Just days before some schools start back up for the fall semester, the Alabama Department of Public Health released guidance to schools on how to handle a person who is sick at school.
The guidance basically guides schools through what to do if a student or teacher has symptoms of COVID-19.
The state guidance does not say when a school or a classroom should be closed, but it defines an outbreak as two people in one classroom who have tested positive for the virus.
A positive test from one person in a classroom means everyone who was in close contact – defined as within six feet – should be sent home.
In a classroom setting, this means people could be sent home often. School officials are also required to file an online report within four hours once they know of a positive result.
Here’s how ADPH outlined a scenario where someone in a school is showing symptoms:
The suspected student or staff member is isolated in a ‘pre-designated COVID-19 room’ and sent home.
If they are positive they go into quarantine. The school nurse will then help determine who was in close contact with the person.
Those who were in close contact will then also be isolated and sent home until they are tested. The case is reported to the Department of Health, parents at the school are notificed, but not told which student for confidentiality reasons, and then the cleaning and disinfecting process begins.
Later Tuesday, ADPH will host a training session to help school officials understand and navigate the toolkit.