The Corvallis School District will require students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate for five days and return to school on Day Six.
This shorter isolation period is contingent upon the COVID-19-positive student or staff member’s ability to consistently wear a properly-fitted mask once they return to school.
The new rules, which take effect Tuesday, Jan. 18, were posted on the district's website on Friday, Jan. 14.
To return to school on Day Six, according to the announcement, students and staff members must be fever-free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours. Their symptoms must have significantly improved, and they must be able to wear a well-fitting mask for five more days.
The district nursing department will determine isolation periods for each person with guidance from the Benton County Health Department, depending on residual symptoms, the district said.
The new COVID-19 guidance also was sent to Corvallis parents Friday morning. Here’s what else is changing in the district:
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- Symptomatic students and staff who show any symptoms of the novel coronavirus, including mild ones such as runny nose and congestion, will be required to have a negative PCR test to return to school. This is due to the more mild symptoms seen in Omicron cases, which is driving the current surge.
- The district will now start using “up to date on vaccination” instead of “fully immunized.” This is because some students may not yet be eligible for a booster shot, depending on their age and which vaccine they received initially.
- Students who are up to date on their vaccination do not need to quarantine after they have had a close contact. Students who are not up to date on their vaccination must quarantine for an additional five days after their close contact.
- The Test to Stay program is still available for students who are not up to date on their vaccination and had a close contact in school where masks were worn properly and consistently. However, if the close contact occurred where masks were not worn properly or if the close contact was not in a school setting, students will need to quarantine for five days and return on day six with a negative test.
- If a student does not get tested for COVID-19 before returning to school, they must quarantine for 10 days and return on Day 11.
- Parents/guardians must provide written consent if they want their child to have access to free diagnostic or screening testing.
Diagnostic testing allows the school to test students with a rapid test if they become symptomatic while at school or have had a close contact, according to the district. Students may return to school immediately if they test negative.
Screening testing is a weekly testing program that helps detect the virus in asymptomatic people. Consenting to this test also means that students will be sent home with a testing kit after having a close contact at school.
Also included in the guidance:
- Families of students who have had a close contact at school will continue to be notified by that school. Families of students who are up to date on their vaccination will receive an email. Families of students who are not up to date on their vaccination will receive a phone call and a follow-up email. Notifications will also be sent to families of students who had close contacts in classrooms and buses.
- The COVID-19 dashboard on the CSD website will now include the daily and weekly totals of reported cases, the cumulative total of cases since Jan. 3 and the cumulative total of cases since the start of the school year.
- The district is keeping an eye on cases and will notify families at least one day in advance if a school has to temporarily close due to COVID-19 absences and case numbers.
Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_.