What Happens if a Student or Teacher Is Diagnosed with COVID in SC Public School?

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New DHEC Interim Guidance was released yesterday.

What happens when a student or teacher is sick?

Students and staff may not attend school if you have any one of these symptoms: fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, new or worsening cough OR two of the following symptoms: sore throat, muscle or body aches, chills, fatigue, headache, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting

Students and teachers are encouraged to not attend if they have any of these symptoms. If the symptoms are explainable to an underlying condition (such as coughing is due to asthma) then exclusion might not be necessary.

When and how can they then return to school?

Students or staff that are excluded from school due to these symptoms will be required to produce either a negative COVID-19 test to return (Note: This is a negative PCR test. Antibody tests will not be accepted), completion of isolation period, or medical documentation that the symptoms are due to another cause.

The isolation period is: 10 days since symptoms started, 3 days since last fever without fever reducing medication, and improved symptoms. If a test is positive but the person is asymptomatic they will be required to isolate 10 days from their positive test.

What if someone shows up to school and then displays symptoms?

There will be an isolation room at schools that will allow the person to be evaluated while providing distance between them and other students and staff. The school nurses will have official protocols for caring for these students and staff.

Who else will be sent home if there is a positive COVID-19 case at school?

If a student or staff member is diagnosed as positive, then all close contacts will be excluded from school for 14 days from the point of contact. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes. This includes if the contacts are wearing masks. The person is considered to have been contagious for 48 hours prior to symptoms or a positive test result (in the case of asymptomatic positive cases).

If a classroom is not able to social distance (for instance the children are too small to distance), then the entire class will be excluded from school for 14 days.

If a classroom does distance, the children and teacher will be monitored each day for fever and symptoms everyday for 14 days and will be excluded if they have symptoms.

The classroom will be cleaned and disinfected before use if there is a positive COVID case.

What if a teacher or student has close contact with someone with COVID-19?

The teacher or student should quarantine for 14 days from the last point of contact with the person while they were contagious with COVID-19.

What if a teacher or student lives with someone with COVID-19?

If the teacher or student lives with someone with COVID and has close daily contact with that person, they will be required to quarantine while the person is sick and additionally 14 days after the person’s isolation period ends.

What if a teacher or student lives with someone who is not sick but quarantined due to COVID-19?

That teacher or student will not necessarily also be under quarantine. DHEC will advise if they need to be under quarantine.

About the Author
Bethany Winston is the owner and editor-in-chief of Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys exploring parks, discovering local events, and meeting the people who make Greenville an amazing place to live. You can contact her directly at bethany@kiddingaroundgreenville.com.

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