School Manual

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COVID-19 School Manual

Schools are not only a place of learning for students, but workplaces for teachers and employees. This manual provides public health recommendations to help make informed decisions to protect students, teachers, and employees.

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Schools are essential to our communities

In Utah, we consider the education sector critical to the long-term health and economic success of our state.

Students, teachers, and employees who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home until the health department has notified the school that his or her isolation is over.

A student, teacher, or staff member who was exposed at school to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 may return to work at a school or in-person learning if he or she meets ALL of the following:

  1. The school verifies the student, teacher or staff member who was exposed and the person who tested positive were both wearing a face mask as defined by the State Public Health Order on masks in schools.
  2. The quarantined student, teacher, or staff member has a negative COVID-19 test result (must be a PCR or antigen test, not an antibody test). The test result must be from at least 7 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive.
  3. The student, teacher, or staff member does not have symptoms of COVID-19

This release from quarantine does not apply to students, teachers, staff, or settings that are exempt from the State Public Health Order on masks in schools.

If the student, teacher, or staff member who was exposed meets ALL 3 criteria he or she may return to work, school, or related activities, if the employee or the parents of the student choose. If the person does not meet ALL 3 criteria or chooses not to get tested, he or she should quarantine at home for 14 days from the last day of exposure.

Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 and comes back to school must continue to watch for symptoms. If employees or students get symptoms, they should isolate at home and call their healthcare provider.

These guidelines only apply to exposures that occur at school.


Who is considered part of the education sector?

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Employees
  • Paraprofessionals
  • School nurses
  • Volunteers

Why is it important to open schools for in-person instruction*?

Schools play an essential role in the infrastructure and well-being of our state and our communities.

Everyone must help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.

What do we know about how COVID-19 is spread?

We still have much to learn about COVID-19. From what we know right now about the virus and about similar coronaviruses, COVID-19 is most easily spread from close contact with someone who has the virus (within about 6 feet). Sometimes it can be spread through airborne transmission.

The virus is spread by respiratory droplets. Airborne transmission means that an infection can be spread by small droplets and particles that have stayed in the air for a long time or over long distances (more than 6 feet). Some viruses and bacteria, like tuberculosis, seem to be more easily spread through airborne transmission. The reason scientists and researchers believe that COVID-19 is not mainly spread by airborne transmission is based upon the infection rates of COVID-19 as it quickly spread around the world. We know a significant amount of COVID-19 cases are found in asymptomatic individuals (people who don’t have any symptoms), so if the virus was spread easily through airborne transmission, scientists believe there would have been many more cases of COVID-19 early on in 2020. This data tells us that COVID-19 is spread mainly by close contact in shorter distances.

However, airborne transmission can happen under special circumstances:

Recommended interventions (such as wearing face coverings, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, etc.) seem to be sufficient to prevent airborne transmission of COVID-19.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. From what we know, COVID-19 can live on surfaces for hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight may reduce the amount of time the virus lives on objects. We are still learning many things about COVID-19 and how it spreads.

What do we know about COVID-19 and children*?

The amount of available data and research on COVID-19 and children is growing. This not only helps us understand the risk of the virus to children, but also gives us more information about the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools. The science available right now suggests:

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  • Fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 than adults. However, children of any age can get the virus that causes COVID-19 and spread the virus to other people.
  • When children do get COVID-19, they usually have mild symptoms or even no symptoms8 at all. However, some children can get very sick from COVID-19.
  • Children can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 even when they do not have any symptoms (asymptomatic).
  • Children younger than age 10 may be less likely to get COVID-19 and less likely to spread the virus to others. Children and adolescents older than age 10 may spread the virus as much as adults.
  • Studies from other countries show that most children get COVID-19 from a family member.
  • Since March 2020, there have been 2 times as many cases of adolescents aged 12-17 years old who have gotten COVID-19 than children aged 5-11 years old.
  • Children are significantly less likely than adults to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 related illnesses. However, it is still very important to help children take precautions to stay safe. Even though the risk is lower, 1 in 3 children who are hospitalized with a COVID-19 related illness end up in intensive care.
  • Most children who had severe illness from COVID-19 had underlying medical conditions. Severe illness means they may need to be in the hospital, in intensive care, need a ventilator to help them breathe, or may even die.
  • Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more likely to have additional health conditions that put them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Although rare, some children have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) after exposure to COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of May 20, 2020, most of the children hospitalized with MIS-C had recovered.
  • We do not know the long-term health effects of COVID-19 on children. Some research indicates youth and young adults may be at risk for heart damage even if they had mild symptoms of COVID-19.

