HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Starting Monday, Huntsville City Schools says it will begin sending students and staff home who are considered a “close contact” of someone with COVID-19.
The district says a close contact, as defined by the Alabama Department of Public Health, is anyone in a classroom setting who is less than 3 feet from a person who is COVID-19 positive or presumed to be COVID-19 positive.
“Students who are close contacts to COVID-19 positive individuals will be excluded from HCS schools, campuses, and other buildings for 14 days,” said Huntsville City Schools spokesperson, Craig Williams. “HCS employees who are close contacts to COVID-19 positive individuals will be excluded from HCS schools, campuses, and other buildings for 10 days.”
The district says asymptomatic, fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from this policy. Other exemptions include, asymptomatic students in a K-12 indoor classroom setting, who are consistently wearing a mask and are distanced 3 feet or more from a positive individual, who is also wearing a mask.
“Our goal is to keep school open and we have to look at layers of mitigation that we can put in place to prevent our schools from being closed,” said Jana Mason, HCS School Health Monitor Nurse.
Masks are currently required inside any Huntsville City Schools facility, aboard buses, and inside any HCS-operated vehicle.
“Our leadership team, our preventative measures team, we are meeting on a regular basis, looking at our district numbers, we are looking at numbers in individual schools, and looking at our community numbers as well to determine how long to keep these protocols in place for the health and safety of students and staff,” said Mason.
During their exclusion period from school property, Mason says students or staff should isolate at home until their symptoms are better, and they are fever free for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication.
Students who are sent home will be able to access their assignments through Schoolology or via packets upon request.
The district says it plans to release a Covid-19 dashboard, indicating positive cases by campus, sometime next week.