Butts County School Superintendent Dr. Todd Simpson has sent an email to parents letting them know how the system will be handling COVID-19 cases in the new school year, including quarantine procedures.
Many of the larger school systems in the metro Atlanta area, including neighboring Henry and Newton counties, are mandating the wearing of masks at schools by students and teachers.
Butts County is not mandating masks at school, but Simpson said they are encouraging everyone wear masks and to follow the basic guidelines for preventing the spread of the illness.
“Please consider the use of a face covering while indoors, remember to frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizers, practice good respiratory hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes) and maintain physical distance whenever possible,” Simpson wrote.
The superintendent noted that “concerns still persist regarding the continued presence of COVID-19,” but that system administrators acknowledge that “our children desperately need to be in school. We will continue to provide updates on our website throughout each week showing the number of positive cases across the district,” Simpson continued.
“Additionally, we will continue to implement mitigation measures that are necessary to safely operate schools throughout the year. We do anticipate that case numbers will increase over the next few weeks. This is certainly not unique to BCSS — school districts across the state are experiencing similar occurrences.”
As of Aug 13 in the five BCSS schools:
♦ 35 students and/or employees reported a current positive status.
♦ 36 students are currently quarantined for possible exposure on campus.
♦ 51 students are currently quarantined for possible exposure off campus.
♦ 0 employee is currently quarantined for possible exposure on campus.
♦ 1 employee is currently quarantined for possible exposure off campus.
Simpson said based on guidance recently issued by the CDC, school districts have some flexibility in determining quarantine protocols, and that Butts County has amended its procedures for required quarantines associated with direct exposures that occur in school, to allow students who are asymptomatic to have the option to remain in school.
“A direct exposure is defined as being within 3 feet for at least 15 minutes of someone confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19,” Simpson said. “Individuals who have been directly exposed in the school setting will be notified by school personnel. A direct exposure in the school setting will no longer require a mandatory quarantine as long as individuals remain asymptomatic. However, if symptoms develop, a quarantine will be necessary and required.”
Should an individual develop one of the following symptoms, a quarantine will be required:
♦ Sudden loss of taste or smell
♦ A fever of 100.4 or greater
♦ Shortness of breath and/or wheezing.
“Additionally, if an individual develops two or more symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, a quarantine would be required,” Simpson added. “In summary, individuals exposed in the school setting will still have the option to quarantine but will not be required to do so if they remain asymptomatic. Additionally, it is important to note that anyone who is directly exposed outside of the school setting may still be required to quarantine. Please reach out to your child’s principal or school nurse if you have additional questions.
“Please continue to inform your child’s school of any exposures outside of school as well as a positive test result for your student,” Simpson wrote. “Finally, please be sure to keep students home and seek medical care if they are exhibiting symptoms associated COVID-19. Be sure to check our website www.bcssk12.org for the most up-to-date information and resources.”