Quarantining Protocols

Teacher waving to students

Quarantining Protocols

Teacher waving to students

Quarantining Protocols

This content was developed in partnership with Boulder County Public Health’s Medical Officer and Epi Lead. Revised December 17, 2020.

St. Vrain Valley Schools continues to follow all safety guidelines and quarantining protocols developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and our county health agencies. In December 2020, CDPHE revised the quarantining protocols and requirements to align to recent modelling and best practices regarding COVID-19 in school environments. Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) has shared numerous studies that have demonstrated that schools are not a primary source of transmission, as they have many controls and safety protocols in place making them safer environments than most public spaces. To this end, when schools are in operation based on the recommendations of Colorado’s COVID-19 Dial Framework, BCPH and CDPHE supports St. Vrain Valley Schools using a targeted approach whenever appropriate for student or staff exposure to a confirmed or probable case.

Public Health Team

Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) has assigned an epidemiologist and public health liaison to direct the quarantining process in St. Vrain Valley Schools. To support the BCPH team and increase the district’s capacity for thorough and targeted case investigations, the district has assigned 17 registered nurses, including three newly hired nurses and one epidemiologist, to assist in ensuring adherence to all quarantining protocols and safety guidelines.

Case Investigation Process

The quarantining process is highly complex because each probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 is unique. Based on reported information for each confirmed or probable case, the number of individuals quarantined may vary widely. When a confirmed or probable case is reported to the school or Boulder County Public Health, the team begins an immediate case investigation.

Flowchart of quarantine process. First a case is reported to a school. Next, Contact tracing investigation to confirm that all school safety protocols were strictly followed: mask wearing, seating charts, number of contacts, distancing, and more. If yes, Anyone who was within 6 feet of the infected person for more than 15 minutes will be required to quarantine for 10* days. Decisions are based on seating charts, measured distance between individuals, case interviews, and reviews of movement through the building. If not, All members of the infected person’s cohort will be required to quarantine for 10* days. Teachers or staff wearing a KN95 or better mask with eye protection (goggles or face shield) do not need to quarantine unless they were within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes of the sick person wearing a mask (or 12 feet for 15 minutes if the sick person was not wearing a mask). Once the investigation is complete, Written communication, including testing opportunities is sent to all persons required to quarantine, with an additional notification to the entire school community of a confirmed or probable case. Timeline for communication can vary based on the complexity of the contact tracing investigation and current caseload. Confirmed case numbers are added to the district’s public dashboard on weekday mornings, with quarantine data updated weekly.

*The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and CDPHE have revised their guidelines to allow for shorter quarantining days. If a person is not showing symptoms by 10 days after exposure, and is not considered a highly vulnerable person (or does not have close contact to a highly vulnerable person), they may end their quarantine after day 10; however, it will be essential that they continue to closely monitor their symptoms for a full 14 days after exposure. If the shortened quarantine length is not appropriate given the individual circumstances, the full 14 day quarantine period may be required.

Additional Quarantine Information

Safety Measures

Every school has strict safety measures in place that follow CDPHE guidelines and CDC best practices, including:
– Required Mask Wearing
– Social Distancing
– High-Quality Air Ventilation
– Seating Charts for Targeted Quarantining
– Heightened and Increased Cleaning Protocols
– Availability of Community-wide Testing
– Hand Sanitizer Stations and Increased Hand Washing
– Temperature and Symptom Checks

Targeted vs. Standard Quarantining

Targeted quarantining uses seating charts and other case investigation information to limit quarantining to only those individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. Standard quarantining impacts anyone in the cohort of the infected person. BCPH supports St. Vrain’s implementation of targeted quarantining when appropriate (for some activities and younger grade levels, standard quarantining may be recommended). Under standard quarantining protocols, the district experiences significant impacts to the availability of in-person teachers and staff, which causes significant disruptions to our learning environments. If CDPHE changes their quarantining protocols to require standard quarantining under any level of the state’s COVID-19 Dial Framework, the district may be required to return to online learning.

Testing

Free and low-cost COVID-19 testing is widely available throughout Boulder and Weld Counties, including at the Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools. Any staff member or student who has been required to quarantine is strongly encouraged to be tested 7-14 days after their initial exposure. Register for testing at our Innovation Center site at https://covidcheckcolorado.org.

Additional Resources

If you have questions about the quarantining process, please contact your school health clerk. Additional information about COVID-19 can be found at:
https://boco.org/Covid19Dial
https://covid19.colorado.gov
https://covid19.colorado.gov/cases-and-outbreaks-child-care-schools