Frequently Asked Questions
If we travel out of town, do we need to quarantine ourselves 2 weeks before returning to work or school?
- Currently, there are not any restrictions on travel. We follow the DHSS and CDC recommendations on travel guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html If, as a school district, we have some concerns about a student or staff member’s recent travels and the safety of returning to the school environment, we would seek guidance from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health in determining whether or not it was appropriate to recommend a period of quarantine based on the circumstances of the travel.
What can we as parents do to help our schools remain in session during the pandemic?
- First and foremost, keep symptomatic and sick kids home from school.
- When out in the community, avoid the 3 C’s: crowds, close spaces and close contact.
- Consistently practice the mitigating strategies recommended by the CDC: wear a mask, socially distance at least 6 feet from others, practice good hand hygiene and refrain from touching your face.
Why is it so important to wear a mask?
- All staff and students are required to wear a facial mask while at school because wearing a mask has been scientifically proven to help decrease the spread of covid-19 and is a vital mitigation strategy that is addressed in our Return to Learn Plan (p.5).
- Multi-ply cloth and paper face masks are the most effective types of masks for everyday wear. Your child will be provided with a face mask with their school logo but are allowed to wear any non-offense design of their choosing, however, gaiters, bandanas and valved face masks will not be allowed as they have proven to be ineffective in adequately filtering the covid-19 virus.
- For masks to be effective, they must fit snuggly and cover both the nose and mouth. Please make sure your child’s mask fits well and is comfortable. It is always a good idea to send an extra mask or two in the event your child’s mask gets either wet or soiled.
- Reusable masks should be laundered every day or two for hygienic purposes.
What if my child has symptoms of covid-19 and I decide not to have my child tested for covid-19?
If your child has symptoms of covid-19 and you decide not to get them tested then your child will be presumed to be positive and will have to follow the guidelines for individuals who are positive for covid-19 which require 10 days of isolation from the first symptom. In addition to the isolation, the student must be fever free for 24 hours without using over the counter fever medication and their symptoms must be improved prior to being cleared to return to school.
A family member who lives in the same household as my child has been tested for covid-19, can my child still come to school while we wait for the test results?
No. We ask that if a member of your household is tested for covid-19 then all members of the household remain at home in quarantine until the test results are confirmed. If they test results are negative, the child may return to school. If the test results are positive, your child will be required to complete 14 days of quarantine from their last exposure to the covid positive individual.
My child had a close contact exposure with another person who was in their infectious period for covid-19, when can they return to school?
If your child was deemed to have close contact with another person who was positive for covid then your child will have to complete 14 days of quarantine prior to returning to school, even if your child had a negative covid test after that exposure. A negative covid test only tells us that your child did not have covid on the day of the test. The potential still exists to develop the virus all the way until 14 days after exposure.
My child was tested for covid-19, can he/she come to school while we wait for the results since he/she feels fine?
No, your child must quarantine until those results are known. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health mandates that all persons being tested for covid-19 must be quarantined while waiting for test results.
What if there is a positive case of covid in my child’s school?
- Upon notification of a positive covid case, our district certified contact tracers will immediately investigate, identify and notify all families and staff that have been identified as having close contact with the individual and provide additional instructions on quarantining and follow-up testing based on the Protocol for Schools Assisting Contact Tracing designed by the physicians at Washington University https://www.ladueschools.net/health-services/contact-information/ and recommendations made by the St. Louis County Department of Health.
- Our nurses will also send out a communication to families to notify them of a case within the school but are unable to disclose any additional information due to federal laws protecting confidentiality.
- Please understand that if you have not been personally contacted by a representative from the school that your child has not been directly exposed or impacted by the positive covid case.
My student has seasonal allergies and it is normal for my child to have congestion, runny nose and a cough?
- If your child has seasonal allergies, then it is important that you consult your physician to discuss the importance of consistent seasonal allergy treatment. It would also be helpful if you provided a letter from your physician stating your child has been diagnosed with seasonal allergies and what recommended treatment plan has been prescribed to control symptoms.
- We are encouraging our teachers and staff to bring our students outdoors as much as possible as that has been proven to help decrease the spread of the covid-19 and allows us to have increased social distancing for our students.
Why is it inadvisable to give my child an over the counter medication for mild symptoms of illness prior to sending them to school?