* https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Fschools-childcare%2Fprepare-safe-return.html

https://pws.byu.edu/making-sense-of-the-research-on-covid-19-and-school-reopenings

Symptoms of COVID-19

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children are fever and cough. If students, teachers, or employees have any of the 6 symptoms of COVID-19, they should call a healthcare provider and get tested for COVID-19, even if the symptom is mild. Testing locations can be found at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations.

Even if they don’t have symptoms, students, teachers, and employees need to be very careful and take precautions at school because children and adults may be asymptomatic. This means they have no signs or symptoms of the virus but can still spread it to others.

If you think someone has a fever but can’t do a temperature check on a student, teacher, or employee, ask the person if he or she is feeling feverish (the person’s skin may feel hot or be red, or he or she may have chills or be sweaty).

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to find out other symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19. The 6 symptoms which are eligible for testing in Utah currently are fever, cough, shortness of breath, decrease in sense of smell or taste, sore throat, and muscle aches or pains.

Keeping your school open if a student, teacher, or employee is exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19

COVID-19 is spreading in many Utah communities. This means students, teachers, and employees are at risk for being exposed to COVID-19 in their homes, community, or at school. It is important everyone do their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Following public health recommendations will help keep schools open for in-person learning. If one of your students, teachers, or employees tests positive for COVID-19, it does not mean he or she did anything wrong. It also does not mean your school necessarily did anything wrong.

If you have questions about what to do after a student, teacher, or employee is exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive, call your local health department. You can find your local health department at https://ualhd.org/.

If a student, teacher, or employee tests positive for COVID-19, does the school need to close?
In most cases, schools do not need to close for in-person learning. Schools may consider hybrid or remote learning options to protect students, teachers, and employees. Local education agencies (LEAs) should work closely with the local elected school board and the health department before making the decision to temporarily transition to hybrid or remote learning options.

Guidance changes as we learn more about COVID-19.

At the request of the Utah State Board of Education, school superintendents, and Utah’s 13 local health departments, updates to quarantine guidelines have been made. These changes were made to address school operational difficulties with large numbers of students, teachers, and employees on quarantine. These guidelines are for K-12 public, private, and charter schools. The guidelines are not intended for use by higher education institutions.

Then and now COVID-19 quarantine guidelines for schools in Utah


Then

Return to school after 14-day quarantine for anyone who was exposed to someone who tested positive to COVID-19.


Now

Return to school before 14 days if all three criteria below are met:

  1. The school verifies the person who was exposed and the person who tested positive were both wearing a face mask as defined by the State Public Health Order on masks in schools.
  2. The person who was exposed tests negative for COVID-19 at least 7 days after the last day of exposure.
  3. The person who was exposed does not have symptoms of COVID-19.

What we’ve learned

Wearing a mask reduces the risk of COVID-19.

Mask policies or requirements increase the number of people who wear a mask which can reduce the spread of COVID-19*.

People with COVID-19 generally develop symptoms 5-6 days after infection. About 75% of people will develop symptoms within 7 days after exposure. About 95% of people will develop symptoms within 12 days after exposure**.

*
https://www.pnas.org/content/117/36/21851
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2768532

**
https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-0504
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6913e1.htm
https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/8/e039652
https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/8/e039856


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How long do students, teachers, and employees have to isolate at home?

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate until he or she has been:

    • Fever-free for 24 hours (this means you did not use medicine to lower your fever), and
    • His or her respiratory symptoms have improved for 24 hours, and
    • It has been at least 10 days since he or she first got sick.
    • If the person did not have symptoms, he or she should isolate for 10 days from the day the person was tested.

    Students, teachers, and employees should not go to school or work until the health department has said they are done with isolation.

