Linn R-2 school board outlines new COVID-19 procedures

By H.B. Dodds, Staff Writer
Posted 1/20/22

COVID-19 procedures were the topic of a special meeting held on Jan. 11 by the Linn R-2 school board at which changes to the district’s current Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and …

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Linn R-2 school board outlines new COVID-19 procedures

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COVID-19 procedures were the topic of a special meeting held on Jan. 11 by the Linn R-2 school board at which changes to the district’s current Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan were made, including Centers for Disease Control (CDC) language related to isolation and quarantine with the exception of all staff and students who received the original vaccination series, who will be exempt from quarantine.

The following information comes from the revised Osage County R-II COVID-19 Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan:

EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL

* Students may be excluded from school for a communicable disease as outlined in board policy and regulation 2860.

* Students who are excluded from school due to a communicable disease will have access to instruction through AMI methodology, which may include video conferencing, utilization of Google Classroom, phone conferencing, paper packets, and other teacher-created materials.

CLOSE CONTACTS

If a student is identified as a close contact, there are several options that may be available regarding school attendance. Below is a breakdown of the available options:

* Linn R-2 may use the test-to-stay option made allowable through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). District nurses will determine who meets the criteria to utilize the test-to-stay option. Those who meet the criteria will need to follow testing procedures as outlined on page 5 of  Missouri School COVID -19 Operating Guidance. This option allows students to remain at school as long as they continue testing negative. Students must remain appropriately masked at school for 10 days from the date of last exposure.

* Students may be excluded from school for at least five days (day 0 through day 5) after their last close contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of exposure is considered day 0. If the student does not develop symptoms, they may test on day five of their exclusion from school and if the test is negative, they may return to school on day six. The last date of exposure is considered day 0. When returning to school, students must remain appropriately masked for days 6-10.  

* Parents of close contacts may choose to keep their children excluded from school rather than participate in a testing option. These students will be excluded from school for 10 days from the date of the last contact.

* Students who have received the primary vaccine series will not be subject to exclusion from school as a close contact.

* If students develop symptoms or test positive, they will then follow exclusion from school guidelines for COVID-19 positive individuals.

COVID-19 POSITIVE 

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the following guidelines will be followed:

* Students will be excluded from school for at least five days. Day 0 is the first day of symptoms and day 1 is the first full day after symptoms developed. Exclusion from school may end after five full days if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved. Upon return to school, students must remain appropriately masked for days 6-10.

When situations arise that may not be specifically covered in this section, district administrators will use the toolkit for responding to COVID-19 cases through the CDC for decision-making.

Superintendent Dena Smith said in an email to parents, “I know there has been a lot of uncertainty regarding COVID-19 procedures in light of the new CDC guidelines that were released for K-12 schools on Jan. 6, 2022.  The Osage County R-II Board of Education met last night to discuss the new guidelines and to develop a new plan based on these guidelines. The procedures the district will follow regarding close contacts and positive cases of COVID-19 can be found beginning on page 5 of the Safe Return To In-Person Instruction And Continuity Of Services Plan. The plan is attached to this email and can also be found by going to our website, linn.k12.mo.us, and clicking on ‘Reopen Plan.’ If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

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