- When you give an over the counter medication such as advil or tylenol, it will mask any symptoms that are important for us to know about because those symptoms may be related to covid-19. Therefore, we are asking that if your child needs an over the counter medication in the morning because they are not feeling well or have a minor complaint, that you keep them at home for the duration of the school day.
- We will not be administering over the counter medications like tylenol or advil for minor complaints at school but rather we will send your child home for observation or physician follow-up.
- We will continue to administer over the counter medication for discomfort related to orthodontia, menstrual cramps and injuries as appropriate with consent on file.
Why is my child being sent home for a runny nose or other mild symptom when my child feels fine?
- Unfortunately, covid-19 can present as a very mild or very severe illness so all symptoms have to be taken seriously and our nurses will follow the Student Symptom Decision Tree in order to keep all students safe and healthy. http://wupaarc.wustl.edu/COVID-19-and-Children/Algorithms-for-Clinicians-and-Schools/-School-based-Algorithm
- Please make sure you are prepared and have transportation plans for your child if you work or do not have access to a car. Your child needs to be picked up immediately if we are sending them home.
My child is sick today, what should I do?
If your child is displaying any symptoms of covid-19 or not feeling well, then we ask that you keep your child home from school and follow the Student Symptom Decision Tree. http://wupaarc.wustl.edu/COVID-19-and-Children/Algorithms-for-Clinicians-and-Schools/-School-based-Algorithm. Your school nurse would be glad to help you decide your next steps. Here is the contact information for our district nurses. https://www.ladueschools.net/health-services/contact-information/
What are the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and what should I do if my child or someone in my family has symptoms?
- Information on the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 are listed in our Return to Learn Plan (p. 4-5). If your child has symptoms of covid-19, please call your building nurse and she will guide you in taking the next steps.
- Our nurses all use the Student Symptom Decision Tree developed by the physicians at Washington University to give guidance to school nurses. http://wupaarc.wustl.edu/COVID-19-and-Children/Algorithms-for-Clinicians-and-Schools/-School-based-Algorithm
My child’s school is asking me to screen my kids at home before sending them to school. What am I supposed to look for?
An important component of our Return to Learn Plan is to make sure that kids who are even mildly sick do not come to school. It is also very important to keep them home if they have been exposed or potentially exposed to coronavirus or have been instructed to quarantine by a health professional. This flyer can walk you through the at home screening process: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/my-drive
What actions will be taken to ensure the safety of our students?
The Ladue School District has developed a proactive plan based on guidance from expert agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and St. Louis County Department of Public Health, which places student and staff safety at the forefront of returning to school. Classroom teachers and support staff will play an increasingly important role in the health and wellness of students.
Additional safety measures beyond the daily and hourly classroom checklist include:
- Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings during the school day and are welcome to bring their own. However, the district (with a donation from the Ladue Education Foundation) has purchased cloth face coverings for all students and staff that will be available on the first day of school.
- With recent evidence that COVID-19 can be aerosolized through exhalation, in the event face coverings cannot be worn during activities such as indoor singing, running, etc., teachers will hold class outside with social distancing protocols or provide an alternate activity if being outdoors is not an option.
- To the extent possible, students will be spaced throughout the classroom to promote social distancing.
- We will limit the use of community supplies that are difficult to disinfect (pencils, calculators, lab equipment, machinery, P.E. equipment, etc.) in the classroom and at recess.
- To avoid groups from congregating around water fountains waiting for access we will only allow the use of water fountains for filling water bottles.
On the first day of school and throughout the first week, these new safety procedures will be taught and practiced in all of our classrooms. Parental support and reinforcement of these new measures will be critical in providing the safest possible environment for our students and staff.
Will the district provide face coverings?
The district has purchased washable cloth face coverings for every student, thanks to a generous donation made by the Ladue Education Foundation (LEF). As a reminder, face coverings are required.
What happens if a student or staff member becomes sick at school?
As you can imagine, the fall and winter will present some challenges as COVID-19 symptoms may be similar to
other cold and flu symptoms. Therefore, the school nurse will determine if symptoms meet the criteria for concern
of COVID-19, in which case:
- The student or staff member will be separated from other students.
- Parent(s) will be contacted immediately to pick the child up from school.
- Siblings or others living in the same household as that child or staff member and attending Ladue Schools will also be screened and sent home.
- Information about testing locations will be provided to the family.
What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 or was in close contact with someone who has?