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    Your school needs to be prepared for times when students or teachers need to isolate at home.

    Being prepared to respond to COVID-19 in your school may require lesson planning in advance. You should also have a plan to provide another learning option for students who need to isolate or quarantine at home. School policies should allow students to make up any missed classwork without penalty if they are sick or need to quarantine. This will be a critical aspect of schools being able to stay open for in-person learning. With an increase in the spread of COVID-19 in Utah, it is likely some students and teachers will need to stay at home.

    The time frame for isolation is the amount of time someone is infectious and can pass the virus to other people. A student or teacher who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate at home for at least 10 days. This does not mean someone will only be sick for that amount of time. Some people who get COVID-19 are sick for a long time. You need to be prepared in advance to continue student instruction without disruption. 10 This can only happen if schools are well prepared.


    What happens if a student, teacher, or employee is exposed to someone with COVID-19?

    If a student, teacher, or employee was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, the health department and the school will work together on contact tracing. Contact tracing is how public health workers find the close contacts of someone who has COVID-19.


    Extracurricular activities and COVID-19

    Extracurricular activities are important to students, their families, and our communities. This is why we are asking students, schools, families, and community members to take extra precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. It will take everyone working together and taking precautions to make sure students get to participate in these important activities.

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    Testing your students, teachers, and employees for COVID-19

    Testing should be done if students, teachers, and employees have symptoms of COVID-19. Testing may be recommended in schools for people without symptoms in certain situations, such as if there is a high rate of spread in a school or within a particular age group. Testing may also be done if a student, teacher, or employee is exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

    Students, teachers, and employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and get tested right away. Testing locations can be found by calling a healthcare provider or at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations.


    Students, teachers, and employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should call a healthcare provider to get tested.


    Create a healthy learning environment.

    COVID-19 is spread mainly by close contact between people. Close contact means a person was within 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) for a total of 15 minutes or longer of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

    It is very hard to prevent close contact in a school setting. You won’t always be able to prevent close contact, especially between young students. However, if you think about how people use the spaces in your school and modify them to reduce close contact as much as you can, you decrease the chance of exposures in the school.

    This manual provides public health recommendations that will help make schools safer, but they will not eliminate the risk of COVID-19 completely. Schools cannot stop the spread of COVID-19 alone. Communities which have a lot of COVID-19 spread will also see outbreaks in schools. It is critical for communities, families, and individuals to take necessary measures to lower the spread of COVID-19. If we all follow as many of the recommendations as we can, it will greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in our schools*.

    The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) has specific state requirements for schools at https://www.schools.utah.gov/coronavirus.

    *https://pws.byu.edu/making-sense-of-the-research-on-covid-19-and-school-reopenings
    https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/


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    Other recommendations or areas to review:

    • Keep dry bulb temperatures within the comfort ranges indicated in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2017. You should try to keep them at the higher end of the dry bulb temperatures.
    • Keep relative humidity between 40% and 60%, if possible. This can reduce how long the virus lives. You may need to watch for the possibility of issues with indoor condensation.
    • Do not open windows if outdoor air quality is not healthy or increase ventilation without using the proper filters. For more information, visit ANSI/ASHRAE Standards 62.1-2019.
    • Check outside air intake often to make sure there is not a potential risk.
    • Check the air intake location for any obstruction, or less than 10’ above ground.
    • Check the nearby exhaust for other contaminants.

    Find risks in your school

    • You should give students, teachers, and employees a safe and healthy learning environment and workplace. You should find out where and how people might be exposed to COVID-19 in the school. You can find out if there are risks for students, teachers, and employees to be exposed to COVID-19 by doing a thorough COVID-19 hazard assessment of your school.
    • You may want to hold a training for teachers and employees so they understand your school’s plan to reopen for in-person learning and what will be involved in the hazard assessment of your school. It is very important every employee understands what the school is doing and what they can do to keep the school safe.
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    Ideas to consider for this training:

    • Hold all meetings, trainings, and professional development virtually.
    • Your employees know their jobs best. Consider having all employees complete a hazard assessment of their workspaces and work processes. Identifying and modifying spaces or processes used in your school that increase the chance a student, teacher, or employee may be exposed to COVID-19 is a critical part of your school’s COVID-19 response.
    • Make sure everyone understands what poses a threat and why. Work together to come up with ways you can decrease the risk of COVID-19. Provide this training in plain language, if you can. Employees may have limited knowledge about COVID-19 and how it spreads and limited knowledge about eliminating workplace hazards. If you have employees whose preferred language is not English, you may want to provide this and other trainings in other languages.

