Visitor restrictions will be determined based on the level of infection threat as identified by the Department of Public Health. To help prevent the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of exposure to our staff and students, we are conducting a simple screening questionnaire and a temperature check once schools reopen. Participation is important to help us take precautionary measures to protect you and everyone in the building.
Student Screening and Protocols
HOME: Families should be encouraged to self-report symptoms of illness, which could include fever, new onset of cough, etc. Self-reporting mechanisms should include calling the school and your healthcare provider.
TRANSPORTATION: Buses should use clearly visible signage to communicate the symptoms students should not have while traveling on a school bus. Bus drivers and aides will be required to wear a mask. Buses will be sanitized before and after each route.
SCHOOL: School staff should visually check for symptoms (which include temperature checks) and/or confirm with families that students are COVID-19 symptom-free. All screening information will be kept confidential.
Employee Screening and Protocols
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure to our employees, we will be requiring employees to complete a self-screening form daily upon entrance to the building. This form will include a temperature reading and answering a set of questions related to COVID-19 symptoms:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19
All screening information will be kept confidential.
Guidance If Exposed
If the staff member or someone he/she has been in contact with has been exposed to the virus, contact the individual healthcare provider. Should additional measures be required, he/she will be contacted by the Department of Public Health to begin the contact tracing protocol.
Employees, please do the following:
- Quarantine yourself in a specific room away from others in your home.
- Contact the following (in order of priority), let them know you have been exposed to COVID19, and then follow their instructions.
- Your healthcare provider
- DCS HR department
- Your supervisor (Your supervisor will work with HR to determine the appropriate next steps.)
Parents/Guardians, please do the following:
- Quarantine your child in a specific room away from others in your home
- Contact the following (in order of priority), let them know your child has been exposed to COVID19, then follow their instructions.
- Your healthcare provider
- School Nurse
If an employee or student becomes ill on-campus/district, he/she will immediately report to the school/district nurse’s isolation room and the case form will be completed.
Once the employee or student arrives at the isolation room, the nurse should immediately provide the individual with a mask.
- The nurse must complete the Suspected COVID-19 Case Form, call the local health authority, and seek advice regarding transportation and location.
- The nurse and others caring for the suspected infected person should also wear a protective mask and gloves.
- The nurse will direct the ill employee to leave work or call the parent of the student to be picked up and go home within one hour.
- The nurse will advise employees that they may have been in contact with an employee suspected of exposure. The exposed employee will need to carry out self-screening every morning; based on the results, contact the HR department.
- The isolation area and suspected employee’s or student’s work area/classroom must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, in addition to all other common surfaces recently touched by the employee or student.
Health Protocol for Employees & Students
If an employee or student has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to work or school depends on different factors for different situations.
Below are recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for various situations:
I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.
You can be with others after:
- At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and;
- At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and symptoms have improved.
I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms.
If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after:
- 10 days have passed since the test.
I have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) due to a health condition or medication.
When can I be around others?
- People with conditions that weaken their immune system might need to stay home for longer than 10 days. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information. If testing is available in your community, it may be recommended by your healthcare provider. You can be with others after you receive two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart.
For Anyone Who Has Been Around a Person with COVID-19
- It is important to remember that anyone who has close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after exposure based on the time it takes to develop the illness.
If a student or staff member has a fever or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19 and does not get tested, it is assumed they have COVID-19 and may not return to school until the 3 following criteria is met: At least 24 hours have passed since recovery (no fever without the use of medication), AND has improvement of symptoms, AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
All must have a release from a medical provider to return.
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling the symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
Staff members quarantined should fill out a FFCRA leave form found on the Dothan City School Operations and Personnel Services page under Personnel Resources. Please return this form to the Personnel Department.
For more information regarding CDC recommendations for duration of isolations and precautions, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html
DCS has taken measures to prepare for COVID-19. DCS will respond promptly upon suspicion of illness associated with coronavirus in efforts to identify, treat, and prevent the spread of the virus.
Procedure Explanation and Compliance Guidelines
- DCS has designated a Healthcare Liaison who will serve as the Coronavirus Coordinator. The Healthcare Liaison will assess system risk associated with COVID-19.
- The Healthcare Liaison will identify COVID-19 risk for county-based on ADPH risk identifier:Low Risk- Visitors allowed on DCS campuses; visitors must be screened and masked.
- Moderate Risk- Limited visitors on DCS campuses; visitors must be screened and masked.
- High Risk- Visitors by appointment only on DCS campuses; visitors must be screened and masked.
- Very High Risk- No outside visitors on DCS campuses.
- Each school will be responsible for ensuring appropriate signs are in place to display the risk category.
- All staff will be required to wear a mask appropriately when within 6 feet of another individual as long as it is mandated by the Governor.
- All students grade 2-12 will be required to wear a mask appropriately when within 6 feet of another individual as long as it is mandated by the Governor.
- All individuals will remain 6 feet apart when possible.
- Suspected cases are defined as an individual who develops one or more of the major COVID-19 symptoms, as identified above, without known contact with a confirmed case, or has been in contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days and develops symptoms (minor or major).
- A close contact is defined as anyone who has been within 3-6 feet of a known or suspected COVID-19 case. Distance will be based on individual exposure/cases. Close contact tracing will only identify individuals who have been in contact with a known or suspected case in the last 48 hours.
- The school nurse will assess students/staff for possible COVID-19.
