On October 21 Loveland Magazine asked the Loveland school superintendent why they only release quarantine numbers on Fridays. She said that she has forwarded the question about quarantines and the procedures for sharing those on a single day to her health team. Loveland Magazine is awaiting the response.
Loveland, Ohio – On Friday the Loveland School District published a new Covid-19 Data Up-Date even as in their Loveland Reopening Plan FAQs they continue to state:
Is COVID-19 spreading in our schools?
When positive cases have been reported to the district, there have been no instances of other students or staff becoming symptomatic or testing positive which means the virus is not being spread at school.
What should I do if I’ve been told my child has been in close contact with someone who tested positive?
Current Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidance calls for quarantine for 14 days for people who are in close contact with an infected person. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more. Since students are not allowed to come to school when quarantined, we have grade-specific family and student instructions when quarantined information you can access here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated language for the close contact definition, the Loveland School District continues to define “Close Contact” as being within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has new guidance clarifying what exactly “close contact” means when it comes to transmission of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The previous guidance suggested that a close contact occurred when a person was within six feet of an infectious individual for 15 consecutive minutes. Now, the CDC is acknowledging that even brief contact can lead to transmission. Specifically, the new guidance suggests that those spending a total of 15 minutes of contact with an infectious person over the course of a 24-hour period should be considered in close contact. (Read full article)
Close Contact as now defined by the CDC
Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
* Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). Because the general public has not received training on proper selection and use of respiratory PPE, such as an N95, the determination of close contact should generally be made irrespective of whether the contact was wearing respiratory PPE. At this time, differential determination of close contact for those using fabric face coverings is not recommended.
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. (Source CDC)
On Oct 15 Loveland Magazine asked Superintendent, Dr. Amy Crouse,”Can you tell me how the District is defining ‘Close Contact’ in the buildings, on buses, on athletic fields/athletic courts, or administrative offices?” We asked because the District moved to double the number of students in the classrooms in PK-8. Those schools returned to “full in-person” learning on Monday, October 12.
Dr. Crouse responded, “The district maintains updated definitions and protocols on our website here: https://www.lovelandschools.org/NewHealthProtocols.aspx. Contact tracing protocols do not change with a change in capacity. Those protocols still say, ‘Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more.”
At the same time we asked the Superintendent to provide Loveland Magazine with the report “Pandemic Preparedness and Planning” that LJB Inc. prepared for the District. LJB was awarded a contract in July for $66,250 for “Pandemic Preparedness and Planning” services. The report was prepared under the previous CDC definition of “close contact”.
Last Friday, following a Loveland Magazine editorial that criticized the Superintendent for not answering questions, not releasing COVID 19 quarantine data, and not releasing the LJB report, the District released a “Tiger Talk” that heavily relied on the LJB report to assure the public that the District is taking an appropriate response to the pandemic.
Loveland Magazine is still awaiting the LJB report and the explanation has been that it is the Business Manager’s office and Superintendent can not send it until he returns to work. Crouse sent our request for the public document to the Treasure who responded, “The documents that you are requesting are in the Business Manager’s office and he is currently out of the office. I will get them to you as soon as I can.”
The report belongs to the public. District taxpayers funded the report and it will show what the experts recommended when they studied how many students and teachers should be in classrooms under the hybrid and full capacity models. Students, parents, teachers, staff, and the community have a right to know exactly how many students are not attending classes on a timely basis , what the quarantine guidelines are, and what the LJB report recommended at the time it was prepared .
News from Loveland Schools – October 23, 2020
Loveland Tiger Families,
The decisions we are all tasked with during this difficult time provide no easy answers. We have provided weekly updates, while increasing our understanding of how this virus spreads and how to best protect the health and safety of our students, staff, teachers and community. We have many parents who have expressed their concerns about student safety, and others who want students to have the most possible access to in-class instruction.
These decisions are not made lightly and our decision making process was developed in collaboration with outside help. This summer we contracted with LJB to gather professional health and safety expertise, work through decision-making to manage and mitigate risk, and develop a comprehensive safety plan. This plan was constructed with the goal of maintaining staff and student safety, while avoiding going fully remote.
With their guidance and ongoing counsel, Loveland City School District was able to create and maintain a healthy and safe environment for teachers, staff and students, identify any potential health and safety hazards and make appropriate purchasing decisions for materials and supplies.
Our work with LJB helped us reduce costs by more efficiently scheduling our existing staff which eliminated the need to hire additional cleaning staff. We increased face-to-face time during our hybrid plan by eliminating the full remote day during hybrid for cleaning. Our proactive health and safety measures were the primary reason we avoided many financial and resource strains when we began experiencing positive COVID cases and concerns. The benefits of this work are evident each day, and will continue serving us in the months ahead.
Our goal has been to return to 5 day, in-person learning, but only if it did not present unacceptable risk levels. So far, we have moved to bring our youngest students back to 5 day, in-person learning and are currently waiting on bringing back our high school students, because of concerns around an increasing and on-going spread that is taking place outside of school involving our high school students.
Through October 23, we have had 18 students or staff test positive for COVID-19, and that has resulted in 50 close-contact quarantines. All indications are that people are contracting COVID outside of our schools, and that because of our masking, distancing and hygiene bundle, it is not being spread inside our schools.
Now that we have made it through the first quarter, we can see that our students are learning and performing well. Our MAP fall benchmark scores for grades 1-8 consistently show that students this fall are on par with where students were last fall. The education of our students is going strong. Students are actively participating in their areas of specialty in interest beyond the classroom, with students active in fall sports, music and performing. Clubs have started and continue to work on creative ways to provide the full Tiger experience for our students and families.