Back to school: Test positive for COVID-19? Here's what Lee students, parents need to do

·4 min read

As students return the the classroom on Aug. 10 amid the the latest COVID-19 resurgence due to the BA.5 variant, there's guaranteed to be students coming home with the tell-tale signs of infection.

Lee County has been labeled as having a high rate of community transmission by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lee County reported 2,449 new COVID-19 cases the week of July 22 to 28 and a positivity rate of 29.2%, according to state Department of Health data released July 29.

BinaxNow tests such as the one shown here have been given out free at libraries across Ohio during the pandemic for use at home.
BinaxNow tests such as the one shown here have been given out free at libraries across Ohio during the pandemic for use at home.

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The Lee County School District provided the following information on protocols related to COVID-19 for the 2022-23 school year:

If a student is exposed to COVID-19 what do they/parents need to do?

Students should monitor daily for  COVID-19 like symptoms. This includes fever, shortness of breath, cough, headache, fatigue, body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

If a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19 what do they/parents need to do?

Students and employees that test positive for COVID-19, or show symptoms, need to stay home until they either:

  • Get a negative COVID-19 test and are asymptomatic.

  • Five days have passed since symptoms started, or from when they tested positive. They must also be fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms are improving.

  • Receive written permission from a doctor to return to school.

How long do students and teachers need to quarantine if positive for COVID-19? What about for exposure?

Students or employees who test positive should remain at home and may contact their healthcare provider. They are able to return to school after 5 days as long as they have been fever free for at least 24 hours. No additional testing is required.

If exposed and symptoms of COVID-19 develop, stay home. If asymptomatic, they do not need to quarantine, however, they should continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days after exposure. Exposure means being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes within 24 hours. Follow the guidance if you test positive or have symptoms of illness.

Will the district be tracking COVID positive students/staff this year? If so, when and where can those reports be accessed?

No, the district will not be tracking COVID-19 cases this year.

"We will continue to follow Rule: 64D-3.029 in the identification of clusters of any illness, whether it's COVID, respiratory, gastrointestinal, rash, etc. and report to FDOH for further investigation," the district said in a letter to parents that was also sent to the News-Press. "Due to this update, the District will no longer require students and staff to fill out a COVID Incident Report. Therefore, the District will also discontinue the use of the Incident Reporting Log. "

"The District will also no longer use the COVID Matrix to identify action steps for students and staff during the different levels of transmission," the letter stated. "Instead, we will be practicing our COVID-19 preventative measures during all community levels. These include practicing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, providing hand-sanitizer, practicing regular cleaning, and maintaining fresh air circulation with the use of HVAC systems."

What are the cleaning protocols this year for COVID-19?

We will continue to perform ongoing and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas.

Will there be any shields, dividers, social distancing, masking requirements or recommendations this year?

No.

If a student tests positive for COVID, how will they get school work/catch up?

Students can keep up or catch up on work missed through Google Classroom.

Where can parents get the most updated information on school COVID protocols, announcements, changes, etc.?

Any changes to these protocols will be sent to all families via email. The only way to receive those emails is to register for a School Messenger account.

The updated information will also be posted on the district website at leeschools.net.

Nikki Ross covers education for the Fort Myers News-Press and Naples Daily News. She can be reached at NRoss@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @nikkiinreallife.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Student tests positive for COVID in Lee Schools? Here's what to do