GCS Notification Process for COVID-19 Positive Cases
As GCS moves toward returning more students to classrooms, the district wants to make parents aware of the notification process that occurs when it receives confirmation from public health that an individual with COVID-19 may potentially affect others in a GCS classroom, school or facility.
- Principals/supervisors will notify parents/guardians whose students have been identified by public health as a “close contact” of the person with the positive case. Public health officials will also contact those individuals to outline next steps the student’s family or employee should take. The principals/supervisors will also notify any employees who have been identified by public health officials as a close contact.
- As of Oct. 21, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a close contact as follows:
- “Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”
- Contact tracing is a confidential and private process. GCS and public health employees cannot and will not release the name or other private information about a student or staff member with individuals who may have come in contact with someone at school with a verified/confirmed case of COVID-19.
- If the impact is widespread or if a cluster is identified by public health officials, parents and staff members at the affected school will be notified by the principal, typically via the district's mass notification system.
- The CDC and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services define cluster as follows:
- “A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND
- Plausible epidemiological linkage between the cases.”
- Parents/guardians or staff members who have not been identified by public health as “close contacts” will not be notified by GCS or by public health every time a case occurs. Public-health verified cases of COVID-19 potentially affecting a GCS classroom, school or facility are posted daily on the district’s COVID-19 dashboards, which are updated by noon Monday-Friday.
- Depending on when verifications are received, some lags in posting the data may occur.
GCS has updated its cleaning and disinfection procedures in alignment with guidance issued by the CDC and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will no longer close an entire building for 24 hours in the event of a positive case. This had been done previously in the mistaken belief that the 24-hour period was needed due to the equipment being used and to allow the chemicals used in the cleaning process time to dissipate.
The equipment and chemicals being used by GCS do not require a 24-hour wait period, however. GCS will continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect surfaces in strict adherence to CDC, OSHA and state public health guidelines, however.