Mask Update for CHPS Community

Mask Update for CHPS Community
Posted on 01/21/2022

As a follow up to last weekend’s message related to Governor Youngkin’s recent no-mask mandate for schools, we wanted to share how this will affect your child in Colonial Heights.


We are reaching out today to confirm that all Colonial Heights Public Schools mask practices remain in place


Mask use is a vital component of the division’s layered prevention measures, which reduce the spread of illness in our schools and increase the division’s ability to offer in-person instruction as mandated by state law. SB 1303 requires all public school divisions to "provide such in-person instruction in a manner in which it adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategies for early childhood care and education programs and elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."


The CDC continues to recommend the use of masks in schools, and federal law requires the use of face coverings while on school buses.


The CHPS school board and administration respect that parents make decisions for their families; however, it's more complicated than that. Division leaders must make decisions for the collective safety of all students and employees and fulfill our responsibility to provide in-person instruction amid ever-changing guidance.


CHPS leadership continues to work with the Chesterfield Health District to advise the school board and our community about mitigation practices, vaccination clinics, and COVID transmission levels on the CHPS website.


While the admin team is working to meet this newest challenge, we wanted to send out a reminder of how we will deal with exposures and positive COVID-19 test results for both students and staff.    
For protection against all forms of the virus, the following steps have been in place since the beginning of the school year:

  • Faculty, staff, and students should wear masks at all times in the building, except when eating or drinking. The effectiveness of cloth masks has been a topic of discussion among medical experts.  Medical masks and KN-95 masks are most effective and are encouraged but not required.
  • Whenever possible, maintain 3 feet social distance.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • If you feel symptoms at school, report to the nurse immediately, and you can be administered a COVID-19 test.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. 

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their guidance related to isolation and quarantine periods for the general population. Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19.


Please note the following:

  •  Colonial Heights City Public Schools will continue to follow a 10-day isolation period for students who test positive for COVID-19. While the CDC has suggested a five-day isolation period followed by five days of strict mask use for positive COVID-19 cases, the additional mitigation strategies in the CDC recommendation required, such as maintaining social distance during days 6-10, are not feasible for students in an educational setting.
  • Staff who test positive will be required to complete at least a 5-day isolation period (based on symptoms and medical clearance) followed by five days of strict mask use.
  • After the required isolation period, those who have tested positive may return to school if they have been free of fever for 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication and symptoms are improving.
  • In general, close contacts who are fully vaccinated (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, AND the booster if eligible) do not have to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19 if they do not have symptoms, but must adhere to strict mask use with a well-fitting mask for 10 days following exposure.  If symptoms occur at any time, the close contact would need to be quarantined immediately.
  • Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated must now quarantine for five days followed by five days of strict mask use.  If symptoms occur at any time, the close contact would need to be quarantined immediately.
  • Any close contact who has a mask accommodation or is unable to wear a mask must quarantine for 10 days regardless of vaccination status.
  • At this time, a negative test result is not required to return to school following the isolation or quarantine period.  We will continue to review the CDC guidelines for any updates to testing requirements.
  • Household exposure to a positive case
    • Those who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine when exposed within the household, but must adhere to strict mask use with a well-fitting mask.  If symptoms occur at any time, the close contact would need to be quarantined immediately.
    • Those who are not fully vaccinated and unable to have complete isolation from the positive case must quarantine for the 10 days of isolation of the positive case, and an additional 5 days of quarantine.  Those individuals may return after 15 days if they do not have symptoms.
    • If an individual is able to have complete isolation from the positive household case, they would only need to quarantine for 5 days from the last date of contact with the positive case, and then adhere to 5 days of strict mask use with a well-fitting mask.

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