    What is a COVID-19 hazard*?

    A COVID-19 hazard is something in the physical environment (workplace hazard) or in the way we do things (work process hazard) that increases our chances of being exposed to COVID-19. The best way to reduce exposure is to eliminate the hazard, if you can. However, many times it may be too costly to fix the problem. Even if you can’t eliminate the hazard completely, there are usually things you can do to reduce the risk. You can often reduce the risk of exposure with very simple modifications.

    The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has 4 main health behaviors that reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19. These 4 simple health behaviors reduce the risk of exposure in EVERY workplace, work process, situation, or scenario you may find yourself in. Keep these behaviors in mind as you respond to risks in your school or workplace.

    *https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

    The 4 health behaviors you should practice in your school:

    Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water:

    • After you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze.
    • After you use the restroom.
    • Before you make or eat food.
    • After you touch animals or pets.
    • Before and after you care for another person who needs help, such as a child.
    • Before and after school or work.
    • Before and after you take breaks at work.
    • After you put on, touch, or take off a cloth face covering or masks.

    If you do not have soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Children younger than 6 years old should be supervised when they use hand sanitizer.

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    Physical distance.

    COVID-19 is mainly spread by close contact. Stay at least 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from people who do not live in your home as much as possible. We know this isn’t easy in a school setting. If you can’t stay 6 feet away from other people, stay as far away as you can. Any distance between you and other people can help.

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    Wear a face covering or mask.

    Cloth face coverings are effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, especially when both people who may come into close contact are wearing a face covering.

    It is important to remember that even when you wear a face covering, you still need to physical distance.
    Sometimes when people hear this, it makes them wonder if face coverings are actually an effective way to reduce the chances of getting COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are very effective39. If you wear a mask AND physical distance, the chance of being exposed to COVID-19 is much lower.

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    Stay home if you are sick.

    Students, teachers, and employees should not go to school or work if they are sick. They should stay home until they are feeling better.

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    You can begin your hazard assessment as soon as custodial and maintenance staff say the school is prepared for employees to return.

    Remember, COVID-19 is spread mainly through close contact. Close contact means a person was within 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) for a total of 15 minutes or longer of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. It spreads through respiratory droplets from person-to-person.

    The good thing about doing a hazard assessment in a school, is that schools function on routine. With few exceptions, when, by whom, and how the spaces in the school are used, is planned out in advance. The work processes teachers and students use also function on routine. Almost everyone who attends or works in a school does the same thing, with the same people, in the same place, at the same time every day. It may seem overwhelming before you get started, but doing a hazard assessment in a school will be easier than doing one for the workplaces and work processes of other employees who do not work in the school.

    Creating a hazard assessment for your school
    Assess the risk in each space
    Sample hazard assessment of student drop off and pick-up
    What are the hazards of drop off and pick up areas?

    Ideas to prevent close contact exposures, reduce hazards in the school or workplace, and make your learning environment healthier*.

    To reduce the chance of exposure at the beginning of the year, you may want to provide information to families to help them understand your policies, procedures, and give them strategies to keep their families and the school safe.

    Sometimes health information is hard to understand, especially for people who have lower literacy levels. Many people have an easier time understanding information from videos or other formats. Consider different ways you can provide information to families, including translating materials into other languages depending on the needs of your school community.

    *https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/cloth-face-cover.html

    Cleaning*

    The guidance in this section is for regular cleaning of your school or workplace.

    Clean visibly dirty and high-touch surfaces. Disinfect them after you clean. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses.

    *https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html

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    What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

    Cleaning

    Cleaning uses soap (or detergent) and water to remove germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning doesn’t usually kill germs, but it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection when you remove them.

