Protocols When A Student or Staff Member is COVID+

In order to reopen schools on August 25, our district considered a variety of factors related to COVID-19. Our primary goal is to mitigate risk while educating students. Building staff are implementing increased health and safety protocols in our buildings, and specific building plans are available here

It is important to note that our schools are not closed communities, meaning that our in-person students and staff come and go from our school buildings. They have interactions with people outside of the school environment. As a result, students or staff may be tested for COVID as a result of their participation in various activities, because of universal testing that occurs at another place of employment, or because they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Review this Guidance for People Waiting for Test Results and their Contacts.

Protocols When A Student or Staff Member is COVID+
When our school district is notified that a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, we have specific protocols in place. Our team implements these protocols immediately, working directly with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health (PMLGH) for appropriate medical advice as well as guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).

We want to provide our school community with information around these protocols:

  • When informed of a COVID-19+ case, we contact the DOH and provide them with information they request. 
  • Outside of the DOH, we are not permitted to share the name, school building, grade level, or other identifying details of students or staff members who test positive for COVID-19.
  • We follow contact tracing guidance from the DOH and PMLGH to identify individuals who are “close contacts” of the COVID-19+ person.
  • “Close contacts” include anyone who is within 6 feet of the COVID+ individual for 15 or more consecutive minutes (bus, classroom, extracurricular activity). Please review this Guidance for People with COVID-19 and their Close Contacts.
  • School personnel will directly notify these “close contacts,” and the student’s parent/guardian listed in PowerSchool will be called.
  •  “Close contacts” must quarantine for 14 days from the date they were last in contact with the COVID+ individual. A return to school date will be noted on the letter provided to the student.
  • The building principal will work with any student who is in quarantine to seamlessly move to the virtual learning environment. These students will participate in their scheduled Hempfield classes from home using Google meet. As a reminder, classes are taught in real time by their Hempfield teachers.
  • When there is a positive case in a school setting, this does not automatically mean that an entire classroom must quarantine or that the school will close. We will work in consultation with the DOH if this decision is necessary. 
  • Individuals who are in quarantine because of a “close contact” should be monitored for COVID-19 symptoms, as noted below. Reference the symptom list here and contact your medical provider, if needed.

What to Do If You Suspect Your Child is COVID+
If your child has been tested for COVID-19 and/or you have reason to suspect your student may have COVID-19, please contact your building principal and/or the Health Room Nurses so we can begin implementing our protocols. 

Again, we want to take this opportunity to remind our entire school community about the importance of social distancing when possible (keeping 6 feet away from other people), wearing cloth facial coverings that properly cover the nose and mouth, washing hands frequently with soap and water, and using hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible. These are the recommended actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and are part of the increased health and safety protocols our schools are following this year.