If an individual or multiple individuals within a school building test positive for COVID-19, schools will be required to work with their local health department. However, the following procedures can be expected to be put in place:
- Parent(s) will be contacted immediately to pick up the child(ren) from school or staff will be sent home.
- Siblings or others living in the same household as that child or staff member and attending Ladue Schools will be sent home and placed on quarantine until cleared by the health department.
- To provide assistance to families, our school nurses will share information about testing locations and community resources.
- Identify the location of the individual(s) with whom the individual(s) were in close contact, defined as being within a 6-foot space, for at least 15 minutes.
- If specific contacts cannot be identified, quarantine everyone who was in the same room, bus or other areas. Schools will need to keep room/bus logs or photos to assist with contact tracing. By having classroom and bus seating charts or photos, the number of students required to be quarantined can be minimized.
- The St. Louis County Department of Public Health suggests the building or district close for ten days if any of the following occur:
(Percentages may change when additional scientific data becomes available)
- More than 5% of the student/staff population in a building or district tests positive any day
- 4% test positive over two days in a row
- 3% test positive for three days in a row
- Spaces in each building will be identified for isolating a sick student or staff member until the individual can leave the building.
- If a person diagnosed with COVID-19 is determined to have been in the building and poses a risk to the staff or students, a school may close for 1-2 days for cleaning and disinfection of that building or exposed area if cleaning of the area(s) is not possible during the nighttime closing.
The district’s implementation of health and safety considerations from the CDC will mitigate the risk of spread and exposure. However, the district and community should recognize that we will have the potential for students to be exposed to and possibly contract COVID-19. In light of this reality, we have identified various employees throughout the district, including all building nurses and administrators, to be trained as certified through Johns Hopkins University as COVID-19 Contact Tracers to assist in reducing further spread and exposure.
What are the general precautions for cleaning after a student/teacher becomes ill?
The area will be closed off and will not be available until cleaned and disinfected. Custodial staff will use electrostatic machines to conduct a deep clean and disinfect the space from COVID-19 or flu-like germs.
What criteria will be used to determine when to transition from one tier to another?
Due to the ever-changing circumstances related to the pandemic, it may become necessary to transition between tiers based on our current situation as a district or changes made by health experts and/or government mandates. We were intentional about developing a diverse district plan to ensure we are prepared for changes that might occur after school has started. It is important to note that in the event a school needs to shut down that school will move to tier 3 while deep cleaning occurs and the other Ladue schools would remain open.
How will my child’s social/emotional health be addressed when school resumes?
Effectively addressing the mental health and emotional well-being of students and staff has a positive impact on both psychological and academic outcomes. We are establishing a comprehensive plan to meet students where they are to allow us to engage in a proactive position. Equally important is ensuring our procedures and recommendations are fully-inclusive and equitable. We have incorporated recommendations from the following to help create a plan to support the social and emotional needs of our students:
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has been working in the field of social and emotional learning (SEL) for the last 25 years. Its mission is to help make evidence-based SEL an integral part of education for Pre-K through high school. They have identified five core competencies that are critical to helping students cope effectively with daily events and create a foundation for academic success. They are:
- Social Awareness
- Relationship Skills
- Responsible Decision-Making
We have a host of specialists that will be able to provide professional development to staff, provide direct support to students and serve as a resource to families: school counselors, school nurses, district social workers, school psychologists, behavior interventionists, instructional coaches, reading interventionists, math specialists and English learner support.
Services and supports provided will:
- Create and deliver professional development to staff on topics such as coping strategies for stress and anxiety, trauma-informed care, culturally relevant instructional practices and collective efficacy.
- Collaborate with teachers on classroom activities to support the mental health needs of students, restorative practices and community building.
- Collaborate with community-based mental health agencies.
- Provide classroom lessons centered on universal support, helping to set classroom expectations and structures to encourage maintaining healthy environments.
How will you provide a safe environment during restroom breaks for students?
Schools will limit the number of students in the restroom by implementing scheduled restroom breaks so each grade/class may go at a specific time and avoid mixing students from different classes. Spaces will be marked outside restrooms to provide visual cues to ensure social distancing while waiting.
Custodians will administer at least one deep cleaning each day and clean/wipe down high-touch surfaces in the restrooms throughout the day. In addition, staff will maintain a restroom cleaning log to assist with contact tracing, if necessary.