Important COVID Procedure Changes - Jan. 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

In recent weeks, our community has been impacted in new ways by the COVID-19 pandemic and seen a spike in case counts due to the Omicron variant. We have been working closely with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) and experts from the Children Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Experts are confident that case counts in our area have peaked and expect to see a significant decline over the next two weeks. They stress that this iteration of the virus is pervasive but also less severe, and that schools should begin to move away from universal contact tracing and asymptomatic testing.

Both MCOPH and CHOP have emphasized the importance of in-person education at this stage of the pandemic. Guided by science and evidence, they have continued to adapt their guidance to support both public health and the goal of keeping schools open. You can read more about the trending case data and recommendations for schools on the CHOP Policy Lab Web site.

In light of this new guidance from MCOPH and CHOP, we are updating our procedures for responding to COVID-19 cases. Beginning Tuesday, January 18, 2022, the following procedures will be in effect:

  • Masks are now strongly recommended in school and school activities and continue to be required on all forms of school transportation.

  • Contact tracing will be used to identify potential exposures during mealtimes in the cafeteria and high-exertion activities such as sports or singing. School staff will no longer conduct contact tracing for classrooms or buses.

  • All students and staff who have a close contact with a positive case will be required to wear a mask upon return to school per the guidelines in the table below.

  • Unvaccinated individuals who have close contact to a positive case either in school or in the community will be permitted to remain in school per the guidelines in the table below. Unvaccinated individuals with household close contacts will be required to quarantine for 10 days before returning to school per the guidelines in the table below.  

     

    In School Exposure 

    Community Exposure 

    Household Exposure 

    Communication 

    Parents will be contacted by the school 

    Parents should contact the school nurse’s office 

    Parents should contact the school nurse’s office 

    Two options: 

    1. Quarantine at home for 5 days, return to school and wear mask for days 6-10 

    1. Remain in school wearing mask for 10 days, test at school once between days 4 and 6 

    Quarantine at home for 10 days, return to school and wear mask for days 11-15 

    Remain in school, wear mask for 10 days post-exposure 



  • Symptomatic students and staff must isolate at home. Once recovered, individuals can return to school 5 days after symptoms begin if they are no longer symptomatic and are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

  • Reporting Cases: The MCOPH has changed its requirements for reporting positive cases of COVID-19. Accordingly, SASD cases will now be aggregated by elementary, middle, and high school level and reported on our Web site on a weekly basis. The District’s COVID Dashboard has been modified to reflect these changes and the practice of sending school-specific information e-mails for each occurrence of positive cases will be discontinued.

We fully understand that at times it has been challenging to keep up with changing guidance. As our medical community’s knowledge and understanding of the virus has evolved, and as the pandemic has progressed, so have our mitigation strategies. We will do our best to respond to questions, incorporate these recommendations, and continue to focus on providing the most positive in-person school environment possible.