In evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consider the following question:
Have they recently begun experiencing any of the following in a way that is not normal for them?
- Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degreed Fahrenheit
- Loss of taste or smell
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Sore Throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Shaking or exaggerated shivering
- Significant muscle pain or ache
- Nausea or vomiting
Individuals Confirmed or Suspected with COVID-19
- Stay at Home and notify the school nurse to determine if you or others qualify as a Close Contact. NOTE: One case in a classroom does not necessarily impact everyone in the classroom or require a school shutdown.
- Contact your family physician for further test and/or treatment recommendations.
- School Nurse will contact Tarrant County Health Department to share Case Investigation and Contact Tracing details.
- If no symptoms, stay at home for 14 days following CDC/TEA for Stay at Home guidance.
- If you experience symptoms, follow CDC/TEA Self-Isolation guidance before returning.
Close Contact: Defined as “close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. The definition of close contact is evolving with our understanding of COVID-19, and individual scenarios should be determined by an appropriate public health agency. In general, close contact is defined as:
- being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or
- being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes; however, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination.
Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test.
Close contacts should follow the stay at home protocol as outlined by the CDC. COVID-19 testing for close contacts is not necessary, as negative test results can occur at any time while the virus is incubating. The role of schools in identifying close contacts is to provide relevant information to local health departments, not to determine close contacts in the absence of public health guidance.
Screening is accomplished by asking questions via electronic methods, by phone, and/or in person to determine that individuals:
- Are not lab-confirmed with COVID-19
- Do not themselves have COVID-19 symptoms
- Have not come into close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19
Schools have the ability to prevent anyone who either does not complete or does not pass screening from entering their campus. More information on screening protocols and potential screening tools is included in this guidebook.
Case investigation and contact tracing will be conducted by the local health entity. If an infected individual was on campus during the infectious period, school personnel will need to provide information to inform the case investigation and contact tracing process.
Staying Home: Staying home allows individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to monitor their symptoms during the period in which they may be infectious. These individuals should separate themselves from others outside their home, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health entity.
Because doctors believe a positive person can infect others with COVID-19 for two days prior to experiencing symptoms, and symptoms may take 14 days to appear, if an individual is made aware that they are a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they should immediately begin to stay home and continue to do so during the virus incubation period. It is important for schools to keep track of the individuals who have been directed by local public health entities or asked by the school to stay at home so they can temporarily remain home. In most cases, local health entities will notify close contacts that they should:
- Stay home until 14 days after last close contact with confirmed positive COVID-19 individual
- Check temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19
- If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19
Self-Isolation: Self-isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID19 (including those who are sick with the virus and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).
Self-isolation allows individuals who may have been infected with COVID-19 to recover while trying not to infect others. Based on medical professionals’ understanding of how long an individual is infectious after fever and other symptoms disappear, self-isolation can end when a symptomatic or lab-confirmed individual meets all three of the following conditions for return to school:
- 24 hours with no fever;
- Symptoms improved; and
- 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
- Obtain an acute infection test at an approved testing location (https://tdem.texas.gov/covid-19/) that comes back negative for COVID-19.
- A doctor’s note indicating an alternate diagnosis
Staying Home vs. Self-Isolation
Staying Home: Purpose of this period is to prevent presymptomatic or asymptomatic individuals from spreading the virus.
- Asks individuals to stay at home, but no further precaution required
- Applies to close contacts of confirmedpositive individuals
- Individuals don’t have symptoms, but they have been identified as having a higher likelihood that they may have the virus
- Duration lasts for 14 days from close contact
- There is no need to get a test, because the individual could be incubating the virus until the 14-day incubation period ends regardless of result
Self-Isolation: Purpose of this period is to prevent symptomatic/ lab-confirmed individuals from spreading the virus.
