Pandemic Response - Updated 8.18.21

Infectious Disease Policy Student Illness and Communicable Diseases:

John L. Coble Elementary School has a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees, parents, students, and visitors. In the case of global or local threats of a communicable disease, the School will take all reasonable measures that may be necessary to protect the safety and health of members of the school community. These may include implementing infection control guidelines designed to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. The School will apply guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), its affiliate, NIOSH, state and local health departments, World Health Organization (WHO), the Georgia Cumberland Conference Office of Education, and other agencies and resources as appropriate.

 

Each communicable disease is unique. The response depends on public health guidance for the specific communicable disease, the nature and stage of the disease, whether mitigation methods are or can be used, and public health guidance on the risk and exposure.

 

Responses may include, without limitation, a determination that no risk exists or that no action is required, immunization programs may be put into place, mandatory health screening may be implemented, mitigation steps may be needed such as a student refraining from some activities, utilizing bandages or other barriers, enhanced housekeeping, cancellation of field trips, a medical exam and release, and being sent home from school. Depending on the event, the school may require parents to disclose upcoming travel plans and to self-quarantine their child upon return. School closure may be necessary or the school may need to modify its curriculum, schedules, length of the school year, and/or means of learning and teaching methods.

 

During certain communicable disease events, threat levels may change rapidly and the School may need to modify various measures as additional information becomes available. Examples of communicable diseases include seasonal influenza; tuberculosis; measles; chicken pox; mumps, scarlet fever, hepatitis A, C, and D; meningitis; antibiotic resistant staph; Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); H1N1 Flu; Swine Flu; Avian Flu; Ebola; and novel coronavirus - COVID-19. Lice, ringworm, pinworms, impetigo, pink eye, strep infection, hand, foot and mouth disease, mononucleosis, and other similar childhood illnesses are covered by this policy. We recognize that some diseases may not be infectious under certain circumstances. We rely on our parents as the first step in preventing infection in the school environment. We count on them to use good judgment in protecting our school community.

 

Please remember the following:

  1. A sick child should not be in school but should remain at home in an environment where proper care may be given. A student who presents at school with symptoms of an illness and/or is unable to participate in the day’s activities will be removed from the classroom and the parents, or an emergency contact if the parents cannot be reached, will be contacted.

  2. Students must be picked up within the hour of the school’s request that the child be sent home due to illness.

  3. To prevent the spread of infection through direct contamination (coughing, sneezing, talking, sharing articles, etc.) students must be asymptomatic without the aid of medications before returning to school. In other words, students must have no fever, vomiting, etc. for 24 hours prior to their return to school.

  4. Parents/students who know or have a reasonable basis for believing that a student has a communicable disease that may pose a threat to other students, parents, school employees, visitors, or the public should immediately contact their health provider.

  5. Parents/students have a “reasonable basis” for believing that a student has a communicable disease when they show or feel signs or illness, such as coughing, sneezing, fever, joint aches, have an overall ill feeling, or when they know that they have been exposed to someone with a known communicable disease or suspected communicable disease.

  6. For the health and safety of the school community, parents should report to the school nurse if their child has a confirmed communicable disease that poses a risk to others in the School community.

  7. The Georgia Department of Health shall be notified when a student is sent home because of a communicable disease. In case of student absence due to the reportable communicable disease, a release card from the Department of Health or a letter from the family physician indicating that the Department of Health regulations have been fulfilled must be presented when the student returns to school (indicating that the student is no longer infectious).

  8. The school will generally not identify an infected student to school employees or other students or their parents, although public health guidance will guide the School’s communications. It may be necessary to alert others in the community who were in certain areas or at certain times that exposure could have occurred. The school will disclose sensitive medical information of students no further than is necessary to ensure the health and safety of our employees, students, parents, and visitors in a manner consistent with applicable law.

The school will comply with all federal and state laws in regard to confidentiality and privacy requirements. It is the policy of the school to deal with each occurrence on a case-by-case basis. Final decisions rest with the school board, which will be guided by a board- appointed advisory committee entitled the Health & Safety Committee. This committee is tasked with the oversight and implementation of the Infectious Disease Policy. Refusal to abide by published Infectious Disease Control directives (as provided in the school newsletter, text alerts, or email) places at risk the student and family’s continued participation and enrollment in John L. Coble Elementary School. The school administration reserves the right to ask any student and/or staff member to remain off campus until their health status has been cleared by a physician or the public health department through written confirmation.