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"Pandemic Learning Pods" Guidance

Larimer County Guidance for "Pandemic Learning Pods"

Colorado Department of Education "Resource Guide for Individuals Hosting and Families Participating in Instructional Learning Pods"

Information for Parents and Guardians of K-12 School-Aged Children 

Positive COVID-19 Cases in a Classroom or School

Due to the nature of COVID-19, classroom closures and quarantine notifications often come with short notice. Parents and caregivers of students who are in in-person learning should be prepared to have their child home from school unexpectedly if a case of COVID-19 is present in a school or classroom. Parents and caregivers should understand their school's virtual options if a classroom is closed or the need to quarantine or have their child home from school arises.
 
If someone connected with a school or classroom has COVID-19, the classroom or school may be closed for a short period of time while the Health Department and school conduct an assessment to determine which individuals may have been exposed. The length of time the closure for in-person learning may vary by classroom depending on each classroom’s unique circumstances.
 
Those who were exposed will be contacted by the Health Department and receive quarantine orders. The release date of each person's quarantine order depends on each individual’s last date of exposure. Exposure dates are traced back to the last time the positive or probable case(s) was in the school, activity, or other areas where exposure has been determined. The Health Department will not share any information with contacts that reveals the identity of the person who has COVID-19. 
 
Cases can be tied to classrooms, athletics, recreation leagues, parties, etc. If the Larimer County Health Department determines that a child is a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, they will need to quarantine at home for up to 14 days. A negative test does not end the quarantine period early or allow them to return to school because they may become ill or test positive later in their quarantine period. If a child develops symptoms during their quarantine period, they might be required to stay home longer. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to remain home under an isolation order and the household may be required to stay home under a quarantine order. Parents and caregivers will be asked to help identify people their child may have spent time with in close contact. Public Health will ask for names and contact information. The faster that information can be shared, the faster we can stop the spread and avoid additional classroom or school closures.
 
The state health department may determine that a school has an outbreak if two cases of COVID-19 are identified in unrelated individuals in a 2 week period. This does not necessarily mean that the person who has COVID-19 caught it at the school. Each situation is unique and will be addressed accordingly.

 

Examples of potential exposures:
  • Riding in a car or school bus with others
  • Physical activities with others
  • Getting together at someone’s house

 

FAQs

It takes time for the Health Department to go through all contacts, it is likely that not all assessments have been completed yet.

A negative test does not end someone’s quarantine period early because it can take up to 14 days from the date of last exposure to become ill and test positive.

Every individual student will be quarantined for 14 days from the date they were last exposed. If two students were exposed on different dates, their quarantine periods will end on different dates.

Covering noses/mouths and physical distancing significantly decreases risk, but similar to wearing a helmet while playing football or wearing a seatbelt in a car, they do not eliminate risk entirely, so temporary classroom closures may still occur even if everyone follows all of the precautions.

Only direct contacts of known COVID-19 cases are issued quarantine orders. Household members of someone who has been directly exposed do not need to quarantine unless the quarantined family member tests positive or develops symptoms of COVID-19. If that occurs, the household will be provided with additional information from the Health Department and may be required to quarantine.

 

To protect the privacy of the person diagnosed with COVID-19, we cannot disclose any information that would identify the person(s) that potentially exposed your child. Public Health works closely with agencies and schools to determine which classrooms need to be closed and which individuals need to be quarantined or isolated.

 

You have a right to not test your child for COVID-19. It might impact classroom closures if that child is symptomatic and has had close contact with a positive case.

 

Assessments are required to allow students to return to classes. If calls cannot be completed, it can delay the reopening of classrooms.

Parents can choose to not test, but a household contact of a positive case that has symptoms is considered to be a probable case, and treated like a positive. Closures and quarantine orders are handled exactly the same as a confirmed positive, following state requirements.