Schools & Day Cares
GUIDELINES FOR THE 2022-23 SCHOOL YEAR
COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, including school-aged children. The following tools are available to support in-person learning: Vaccines are available for those as young as 6 months of age, tests are in sufficient supply and medications are available to reduce the risk of and treat COVID-19 illness. Schools are encouraged to continue to work closely and communicate with the BCHD regarding COVID-19 and current conditions in their community.
Here's what K-12 schools and early childhood programs can do to help support safe in-person environments for students and staff:
Provide information about COVID-19 vaccines regularly, including how they can be obtained and make sure these communications meet the needs of individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities.
Encourage staying home when sick.
Remind individuals who have symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea, to stay home. Recommend individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms get tested as soon as possible. For guidelines on COVID-19 isolation and quarantine, visit here.
Encourage handwashing and respiratory etiquette.
Teach and reinforce proper handwashing and provide adequate handwashing supplies, including soap and water or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Teach and reinforce covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow – not hands.
Clean surfaces daily.
Clean surfaces at least once a day with products containing soap or detergent. Early childhood programs should follow recommended procedures for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection in their setting such as after diapering, feeding and exposure to bodily fluids.
Consider broad or targeted testing.
Broad or targeted testing of students and staff should be considered when COVID-19 case rates are rising, there are known exposures within the school, there are school outbreaks or when returning to school after breaks and holidays.
MDHHS is continuing to make testing resources available to schools, including COVID-19 antigen tests to be conducted by the school, at-home tests to be distributed to staff, parents and guardians, testing vendors to assist with school testing and health resource advocates to support keeping schools safe. For questions about these resources, email [email protected].
Broad masking should be considered when case rates are increasing or there is an outbreak in the school. For more information on outbreaks visit here. Promote acceptance for individuals who choose to wear masks, including students who need to wear masks for any reason.
Take additional steps to increase outdoor air intake and improve air filtration, such as safely opening windows and doors, including on school buses, and using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters. Consider holding some activities outside when possible.
Report COVID-19 cases.
Schools must report COVID-19 aggregate cases in staff and students to the LHD daily. Individual-level information also must be documented, including name of the disease, student demographic information – full name, date of birth, grade, classroom, street address along with ZIP code, name of parent/guardian and phone number(s) – date the student was first absent and the individual who identified the disease (e.g., health care provider, parent/guardian, etc.).