COVID Update: Contact Tracing Procedures

COVID Update: Contact Tracing Procedures
Posted on 01/31/2022
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On Jan. 31, 2022, Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller shared the following update with staff and parents/guardians regarding a change in COVID-19 contact tracing protocols per the guidance of the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County General Health District. 

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Dear Lakota Parents & Guardians,

Last week, school superintendents and health departments throughout Ohio received an update from Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), regarding COVID-19 contact tracing parameters.

The update acknowledges that “the quick spread of the Omicron variant and its rapid clinical course have made universal contact tracing, case investigation and exposure notification impractical when combined with newly reduced timelines for quarantine and isolation.” The memo continues to explain that school districts are no longer required to contact trace when notified of positive COVID cases. However, school districts are still required to follow ODH’s “Mask to Stay, Test to Play” protocols, which allows asymptomatic students who have been exposed to a positive case to continue attending school while wearing a mask.

Since this announcement was made, we have met with our local health commissioner, Erik Balster, from the Butler County General Health District (BCGHD) to gain clarification about what is expected from school districts. The BCGHD supports the ODH statement and has agreed that schools are no longer required to contact trace. 

The BCGHD has informed schools that, as of Jan. 27, students who were placed in quarantine by the health department in the past 10 days can now return to normal activities. However, similar to Mask to Stay protocols, anyone who has been exposed to COVID but remains asymptomatic should wear a mask for 10 days. Please refer to ODH protocols about steps to take when exposed to COVID or if you are experiencing symptoms.

Our COVID response team has met to review our protocols. Beginning tomorrow, the following steps will be taken when we are notified of a positive COVID case:

  • Classroom transparency letters will continue to be emailed to all impacted students in the same class as the positive individual;
  • Any student in specialized classrooms with students who are unable to mask due to the nature of their disabilities or who are immunocompromised will receive a separate communication from the building; 
  • Students and staff who are in classes with a positive individual are asked to follow the “Mask to Stay, Test to Play” protocols, which include wearing a mask to school for 10 days;
  • If the student is involved in extracurricular activities, they should test within 24 hours of being notified and follow the additional protocols, which includes wearing a mask; and
  • Our schools will no longer send daily emails to all families with the total number of positive cases for the day.

Please continue to refer to the district’s COVID dashboard, which is updated weekly by 5 p.m. on Fridays, for the number of positive cases by school and district-wide.

While our numbers are still much higher than we would like to see, in our schools and the larger community, they are declining. We ask that our families continue to monitor their students for symptoms of COVID-19 and to please keep them home if they are sick. Furthermore, we strongly encourage all of our students and staff to wear masks and get vaccinated.

As we have all learned since March 2020, guidance and protocols related to COVID-19 continue to evolve and change. As this happens, we will continue to review and adjust as needed. 

Thank you for your continued support of Lakota and our students and staff.

Sincerely,

Matthew J. Miller
Superintendent