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Responding to Suspected or Confirmed Cases

What do we do when there are confirmed cases?

WHY

To ensure the health of the local community, LEAs may have to take additional measures when a student, teacher, or staff member has symptoms, has been in contact with someone infected, or is diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

WHAT

Testing for COVID-19 

  • Recommended: LEAs should recommend testing for students and staff who display symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Reporting COVID-19 Cases

  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: Notify the local health department where the workplace is located if there is a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 at the workplace.
  • Hospitalization of Staff: Employers should report serious injury, illness, and death, including hospitalization and death from COVID-19, to Cal/OSHA, even if work-relatedness is uncertain. 

According to the CDPH

  • Isolation separates those infected with a contagious disease from people who are not infected; and
  • Quarantine restricts the movement of persons who were exposed to a contagious disease in case they become infected. 

Isolation recommendations

As of December 20, 2021, general CDPH guidance recommends that everyone who has been infected with the virus (regardless of vaccination status or whether they have symptoms) should self-isolate.

 

Isolation can end after day 5 if:

  • Symptoms are not present or are resolving; and
  • A diagnostic specimen collected on day 5 or later tests negative.

If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present or are resolving, isolation can end after day 10.

 

If fever is present, isolation should be continued until fever resolves.

 

 

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According to the CDPH

  • Isolation separates those infected with a contagious disease from people who are not infected; and
  • Quarantine restricts the movement of persons who were exposed to a contagious disease in case they become infected. 

Quarantine recommendations   

Quarantine recommendations vary by type of exposure, as follows. 

 

  • Vaccinated or Previously Infected Students: For student close contacts who have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines OR were previously infected with (laboratory confirmed) SARS-CoV-2 within the last 90 days:
  • Not Yet Vaccinated Nor Previously Infected Students (When Both Parties Were Masked): For student close contacts who have NOT completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines NOR were previously infected with (laboratory confirmed) SARS-CoV-2 within the last 90 days for exposures when both parties were wearing a mask in any school setting in which students are supervised by school staff (including indoor or outdoor school settings and school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems), students close contacts (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet) 
      • Quarantine: Modified quarantine. 
      • Asymptomatic students: May continue to attend school for in-person instruction if they:
          • Continue to appropriately mask, as required; 
          • Undergo at least twice weekly testing during quarantine; and 
          • Continue to quarantine for all extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and activities within the community setting.
      • Symptomatic student: Students should test and stay home.
      • Alternative recommendations: Schools may follow the recommendations provided in the Group-Tracing Approach to Students Exposed to COVID-19 in a K-12 setting
      • Other Considerations for Students in Modified Quarantine: 
          • Buses: Students in modified quarantine may use school buses, including buses operated by public and private school systems.
          • Extracurricular activities: Students should refrain from all extracurricular activities, including sports, while in modified quarantine. 
          • Meals: Students on modified quarantine may eat meals on campus using food service recommendations provided in the K-12 Guidance. 
          • Cannot play musical instruments without a mask: While in modified quarantine, students may participate in all required instructional components of the school day, except activities where a mask cannot be worn, such as while playing certain musical instruments.  
  • Not Yet Vaccinated Nor Previously Infected Students (At Least One Party Not Masked): For student close contacts who have NOT completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines NOR were previously infected with (laboratory confirmed) SARS-CoV-2 within the last 90 days for exposures and where students were not wearing masks or for whom the infected individual was not wearing a mask during the exposure:
      • Quarantine: Standard quarantine. 
      • Asymptomatic students: 
          • Quarantine can end after day 5 if symptoms are not present and a diagnostic specimen collected on day 5 or later tests negative. 
          • If unable to test or choosing not to test, and symptoms are not present, quarantine can end after day 10
      • Symptomatic student: Students should test and stay home.
      • Alternative recommendations: Schools may follow the recommendations provided in the Group-Tracing Approach to Students Exposed to COVID-19 in a K-12 setting.

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Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools and prevent spread to others. 

 

  • Follow the strategy for Staying Home when Sick and Getting Tested from the CDC.
  • Getting tested for COVID-19 when symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 will help with rapid contact tracing and prevent possible spread at schools.
  • Advise staff members and students with symptoms of COVID-19 infection not to return for in-person instruction until they have met CDPH criteria to return to school for those with symptoms:
      • At least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
      • Other symptoms have improved; and
      • They have a negative test for SARS-CoV-2, OR a healthcare provider has provided documentation that the symptoms are typical of their underlying chronic condition (e.g., allergies or asthma) OR a healthcare provider has confirmed an alternative named diagnosis (e.g., Streptococcal pharyngitis, Coxsackie virus), OR at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset.

For more information, visit CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year.

 

RESOURCES

California’s determination to use every available tool to keep schools safe during this pandemic is allowing us to keep classrooms open and in-school transmission low.  Since the start of the pandemic, the state has adapted to new challenges presented and responded with strategies harnessing available tools. 

 

As of January 2022, CDPH has introduced a group-tracing approach as an alternative option for the individual contact tracing requirements in place. Both models are acceptable mitigation strategies to contain transmission of COVID-19 in K-12 schools

 

Consult CDPH’s Group-Tracing Approach to Students Exposed to COVID-19 in a K-12 setting to learn more about this new alternative. 

 

Other K-12 mitigation strategies remain the same across both frameworks, including the universal indoor masking requirement, recommendations to receive vaccinations and boosters, and improve indoor air quality

 

For a high-level comparison between both frameworks, please refer to the Contact Tracing Comparison Summary shown below:

 

RESOURCES

CDPH has a robust State- and Federally-funded school testing program and subject matter experts available to support school decision-making, including free testing resources to support screening testing programs (software, test kits, shipping, testing, etc.). 

 

Resources for schools interested in testing include: 

 

The sharing of identified case information data with state and local public health professionals is necessary to ensure that they can respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19 who have been present at a school site, track and understand the extent of disease transmission within the state, and support communities with appropriate prevention strategies and support. 

 

Mandated Reporting

Notify the LHO:

Schools are required to report COVID-19 cases to the local public health department.

 

Reporting Cases to the Local Health Officer: Schools are required to report COVID-19 cases to the local public health department as per AB 86 (2021) and California Code Title 17, Section 2500. 

 

FERPA Authorization: Schools are authorized under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to disclose personally identifiable information without parental consent to local health departments regarding COVID-19 testing and cases. (20 USC § 1232g(b)(1)(I).)

 

Notify Cal/OSHA:

LEAs and private schools in California must notify Cal/OSHA of inpatient hospitalizations and deaths among employees, even if work-relatedness is uncertain. 

 

What to Report: For COVID-19, this includes inpatient hospitalizations and deaths among employees, even if work-relatedness is uncertain. 

 

How to Report: Cal/OSHA prefers calls by phone but will also accept email reports that follow the Title 8 section 342 requirements. See the CAL/OSHA guidance for details on reporting and contact information for district offices

 

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For more information about how this tool was created and answers to other questions, see the FAQ section.  

Last updated on October 25, 2021. 

The Health & Safety Guidebook for California LEAs
The Health & Safety Guidebook for California LEAs was developed in collaboration with the
California State Board of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and other technical assistance partners.