual classrooms. The students stay with their current in-person teacher during the quarantine period, either asynchronous or synchronous. The school and teacher will give specific instructions when students and teachers are required to quarantine. The chart below shows a few examples of how the quarantine and isolation periods are handled.
Why are you hosting pods when you are trying to keep students in cohorts?
Elementary and PreK classes are only in-person for 4 hours daily. Many parents who are sending their child to school in the morning need childcare in the afternoon as well. While we prefer to keep pure cohorts, we felt that it is important to offer parents an afterschool option that follows all of our mitigation procedures with fidelity. If we did not offer such an option, these students would likely be enrolled in many other after school care options with unknown mitigation efforts and children. Our schools are following the same social distancing and mitigation efforts in the pods as in-person learning. School leaders and pod facilitators make every effort to keep students in small cohorts while in the pods. Questions about school-specific pods should be directed to the school principals.
What PPE does the district and school provide for staff?
The district and schools are offering surgical, cloth, or KN95 masks, face shields, sneeze plexiglass guards, goggles, safety glasses, gowns, carbon filters for special accommodations, and air purifiers.
Why are entire classes quarantined when the protocol says close contact is determined by being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated? Are schools not following social distancing guidelines?
We are taking extra precautions, including expanding the criteria for close contacts where it seems prudent to do so. For example, students who have spent all morning together in a single classroom will all be quarantined if there is a positive case in the classroom, even if some individual students may not have been within 6 feet of the individual who tests positive for COVID. We review this practice regularly and may transition to a different stance in future phases based on the internal data collected during this initial phase. Please see #6 in Section 2 of the COVID-19 Safety, Facilities, and Healthy Schools Manual for additional information.
At what point will the district close a school?
Please see #8 in Section 2 of the COVID-19 Safety, Facilities, and Healthy Schools Manual.
What metrics are you using?
During this phase of in-person learning, we are focusing on internal metrics to determine if our mitigation measures are as effective as we believe they will be. We are looking for cases of in-school transmission and, if we find any, will analyze the situation to determine if there were any mitigation failures. Because future phases will likely require some changes to mitigation measures, we will explore additional metrics, such as external data on cases and percent positive tests.
One of my children has to quarantine because he was identified as a close contact, do my other children also have to quarantine?
No, only close contacts have to quarantine. Your children who were not directly exposed to a COVID-positive individual are considered secondary contacts and do not need to quarantine. Continue monitoring all of your family members for symptoms, as we all should do regardless, and contact your healthcare provider or school nurse if you have specific questions about symptoms.
Can I change my learning choice?
Families that have a drastic change in circumstances can contact their principal to make changes.
Is CSD providing information about vaccines to staff?
Yes. Information that CSD has provided to staff can be found on this Q&A site https://www.csdecatur.net/domain/1787.
Will CSD have a vaccine clinic for staff?
Yes, the DeKalb County Board of Health (BOH) will be offering our first CSD-specific vaccination event in Doraville on Saturday, March 13. Based on the logistics of transporting, preparing, and protecting the vaccines, and to take advantage of over a dozen additional BOH and other agency staff to support vaccinating hundreds of employees, we agreed with BOH’s recommendation that we travel to their preferred site. We will provide more specific time, location, and procedures information very soon, and we are working to update the staff vaccination Q&A to reflect the latest information shared with us by the Board of Health. CSD staff vaccinated at this event will receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, eliminating the need for a follow-up second dose. However, supplies of this vaccine are limited in DeKalb County, as are the available slots for this event. The Board of Health has already begun scheduling a second vaccination event in the near future in case registration for this event (a CSD-specific registration link is forthcoming from BOH) exceeds their capacity. The Board of Health is providing more specific information at a rapid pace, and we will share it with staff as soon as it becomes available. Please note that the vaccination site is near a MARTA station.
Additionally, on March 10, 5pm-6pm, we will host a presentation and panel discussion on vaccines. The panelists are local medical professionals Dr. Jessica Doyle, Dr. Matt Hogan, CSD Lead Nurse Shonda Moore, and Dr. M. Kanika Sims. The presentation will include information about the three vaccines that are currently available and will address issues related to vaccination hesitancy among people of color.