- Any student/staff with the following symptoms will report to the school nurse for evaluation: Minor symptoms- fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, sore throat, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, congestion or runny nose; Major symptoms- shortness of breath, new onset of cough, the new loss of taste and/or smell.
- The school nurse will evaluate the risk for COVID-19 and report known or suspected cases to the Healthcare Liaison and other appropriate staff.
- The School nurse will initiate COVID-19 School Procedure guidelines.
- Quarantine guidelines for students are as follows:
- Positive cases with symptoms will be quarantined for 10 days from the onset of the first symptom and return to school on day 11.
- Positive cases without symptoms or unknown symptom onset will be quarantined for 10 days from the positive test date and return to school on day 11.
- Suspected cases without a confirmed diagnosis will quarantine for 10 days after the onset of the first symptom and return to school on day 11.
- Close contacts to a suspected case with only the symptom of a new onset of loss of taste and/or smell will be quarantined for 10 days and return on day 11.
- Close contacts to a positive case will quarantine for 10 days and return on day 11. If a close contact develops symptoms (major or minor), quarantine starts over from the date of the first onset of symptoms and the individual will quarantine for 10 days and return on day 11.
- If a suspected case tests negative, students that were considered close contacts will immediately return to school and the suspected case will return when symptoms have subsided.
- If an individual has a loss of taste/smell but tests negative, that individual will isolate for 10 days and return on day 11.
- Close contacts to an individual with a loss of taste/smell that tested negative will quarantine for 10 days and return on day 11.
- If the positive student is in Kindergarten or 1st grade, the whole class will be quarantined for 10 days from the last known date of exposure and return on day 11.
- Seating charts will be utilized when determining close contacts in the classroom.
- Only the students to the left, right, front, and back of the known or suspected case will be quarantined for seats that are in a row, unless other students are perceived to be a close contact, then those students will be considered.
- If a classroom has a table, all students at the affected table will be quarantined, unless other students are perceived to be a close contact, then those students will be considered.
- For buses, the students that sit in the same seat, in front or directly beside the suspected or known case will be quarantined, unless other students are perceived to be a close contact, then those students will be considered.
- Students CANNOT test out of quarantine early.
- Quarantine guidelines for staff are as follows:
- Positive cases with symptoms will quarantine for 10 days from the onset of the first symptom and return to work on day 11.
- Positive cases without symptoms or unknown symptom onset will quarantine for 10 days from positive test date and return on day 11.
- Staff with symptoms will be evaluated on an individual basis and a decision will be made by the Healthcare Liaison and/or appropriate staff.
- Staff that is potentially a close contact will be evaluated on an individual basis and a decision will be made by the Healthcare Liaison and/or appropriate staff. If staff is considered a close contact after evaluation, individual will quarantine for 7 days and return on day 8 with a negative Covid test within 48 hours of return or 10 days without a negative test and return on day 11.
- If a staff member lives in the same household with an individual that has tested positive, the staff member will quarantine for 10 days and return on day 11. (In this situation, the 7-day rule does not apply)
- In order to return after the 7-day quarantine, the individual will have to provide documentation of the negative test result from the MD.
- If a student or staff has tested positive in the last 90 days, individual does not have to follow quarantine guidelines unless individual becomes symptomatic.
- If an individual has been vaccinated and they are considered a close contact, they do not have to quarantine as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Are fully vaccinated, with at least two weeks since their final dose.
- Are within three months of receiving their final dose.
- Have remained asymptomatic since the exposure to COVID-19.
- If an individual does not meet all criteria for a vaccinated individual, they will quarantine per normal DCS guidelines.
- All athletics will be evaluated on an individual basis and a decision will be made by the Healthcare Liaison and/or other appropriate staff.
- If an individual has not been a close contact but is experiencing symptoms, the MD will determine if the individual has Covid and needs to be isolated or has an alternate diagnosis and can return to school/work with a note.
This procedure is subject to change at any time based on individual circumstances and risk level.
Social distancing is an effective way to prevent potential infection. DCS employees, students, and visitors should practice staying approximately six (6) feet away from others or eliminate contact with others. However, maintaining physical distance will not always be practical inside a school setting.
- Traffic flow and interaction gatherings shall be modified to comply with directives from the Department of Public Health.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Face masks are an important part of employee protection, as well as are personal hygiene, social distancing, and frequent cleaning efforts. Under the current health order, employees are required to wear a mask when within six (6) feet of others from another household. DCS will provide two (2) washable face masks per employee. ALSDE will provide three (3) additional masks per employee. Under the health order, amended to take effect July 16, students seven and older are required to wear masks. The July 16 amended health order also includes an exception for anyone with a medical condition or disability that prevents him or her from wearing a mask. ALSDE will provide three (3) masks per student. Parents/guardians may provide additional masks. Visitors will be required to wear a face mask when permitted in the building. Gloves will be required by school nurses, custodians, and food service workers.
Please note that social distancing should still be practiced even with the use of gloves and masks.
In addition to using PPE, please remember to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
Social-Emotional Wellbeing of Students and Staff
The campus counselors will develop videos and resources for parents and teachers to access. As a Tier 2 intervention, counselors will work with students individually or in small groups to address any wellbeing needs. The counselors will develop a student and staff survey. This survey will allow for individuals to give feedback on how to develop a stronger outreach program and support their needs. To address students' specific social-emotional needs, counselors will initiate the S4 (School-Based Mental Health) referral process for parents/students to access individualized therapeutic services.