- Asks individuals to stay at home and stay isolated while at home, encourages others in home to wear masks, disinfect frequently
- Applies to individuals who are symptomatic and/or lab-confirmed
- If the individual has symptoms, but doesn’t think it’s COVID, the individual can end self-isolation with a medical professional’s diagnosis that the symptoms are something other than COVID –or– by obtaining an acute infection test at an approved testing location (https://tdem.texas.gov/covid-19/) that comes back negative for COVID-19.
- Otherwise, it ends when the virus can no longer spread from the individual, with all three of these being true:
- 24 hours with no fever;
- Symptoms improved; and
- 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Masks
UPDATED 7.7.20: Schools are required to comply with the Governor's Executive Order regarding the wearing of masks. In addition to the executive order, school systems may require the use of masks or face shields for adults or students for whom it is developmentally appropriate. Schools MUST require students, teachers, and staff to wear masks or face shields as they arrange themselves in positions (entering/exiting buildings, walking to/from classrooms in the hallway, etc.) that will allow them to maintain safe distancing.
- Some CISD staff may be wearing PPE, to include face coverings, masks or shields as needed.
- Desk dividers/shields may be used by elementary students as necessary in classrooms to protect/divide students in close proximity to other students. Masks should be worn by students age 10 and above in compliance with Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order.
- The Texas Education Agency recently announced that PPE would be purchased and provided to each district for use as needed.
From the state, Carroll ISD will receive:
- 76,088 disposable masks
- 19,022 reusable masks
- 33,524 gloves
- 63 thermometers
- 895 gallons of hand sanitizer
- 986 adult face shields
Why wear a mask?
Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of masks is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain, in the school setting, for example. Moreover, Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA 29 acknowledges that medical experts are consistently encouraging people to use face coverings as one of the most important and effective tools for reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Who should wear a mask?
In accordance with CDC recommendations and Tarrant County Public Health, all people 2 years of age and older must wear a cloth face covering while at school. Schools are also required to comply with the Governor Abbott’s Executive Order regarding the wearing of masks. In addition, the Texas Education Agency Guidelines state that school systems may require the use of masks or face shields for adults or students for whom it is developmentally appropriate. Schools MUST require students, teachers, and staff to wear masks or face shields as they arrange themselves in positions (entering/exiting buildings, walking to/from classrooms in the hallways, for example) that will allow them to maintain safe distancing.
When is it OK to remove a mask?
The removal of cloth face coverings is permitted under the following circumstances:
- Desk dividers/shields may be used by elementary students as necessary in classrooms to protect/divide students in close proximity to other students. Students 9 years old and younger may remove masks once they are behind their desk divider shield in the classroom.
- Students participating in PE classes or athletic workouts may remove masks as long as they remain more than six feet away from others. Because social distancing at recess cannot be enforced, students are asked to wear comfortable, disposable masks while at recess.
- Teachers/students may use a face shield or remove their mask if they are presenting/speaking and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
When is it permissible NOT to wear a mask?
While masks are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes that wearing masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a mask may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. For students and staff who have a medical or mental health condition that makes it difficult to wear a face mask, a face shield should be considered. Because there is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields as a protection of others from the spray of respiratory droplets from the face shield wearer, the CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks. But for those staff and students who must wear a face shield instead of a mask, the available data suggests that face shields that wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin or hooded face shields may provide better source control than others.
What if my child has a medical condition or disability?
If a student or staff member is not able to wear a cloth face mask due to a medical condition or disability, they are advised to wear a face shield. For those who cannot wear a face mask or face shield, a note from their doctor should be submitted to the school nurse that specifically describes the medical condition or disability that prevents the student/staff member from complying with the face covering requirement. Once a note from the doctor has been received, the school nurse will forward it to the school counselor who will either amend the student’s existing 504 plan to reflect the accommodation or will initiate the 504 process for students who do not have a 504 plan in place. The student will be required to wear a mask or face shield until the 504 plan is amended to reflect the new accommodation or a new 504 plan is implemented.