Positive COVID-19 notifications to families
As we transition to blended learning, many families are wondering if and when they will be notified of a confirmed COVID-19 case in their child’s school. Given the local incidence of positive COVID-19 cases in our county and communities, it’s reasonable to expect that schools will see positive case reports from students and staff. When that occurs, there are two types of notifications that may be made if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our schools.
Close contact notifications
If any known school occupant has a confirmed case of COVID-19, school staff will partner with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to conduct contact tracing to identify close contacts of anyone with a confirmed case who attended school while infectious. Close contact is when someone is within six feet of the ill person for at least 15 minutes. All close contacts of a confirmed case will be notified of their exposure and asked to stay at home for 14 days since their last exposure to the confirmed case.
The risk of exposure for non-close contact individuals present in the building on that date is no greater than the risk of contracting the virus in the general community. These students and staff are not considered to be at higher risk, and there is nothing additional they need to do. For privacy reasons, schools can’t share many details about the status of a person who tests positive for COVID-19. However, after close contact notifications have been made, schools may sometimes notify families of students who shared a classroom, learning space, bus route or small group with the infected person. Who is notified depends entirely on the specific circumstances of the person’s presence at the school. It is unlikely there will be a mass notification of an entire school community simply because of a single positive case present in the building.
Students and staff who are not close contacts of a person with a confirmed case or who were not in a shared space with an infected person should not expect to receive a notification from the school. These students and staff are not considered to be at higher risk, and there is nothing additional they need to do.