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Pocahontas Area COVID-19 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How do I determine whether to send my child to school if they are sick?

ANSWER: If they are sick, please keep them at home. Here is the link to “When to stay home or return as it relates to COVID-19

2. What is the definition of “Close Contact”?

ANSWER: Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for 15 consecutive minutes or more with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The school district uses classroom seating charts, teacher input, coaches input, bus seating charts, and input from the positive person to make this determination as a health team. A list of close contacts is then given to Public Health.

3. Can my child avoid being a close contact if they wear a mask?

ANSWER: Possibly. Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education have directed schools that if both the COVID positive person and the close contact are wearing a mask, then no quarantine is required (both must be wearing the mask). It is believed that mask wearing will reduce the transmission of the virus, but not stop it. We are still requesting students wear masks to help us keep the school open for as long as possible.

4. Who will contact me if my child meets the definition of close contact?

ANSWER: Public Health will notify you that your child has had a close contact and provide additional information. Only close contacts are contacted.

5. What happens if I complete a 14 day quarantine and when I return to school I am exposed through a close contact again?

ANSWER: Public Health will notify you that your child has had another close contact , but this would start another 14 day quarantine.

6. Who should I contact if I have questions about virtual learning?

ANSWER: You can call your child’s school or you can contact the District’s New Virtual Coordinator, Susan Oehlertz, at:

7. Should I call the school if my child tests positive to COVID-19?

ANSWER: Yes, please contact your school’s Nurse as soon as possible. There are guidelines requiring COVID-19 positive individuals to remain isolated for 10 days plus fever free for 24 hours without medication and symptoms improving before returning to school.

8. Why doesn’t the school shut down for sanitation after a positive case is discovered?

ANSWER: The school district has a sanitation routine that uses both UV-C disinfecting lights and electrostatic sprayers to sanitize the schools on a regular schedule and targets areas based on confirmed cases of COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.School buses are being sanitized using electrostatic sprayers after each shuttle and route.

9. Does my entire family have to stay home if my child is quarantined for being a close contact?

ANSWER: No, only the close contact is quarantined. The rest of the family can continue to work and go to school as normal until the close contact becomes ill/symptomatic, then the family should contact their healthcare provider or the school nurse.

10. What will happen to extra-curricular activities if our school goes to 100% virtual learning?

ANSWER: All extra-curricular activities will go to a virtual format and competitions will stop.

11. If one person in a home tests positive for COVID-19, should the rest of the family quarantine?

ANSWER: Yes, the rest of the house is now a close contact and should quarantine for 14 days from the date of last exposure. Contact the Iowa Department of Public Health or your school nurse if you have questions.

12. How many cases of COVID-19 have there been since school began on August 17, 2020?

ANSWER: As of 10/01/2020, we have had nine student cases and two staff case out of nearly 800 people during the first seven weeks of school. Nearly 140 students have been quarantined due to close contact with a COVID positive person in or out of school. We are not aware of any school related positives.

13. In the event the district moves to Hybrid 1, 50% reduction in students, we will operate with an A group and B group. The groupings were done by household, and groups will alternate weeks. How do I find out what group my household is in?

ANSWER: Here is the link to a shared document that lists students by grade level and identifies the group they have been assigned. If you have any questions or concerns contact your school office.

14. Can mask wearing reduce my chance of getting quarantined due to a close contact with a COVID positive person?

ANSWER: If a COVID positive person is wearing a mask, then any close contact who is also wearing a mask in a school environment will not be quarantined. Both parties must wear a mask! This is for Business, Education, and Child Care Settings only.

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