Controlling the outbreak and getting the students back in the classroom has been a top priority for schools.
What should schools do if an outbreak happens? Drew Charter School in Atlanta kicked off the new school year last week. This was due to an outbreak and that nine students and five staff tested positive. Peter McKnight, the head of the school, said that more than 100 students are now in quarantine.
Experts Say How Schools Should Handle The Covid-19 Outbreak
The school officials said that they are working closely with local public health officials to ensure proper quarantine.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told CNN that, institutions should respond quickly in order to quarantine the people who are infected. He said that the school authority should first notify the health department.
Experts say that the testing and the local health department have a major role to play in controlling the outbreak. Schools can also approach other resources that can help with implementing an effective Covid-19 testing program for their institution to either prevent or respond to an outbreak.
According to McKnight, the head of Drew Charter School in Atlanta said that five Covid-19 cases were detected before the start of the school year. And also he said that All staff and employees are tested weekly, and students are encouraged to participate in weekly testing through the school.
Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah, wrote to CNN that, The best way to contain outbreaks that do occur in schools is to detect them early so that they can contain the outbreak before it becomes widespread. And also, If an outbreak is confined to a classroom or a group, people who had exposure initially may quarantine. He also that, it does not necessarily include everyone if masks are worn at all times and there is adequate distancing which limits exposure.
At Drew Charter in Atlanta, all staff and students are instructed to use their masks at all times. Dr. Andrew Pavia also wrote in his email that, now we have all the tools to prevent an outbreak and schools should use this knowledge and tools to ensure the safety of the students and staff.
Experts suggest that those who were exposed to the virus and tested would have to quarantine until their results determine whether they are positive or not. and if they are tested positive, they would need to isolate until they are no longer infectious.
Kim Anderson, executive director of the National Education Association, told CNN that, Outbreak prevention plans can vary state by state and school district by the school district. She also said that the district should have very well thought-out prevention plans to overcome this issue and every educator and parent and community member should be a part of this.
Anderson said that the schools should follow CDC and its protocols and recommendations. Follow the medical experts and only in this way the students, staff, and the whole community can stay safe.
CDC suggests that the delta variant of the virus can spread among both the vaccinated and unvaccinated people. CDC also said that the variant can be as transmissible as chickenpox and one infected person could spread the variant to about five to nine other people on average.
According to the new CDC guidelines, all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools should wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.