As we near the end of the first marking period, please review the following frequently asked questions regarding quarantine, potential school closure, and the school district navigating Ohio Department of Health and Miami County Public Health guidelines. The following have also been added to the FAQs on the district website.
How are students identified as close contacts for quarantine?
With guidance from Miami County Public Health and according to Ohio Department of Health guidelines, students within six feet of another student or staff member for at least 15 consecutive minutes that has tested positive for COVID-19 will be identified for 14-day quarantine, and contact tracing must be done for the 48-hour period prior to the student experiencing symptoms. In completing contact tracing in conjunction with Miami County Public Health personnel, our staff members must consider all aspects of the student day including district transportation, classroom time, lunch tables, and co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
When would the district consider closing school and moving to fully remote instruction?
The district seeks to remain open for in-person instruction. Unless absolutely necessary, we would like to avoid sending additional healthy students home. Before moving to fully remote learning, the district would consider “closing” specific grade levels or buildings. We anticipate any closing would most likely depend on the ability to obtain qualified replacements for quarantined Milton-Union staff members.
Although circumstances continue to be fluid and subject to change, we would consider remote learning for short periods of time instead of an entire marking period, semester, or remainder of the school year. Depending on spread, attendance, and staffing, the district would likely consider two weeks of remote learning to allow circumstances to improve before returning to in-person instruction.
If students are wearing masks and use barriers in most classes, why are students still being quarantined?
To continue to provide in-person instruction safely and in interpreting mandates from the Governor’s Office and Ohio Department of Health, masks, barriers, and social distancing are measures to help prevent staff members and students from contracting the virus. If a student or staff member would test positive for COVID-19 and contact tracing becomes necessary, then quarantining is another layer of protection to help mitigate spread required by the Ohio Department of Health and Miami County Public Health guidelines.
Why are students permitted to attend school when a sibling or another MU student who lives in the same household is sent home for a 14-day quarantine?
In situations like this and according to the Ohio Department of Health and Miami County Public Health guidelines, the quarantined student is considered a primary contact. Other students, parents, and caregivers living in the same household or residence are considered secondary contacts. Family members become primary contacts if/when the quarantined student experiences symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19. Until then, as the district understands this process, other family members may continue to attend school, go to work, etc.
How many actual positive COVID-19 tests have been reported to the school? Staff? Students?
As of Friday, October 23, 2020, the district has reported to Miami County Public Health six students and two staff members with positive test results. In one student case, there was no additional exposure to students and staff members, and further quarantine was not required.
How much notice will I get when the school decides to close?
The district would make every effort to inform families by the preceding Thursday when remote instruction is expected the following week. Meaning, unless there are unforeseen circumstances, we would make every effort to provide 48 hour notice to families. Unforeseen circumstances could include, but may not be limited to, staffing issues involving the transportation department, classroom coverage, and availability of substitutes. In situations like these, we may be unable to provide notice.
My child was quarantined and now is two weeks behind classmates and her/his grades have dropped. How are teachers going to make this fair? Grades shouldn’t suffer since the school made the child quarantine, and teachers only provided assignments remotely.
Quarantined students who do not experience symptoms are asked to participate in remote learning. Teachers are providing learning opportunities through the building's online learning platform. Although a student’s grade could be affected during quarantine, our expectation is that performance would improve once the student is able to work with his/her teachers directly. With adequate time to work with teachers more directly, students will have an opportunity to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills to improve letter grades.
Can the district provide more information to students, parents, and families regarding exactly who has tested positive and who has been quarantined?
We are making every effort to protect the confidentiality of private, medical information of students and families. In addition, quarantine might be ordered by Miami County Public Health for family members who live in the same household when a parent/caregiver has tested positive for COVID-19. In this case, additional family members living in the same household are considered close contacts, so every instance of quarantine is not always related to student-to-student school exposure. Consequently, providing more information to our school community could in some cases also jeopardize the confidential medical information of parents and caregivers.
Why does the district communicate every new, positive case of COVID-19?
Per the Ohio Department of Health and using communication protocols available to the district, we are required to inform families. As the situation progresses, the district would like to eliminate mass, voice calls and communicate new cases to our public by app notification, text messaging, and social media feeds. We have made every attempt to remain transparent as the pandemic has further affected school operations.