    Disinfecting

    Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting doesn’t clean dirty surfaces or objects. It should be done after you clean and remove germs, to kill germs and further lower the risk of spreading infection.


    We don’t know how long the air inside a room could be infectious after someone with COVID-19 was there. You can shorten the time it takes respiratory droplets to be out of the air, if you increase the ventilation in the area or room. When you decide how long to close off rooms or areas used by people who were sick before you start disinfecting them, think about:

    • The size of the room.
    • The ventilation system design. You should know where the supply and exhaust vents are. It is also important to know the flow rate (air changes per hour).

    Have an after-hours cleaning and maintenance plan for your school.

    • Vacuuming, sweeping, curtain cleaning, and brooms can send infected particles back into the air.
    • Employees who are responsible for cleaning and maintenance tasks that are not affected by HVAC system operation are at an increased risk of close range exposure and should wear proper PPE, including an N95 mask

    Administrators should:

    • Make a plan with staff and teachers. Discuss obstacles to more frequent cleaning and disinfecting and ways to overcome those obstacles
    • Train staff. Make sure that cleaning staff, teachers, and others who use cleaners and disinfectants read and understand all instruction labels, understand safe and appropriate use, and have and are using the PPE appropriate to the product. Consider providing instructional materials and training in other languages.
    • Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection. Modify your standard procedures to accommodate more frequent cleaning and disinfection. Focus cleaning and disinfection on surfaces and objects that are touched often (doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops) and shared items between uses.
    Cleaning and disinfection products should not be used by children or near children, and staff should make sure that there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent children or themselves from inhaling toxic vapors.
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    Cleaning tips for teachers


    What should I clean?
    Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects in your classroom that are touched often. Follow the recommendations in this section for the types of cleaners and disinfectants you should use on different surfaces. Examples of some of the surfaces in your classroom that may be touched often:

    • Door handles and knobs
    • Desks and chairs
    • Cabinets, lockers, and bookshelves
    • Shared computer keyboards and mice
    • Light switches
    • Pencil sharpener handles
    • Sinks and surrounding areas
    • Counter tops
    • Shared electronics such as printers
    • Other shared learning materials

    When should I clean?
    Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often at least daily or between use by different students. Limit the use of shared objects when possible, or clean and disinfect between use. Times you may want to clean or disinfect:

    • In the morning before students arrive
    • Between classes (if students change rooms and while students are not there)
    • Between use of shared surfaces or objects
    • Before and after food service
    • Before students return from recess or breaks
    • After students leave for the day

    These cleaning guidelines are for community, non-healthcare facilities such as:

    • Schools
    • Institutions of higher education
    • Offices
    • Child care centers
    • Businesses
    • Community centers that do, and do not, house persons overnight
    See cleaning products
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    Cleaning after a positive case of COVID-19*

    You usually do not need to close your entire school for a single case of COVID-19. You should consider community spread, how much contact the person with COVID-19 had with others, and when the contact took place. These things should also be considered when you decide how long a school, or part of the school, stays closed. Administrators should work with local health officials to determine if temporarily closing the school building is necessary.

    You should wait 24 hours before you clean and disinfect. This reduces the chance for other employees to be exposed to respiratory droplets.

    If you can’t wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas during this waiting period.

    Clean visibly dirty and high-touch surfaces. Disinfect them after you clean. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses.

    We don’t know how long the air inside a room could be infectious after someone with COVID-19 was there. You can shorten the time it takes respiratory droplets to be out of the air, if you increase the ventilation in the area or room. When you decide how long to close off rooms or areas used by people who were sick before you start disinfecting them, think about:

    • The size of the room.
    • The ventilation system design. You should know where the supply and exhaust vents are. It is also important to know the flow rate (air changes per hour).

    Have an after-hours cleaning and maintenance plan for your business.

    • Vacuuming, sweeping, curtain cleaning, and brooms can send infected particles back into the air.
    • Employees who are responsible for cleaning and maintenance tasks that are not affected by HVAC system operation are at an increased risk of close range exposure and should wear proper PPE, including an N95 mask.

