MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Now that most school systems in the state of Alabama are back to class (virtually or in person), the Alabama Department of Public Health felt it necessary to clarify the toolkit distributed to school systems.
Quarantine and isolation were a major focus of Monday’s news conference in which they released the updated toolkit. The ADPH wanted to make sure everyone understands that anyone who is in contact with a COVID-positive person must quarantine for 14 days. Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said there is no way to “test out of quarantine.” They have been exposed and must stay in quarantine until the incubation period of 14 days passes.
They emphasized that, as students return to class, school systems must try to figure out how to follow all three safety measures of wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands. Slacking on one aspect of those three measures leads to a much higher close-contact rate.
Read the entire updated Toolkit for schools here.
The new 89 page kit includes four new pages that cover student screening, when to report cases to the state, logging contact tracing and a parent check list with quarantine procedures.
One of the most notable changes has to do with identifying COVID-19 symptoms and what to do next.
Symptoms are divided into two categories – major and minor.
Minor symptoms include things like headaches, runny nose, and fever.
People with two minor symptoms are to be sent home to be medically assessed by their healthcare provider.
Major symptoms are identified as shortness of breath, new cough, and new loss of smell or taste.
The toolkit says if a someone has just one major symptom, that person is to go home, get medically evaluated, and close contacts will also have to be sent home.
Schools are also to inform ADPH and follow the same procedures if someone tests positive.