Mitigating Covid in the New Year
From Central School Nurse, Jasmine Lester
COVID-19 continues to present challenges in our community, country, and world. Our focus this fall is to prioritize in-person learning for all students. We continue to partner with Polk County Public Health, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the CDC. We must realize that continuous evaluation and updates in response to this virus will be necessary. Please take a moment to read through the following updates. We are excited to get back to in-person learning and hope you will join us to keep our students, families, staff, and community safe. Together, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The following mitigation measures will be in place/encouraged:
- Vaccination-utmost of protective measures, now readily available for anyone 12 years of age and older, see immunizepolk.com
- Stay home when not feeling well and get tested, if known or likely exposure to covid 19, regardless of vaccination status. Testing is available through testiowa.com, local pharmacies, and clinics. Symptoms vary from mild to severe. The Delta variant is more contagious, causing increased transmissibility and illness, with increasing numbers in younger people, including children.
- Consistent and correct mask use-Iowa HF 847 prevents schools from implementing mask mandates, but that does not mean we cannot follow guidelines that have been put in place by the CDC that encourage masks for everyone regardless of immunization status. It is strongly encouraged that ALL persons wear a mask when indoors and in crowded areas. The CDC has stated that masking on buses IS required, and this supersedes HF847. DMPS strongly recommends that staff & students wear a mask, whenever possible.
- Physical distancing-Expected increases in students returning to in-person learning will make this difficult. Maintain distances of 3-6 feet from others whenever possible.
- Ventilation- DMPS has increased ventilation in every building to reduce transmission of the virus.
- Handwashing and respiratory etiquette-Opportunities for frequent hand washing will be around buildings, also, remember to cover your cough, also, refer to #2.
- Cleaning and disinfection-continued cleaning by DMPS custodial staff. We do know that transmission from surfaces is low.
- Contact tracing, notification, isolation & quarantine-IDPH has limited contact tracing; PCHD focusing contract tracing efforts on household transmission. Individuals who test positive need to isolate at home for 10/R/1, meaning 10 days, Reduction in symptoms, and 1-day fever/symptom-free. Unvaccinated individuals w/ known exposure may quarantine for 7, 10, or 14-days, especially important for household exposures.
- DMPS School Nurses will work with PCHD to provide notification on school-related outbreaks as well as provide up-to-date info on community transmission. Expect frequent updates on public health recommendations.
- Instructional options offered- traditional in-person as well as virtual instruction through virtual campus; (selection occurred last April for 2021-22 SY)Do not underestimate your role in this process. Our hope is that everyone will join in these mitigation efforts to keep our students, families, staff, and community safe. Together, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Jasmine L Lester BSN RN
Central Campus/Central Academy/4+ Programs
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