    *https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html

    See cleaning chart
    At a school, child care center, office, or other facility that does not house people overnight
    At a facility that does house people overnight:
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    Considerations for schools as employers



    Travel

    Travel increases the chance you may get infected or spread COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Try to limit non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic as much as you can. For up-to-date travel recommendations, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

    Right now, there are no COVID-19 travel restrictions in Utah. This means students, teachers, or employees who travel outside the state of Utah do not need to quarantine when they get back. However, there may be mandatory quarantines in other cities or states across the U.S. Before traveling, visit the state website of the area you are traveling to for more information.

    The CDC recommends you avoid all nonessential travel to certain areas of the world where COVID-19 is widespread. There may also be restrictions entering the U.S. if you travel to these areas. These travel health alerts can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.

    Consider these questions before you travel
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    Help your students, teachers, and employees.

    This is a stressful time for everyone. Students, teachers, and employees may not always feel comfortable telling someone they need help. Talk to your students, teachers, and employees about stress related to COVID-19 and ways to cope with that stress.

    Employee concerns

    You may want to have a hotline or another way employees can voice any concerns anonymously.

    Worksite wellness resources for teachers, employees, students, and families

    The Utah Department of Health and your local health department have many other resources for your school to help you keep students, their families, teachers, and employees healthy. If you are interested in other ways we can help, such as bringing health screenings right to your worksite at no cost to you, contact the Utah Department of Health or your local health department.

    Resources

    Help connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources and community resources if they need help.

    • Employees can call 2-1-1 or visit https://211utah.org/ for a list of resources.
    • Your students, teachers, and employees may need extra help from a professional.
    • You can help them by making sure they know where to find resources.
    • To help students, teachers, and employees understand the signs of stress, ways to feel better, and find mental health resources, visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/Mental-health/.
    • Emotional health relief hotline: 1-833-442-2211. Caregivers are available 7 days a week.
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress.
    • The Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling
    • The SafeUT app is a free youth crisis text and tip line.
    Helpful resources

    COVID-19 outbreaks in schools

    The Utah Department of Health and Utah’s 13 local health departments provide guidelines to help school administrators understand when a group of students, teachers, or employees at the school may need to be dismissed from in-person learning because there is spread of COVID-19 in the school.

    These guidelines may change as we learn more about COVID-19. Schools and public health need to be willing to adapt to these changes as we learn more about the best ways to keep students, teachers, and employees safe and schools open for in-person learning.

    What is an outbreak of COVID-19 in a school?

    An outbreak is when a disease happens in higher numbers than expected. An outbreak can happen in one area (like a classroom) or extend more widely (like a school).

    The Utah Department of Health and Utah’s 13 local health departments do not consider a single case of COVID-19 (meaning only one person tested positive for COVID-19) in a school or classroom to be an outbreak. However, it is important to know what the public health recommendations are for this situation and how these recommendations change as more people test positive for COVID-19 in the school.

    At this time, these guidelines only apply to the classroom or school setting. This is at the discretion of the school district and the health department when this may happen. The decision of when to consider an outbreak in extracurricular activities, like a sports team, will be made by the local health department in collaboration with the school on a case-by-case basis.

    Outbreak chart scenarios

    Who decides if a school will transition from in-person learning to hybrid or remote learning?

    The decision to transition from in-person learning to hybrid or remote learning will be made by school administrators in collaboration with the local school board and the local health department.

    If a school needs to transition from in-person learning to hybrid or remote learning, it may be for a short period of time, such as 2 weeks, or for the rest of the school year.

    The Governor, state health department, and local health department each have legal authority to close schools in response to a public health emergency. Many things will be considered in this situation including the:

    • Importance of in-person learning to the social, emotional, economic, and academic growth and well-being of students.
    • Number of people in the community who are testing positive for COVID-19 (called community spread or community transmission).
    • Number of students, teachers, and employees who are testing positive for COVID-19 or who are on quarantine due to an exposure.
    • Growth rate of new cases (people who tested positive) in the area. • Statewide capacity for testing, hospital beds, and ICUs.
    • The COVID-19 Transmission Index level the county is currently in.
    • Interaction of students, teachers, and employees among other schools in the district. • Ability to provide virtual learning to students.
    • Economic and social hardships on families and students