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REPORTING A COVID POSITIVE RESULT TO SCHOOL

2022-23 COVID Q & A FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS

As schools re-open for the 2022-2023 school year, protocols for responding to the COVID-19 virus and its latest variants have shifted from pandemic to endemic responses. The Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated their response protocols. 

All entities are responding to COVID-19 like other communicable diseases that impact the school setting, such as the Flu, Norovirus, and Measles.  FCCPS is here to support parents and guardians, students, staff, and families should a positive case impact their family. Below are some helpful questions and answers for your family in this situation.

HOW DOES FCCPS HANDLE POSITIVE CASES OF COVID AND EXPOSURES?

FCCPS follows the guidance of the Virginia Department of Health. Here is the most updated guidance from the Virginia Department of Health for Schools.

WHAT HAS CHANGED WITH HOW FCCPS HANDLES COVID-19?

FCCPS is implementing the latest updated guidance from the Virginia Department of Health. The most recent changes include

  • The Fairfax County Health Department is no longer contact tracing individual cases of COVID-19 or following students/staff who have been exposed.

  • Positive cases isolate for Days 0-5 (based on symptom onset or date of positive test result with no symptoms) and may return on Day 6 with resolved symptoms provided they wear a mask for Days 6-10 or they provide a negative rapid test result to nurse to return without mask wearing.

  • “Redcap” reports are only submitted for multiple case/outbreak situations; 

  • Exposures should monitor themselves for symptoms, no longer have to test or remain home regardless of vaccination status, and testing is only needed when exposure becomes symptomatic.

Here is the most updated guidance from the Virginia Department of Health for Schools

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID NOW THAT THERE ARE NEW VARIANTS?

COVID-19 and its variants affect different people in different ways. Infected people have reported a wide range of symptoms – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion

  • Inability to wake or stay awake

  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

WHAT DO I DO IF MY STUDENT TESTS POSITIVE?

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must remain isolated and complete the 22-23 FCCPS COVID Positive Reporting Form. Anyone in your household displaying symptoms should remain home and get tested, regardless of vaccination status.

WHO DO I CONTACT?

Use the 22-23 FCCPS COVID Positive Reporting Form to report all COVID-19 positive cases. Parents should contact the school’s attendance email to report a student's absence.

Someone from the FCCPS Health Team will contact the person who submitted the form after reviewing the information with guidance. After submitting the form, there is one more step.

HOW DOES MY STUDENT DO THEIR SCHOOL WORK WHEN THEY CAN NOT COME TO SCHOOL IN PERSON?

Just as with any other absence, work with your student’s teacher(s) to help keep the student current in their school work and learning.

CAN THE OTHER STUDENTS IN THE HOME COME TO SCHOOL IN PERSON?

Any other student(s) in the home can come to school if they are not ill and do not have any symptoms.

WHEN CAN MY STUDENT RETURN TO SCHOOL AFTER BEING COVID POSITIVE?

The FCCPS Health Team will review the information provided on the 2022-23 FCCPS COVID Positive Reporting Form to determine the date that each student can return to school. In general, return dates are based on the date of symptom onset or the date of the positive test result and the resolution of symptoms. You will receive an email from the FCCPS Health Team with guidance regarding a return date, whether symptoms have been resolved, and other information. If you have medical questions specific to your student, please contact your healthcare provider. Contact 911 in the event of an emergency.

ARE COVID VACCINES REQUIRED TO COME TO SCHOOL?

Vaccinations and boosters, as appropriate, are highly recommended but not required. Students do not have to have proof of vaccination to attend school or participate in sports/clubs or other activities. FCCPS follows the recommendations of the Virginia High School League for all sports. 

While the COVID vaccine is not required, there are other required immunizations for school entry. Please visit the Virginia Department of Health’s Immunization Information page for details.

CAN MY STUDENT WEAR A MASK?

Absolutely. FCCPS supports the agency of our students and staff to make their own choices in areas such as masking and social distancing. If your student wears a mask, FCCPS will support that choice. 

Masking is required when a COVID-positive person returns to school for Days 6-10 unless they submit a negative rapid test. Please see the updated guidance from the Virginia Department of Health for Schools regarding this process. 

WILL MY STUDENT BE SENT HOME IF THEY ARE SNEEZING, COUGHING, HAVE A RUNNY NOSE, OR HAVE OTHER SYMPTOMS?

In general, the answer is yes. COVID-19 and many other viruses/germs are spread via respiratory droplets. Additionally, ill students are not at their best for learning and risk spreading illness, not just COVID-19, to others. 

Any students with symptoms of illness will be sent home. They may return when their symptoms have resolved and are cleared by a healthcare provider to return or have a negative test. The only exception to this is for students with known health conditions documented by a physician.

WILL THE SCHOOLS CONTINUE TO GIVE OUT RAPID TESTS FOR STAFF AND STUDENTS?

Yes, BinaxNow rapid tests will continue to be provided to any student/staff member who is symptomatic as long as they are made available by the Virginia Department of Health for schools. These tests can be picked up from the school health clinic. These are proctored tests, and families will receive a confirmation report with the results as well. FCCPs staff can not administer these tests. But can help parents with the process if needed.

Free rapid tests from the federal government can also be sent directly to your home. Please visit https://www.covid.gov/tests to order.