Less than a week away from the first day of school on Aug. 24, Greenville County Schools has announced on Wednesday, Aug. 19 its protocol for handling COVID-19 cases.
“When a student or staff member in one of our schools tests positive for COVID-19, that person will be excluded from school for at least 10 days and directed to isolate. Contact tracing will begin immediately,” the school district’s director of media relations, Tim Waller, said in an email.
There will be three types of notifications in case there is a COVID-19 positive case: close contact, not close contact and school-wide.
Those who have been in close contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 while that person was contagious will be excluded from school for 14 days. The district defines close contact in this case as anyone who was within 6 feet of a COVID-positive person for more than 15 minutes, someone who was living in the same house with an individual with COVID-19, anyone caring for someone who is recovering from the novel coronavirus, or anyone who was in direct contact with respiratory droplets that came from someone COVID-19 positive.
Siblings who live with a student who does test positive for COVID-19 as well as children of teachers who test positive will still be considered close contacts. A negative COVID-19 test result will not change the quarantine requirement, according to Waller.
Students who had been in close contact with someone meeting those criteria will receive a phone call from a school staffer.
The students who share a classroom or other area with a COVID-19 positive person — categorized by the district as not close contact — will receive a personal notification, and families will also be called to be informed. These individuals should be monitored for COVID-19 symptoms. The district recommends that these individuals also have limited contact time with family members considered at high risk.
A school-wide notification will be placed on the Greenville County Schools website when a case is identified; this will be in addition to personal notifications to close contacts.
“This will provide school-wide notification to those who are interested. It will also provide a historical reference and transparency for the entire GCS community,” Waller said.