An employee or student should stay home from school if they are experiencing one or more of these low-risk symptoms that are not usual for them (e.g. seasonal allergies can cause congestion or a sore throat). If they have two or more of these symptoms, they should contact their MD:
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Fever (100 degrees or greater)
- Body aches
- Runny nose or congestion
- Sore throat
A staff member or student should also stay home if they are awaiting COVID-19 test results or if they have a symptomatic household member awaiting test results.
Additionally, close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 means a person should stay home and quarantine for 14 days starting from the last time in close contact. If a person is under quarantine, the CDC recommends they take their temperature twice a day, monitor themselves for any syptoms of COVID-19 and notify their health department if they develop symptoms. They should also consider consulting their MD if symptoms worsen or become severe.
Monitoring Health at Home
If a single low risk symptom resolves in 24-48 hours without the use of fever reducing medication the person may return to school or work. If they worsen or do not improve, parents should contact their primary healthcare provider for an evaluation. They may also contact the St. Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH) for guidance.
COVID-19 Testing for Families
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health has developed a sign-up tool for St. Louis County residents to schedule their own appointments for testing. This is for St. Louis County residents only; it's important to remember that even if families don't think they’re at risk, they should still consider getting tested to protect others. The goal is to detect cases among people who are likely to spread the infection. Check out testing center locations.
Returning to School After a Positive Test
For students, teachers, and staff who are diagnosed with COVID-19, either by a laboratory test or based on their symptoms, return to school is generally permissible when the student, teacher, or staff:
- is at least 10 days from symptom onset or date of positive test specimen collection;
- has had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications;
- and has improving symptoms.
Return to school for students, teachers, or staff with an alternate diagnosis or extended illness is at the discretion of their healthcare provider in consultation with the school nurse and/or human resources department. Return to school/work for students, teachers, and staff who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be coordinated by county health officials.
Monitoring Health at School
If a student or staff member exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or becomes ill while on campus during the school/work day, they will:
- Immediately be separated from others, cared for by a staff member wearing PPE, and asked to wear a mask (if able).
- Notification will be made as necessary to those identified as a close contact.
- General information will be provided as necessary to all people in the affected building.
In addition, if a staff member or student is on a Rockwood campus and is notified they are a close contact of a positive case, the staff member or students’ family also need to contact the school nurse or supervisor of health and follow the next steps.
School Nurse Care
Rockwood nurses in each district school building advance the well-being and academic success of students. During the return of students to school buildings, nurses are planning to reserve space in their offices or elsewhere in their buildings for ill children to be triaged and in some cases, isolated until picked up. Parents should discuss with their children what constitutes a true need to see the school nurse. Other considerations include:
- Parents consulting with their MD to see if long-acting version of medications are available that can be administered at home, so their child doesn’t need to see the nurse daily.
- Students who are responsible enough will be encouraged to self-carry and administer their own metered dose inhaler (MDI) for asthma treatment. Parents can consult with school nurses for full details and paperwork required.
- Classroom or PE teachers may be asked to supervise students administering MDI prior to PE for those who experience exercise-induced asthma symptoms.
- If a child currently uses albuterol via a nebulizer machine, this treatment will not be allowed in the school setting due to the risk of aerosolizing the virus. Parents can consult with their MD regarding obtaining an MDI and spacer for school.
- Teachers may be asked to provide basic first aid (paper cuts, bug bites, etc.) and first line symptom treatment (water and deep breathing for a headache, a snack for a stomach ache) in the classroom, followed by thorough hand washing.
- Typical mass screenings for vision and hearing have been postponed. Parents or teachers who have specific concerns should contact the school nurse for screening of an individual child.
Maintaining one’s health and a strong immune system is critical. Nurses will be reinforcing the following at school and ask for parents’ partnership in encouraging these activities at home as well.
- Get enough sleep: School-aged children require 8-12 hours each night to be fully rested.
- Eat a well balanced diet: include plenty of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. Minimize highly processed and sugary foods
- Move: Being physically active is good for so many aspects of our health and overall well-being. If students can get outdoors for these activities, even better. Physical activity helps promote a sense of well-being, improves mood, decreases anxiety and improves sleep. At school, it improves attendance, concentration and memory and time on task in the classroom.