Health and Safety FAQ
A parent's guide to student health
Safety procedures at school
We have implemented procedures for safety and health. Based on guidance from health officials, these new procedures have been built around the following priorities:
- K-12 students and staff wearing cloth face coverings at school
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces throughout the day
- Monitoring symptoms and temperatures at home before attending school
- Maintaining social distancing whenever possible; keeping students in small groups and limiting the mixing of groups; staggered times for movement throughout the building
- Hand hygiene practices and education, including scheduled time for frequent hand washing and access to hand sanitizer throughout the building
- Increased circulation of outdoor air when possible
- Rearranging furniture to allow for social distancing whenever possible
- Cleaning buses between routes, wearing masks on buses, opening bus windows to increase air circulation, encouraging driving to school if possible
- Adjusting large events, activities and gatherings for social distancing
- Limiting the presence of visitors in Parkway buildings
How do you ensure proper air ventilation in schools?
Last summer, we changed filters on HVAC equipment and our maintenance staff continues to ensure the equipment is operating correctly. Over the last five years, Parkway has spent over $25 million updating heating and cooling systems districtwide. The updates were done based on standards established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which are recommended by the CDC. These upgraded systems utilize the newest technologies and are integrated with a building control system that monitors their performance in real-time. This ensures fresh outside air is brought in continually throughout the day, and that components such as fans and filtering systems are working correctly. System operation and ventilation will continue to be monitored and updated based on CDC and ASHRAE guidance.
If a student or staff member has COVID-19 symptoms at school, what will happen and how will those symptoms be evaluated?
If a student or staff member has COVID-19 symptoms at school they will be evaluated by the school nurse and then a decision will be made to send them home.
If a student is kept home due to illness or sent home, what will be required of them upon return?
We will ask that students with symptoms that are consistent with a possible COVID-19 infection be evaluated by their healthcare provider and get clearance to return to school. Their healthcare provider will make the determination if a COVID-19 test is needed. We will also follow the guidance of the health department as to how long a student may be required to remain home.
What happens if a student or staff member who has attended school is diagnosed with COVID-19?
Parents and staff will be notified immediately if they have had close contact with anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19. We will follow the guidance of public health authorities in making decisions to close classrooms or schools, or to quarantine specific groups of students or staff. Parkway is fortunate to have in-house contact tracers on our Health Services team with previous experience and also updated training in contact tracing.
Will parents and staff be notified of a positive case in their school or classroom if they were not a close contact?
Parkway will notify parents and staff if a positive case is identified in a classroom even if they are not determined to be a close contact. In addition, the parents of any students who have a health condition that makes them particularly at risk will be notified if a positive case is identified in a classroom or in the school. We will not notify the entire school for individual cases on a regular basis, unless there is a concern about the total number of cases school-wide.
Does Parkway publish information on positive cases among students and staff?
Parkway publishes the total numbers of positive cases among students and staff on our Community Health Dashboard here. Strict confidentiality is maintained for individuals who have tested positive and individually identifiable information will not be shared.
Will students or staff who have been in contact need to quarantine? Will the school/classroom close?
We will be in close consultation with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health to make decisions about the need for individuals or groups of people to be quarantined or tested for COVID-19, depending on the exposure. The Parkway Health Services team will take responsibility for surveillance and follow-up with parents and staff.
Our response and subsequent immediate action steps will be dependent on the situation. We are following the guidance of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. Individuals who are known to have close contact with a person who has COVID-19, or who have spent more than 120 minutes in the same room with an infected person will be required to quarantine. Currently, the health department requires a 10-day quarantine for close and prolonged contacts. Close contact is defined by health officials as an individual who has been within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes of time (cumulative).
When a case is Identified
If an individual within a school building has tested positive for COVID-19, schools will work with our local health department to respond to the situation:
- In consultation with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, contact tracers will identify who the individual was in close contact with, within a 6-foot space, for at least 15 minutes (cumulative over 24 hours). It is possible that everyone who was in the same room, bus or other areas may need to quarantine. (Parkway will keep seating charts and bus logs in order to assist with contact tracing).
- In the event that an individual who is positive has spent time in a building while infectious, those locations will be cleaned and disinfected.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, when can they return to school or work?
If someone tests positive for COVID-19, or if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, medical clearance would be required prior to returning to school or work. Current CDC isolation protocols require that individuals stay home for at least 10 days after symptoms begin and that they are fever-free for at least 24 hours prior to returning to contact with others. If someone tests positive for the virus but does not have any symptoms, current protocols require that they isolate for 10 days from the date of their positive test.
If a student or staff member is a close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, when can they return to school or work?
When someone is identified as a close contact with an individual who is positive for COVID-19, current public health protocols require that they stay home for 10 days from their last day of contact with the positive individual.
What health screenings are in place for students and staff?
Staff are required to complete a daily health screening prior to coming to work. Parents are asked to screen their child(ren) before they leave for school. We have created a simple form to complete this staff and student screening which is available at https://pkwy.info/screeningtool.
We ask that parents check their student for fever, a sense of having a fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, new loss of smell or taste, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. Not all children who have COVID-19 will have a fever, so parents should check their children closely for any of the other symptoms. Students and staff who are a known close contact with an individual (such as a family member) who has symptoms of COVID-19, who is sick and awaiting COVID-19 test results, or who has tested positive for COVID-19 should also stay home.
Anyone, staff or student, with a fever of 100.4º F or higher, or any of the screening symptoms, should not attend school.
If any of the COVID-19 symptoms occur, please take the following actions:
- Keep your child at home
- Call your child’s school to report the symptoms your child is experiencing
- Call your child’s health care provider for advice on managing the illness
Will students or staff be required to quarantine if they travel?
We will be following the guidance of the St. Louis County Department of Health and the CDC when it comes to recommended quarantines for travel. The CDC does recommend caution when traveling. You can find updated travel information on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html.