KEEP THE CHILDREN AND TEACHERS IN SCHOOL AND STOP LIVING IN FEAR OF A LENGTHY QUARANTINE
Schools are currently in remote learning because of staff shortages due to quarantining. Without reasonable guidelines and standards set by the Ministry of Health, our children will be in and out of school for yet another school year.
I am asking for a collaboration of all schools to push back on setting standards, rules and equality around the quarantine metrics. We send our kids to school in a mask, temperature checked, periodic hand washing, hand sanitizer all around the building and they sit 6 feet apart which are higher standards than any other operation in Bermuda.
An airplane can arrive with 250 people with less standards (no temperature, within 6 feet) than our children have endured at school and only the close contacts are required to quarantine. Adults go to work (no temperature checked, no masks all day, within 6 feet and probably not everyone sanitizes) and only those close contacts are requested to quarantine. A hotel or restaurant will have a positive case and close for a few days to test and clean. They will reopen their doors once they follow their protocol. Why can’t this be the same for schools?
Under the current guideline, with the current protocols the schools are following, the kids should not be quarantined as they would be labeled Casual contact, yet they are asked to quarantine up to 14 days. In order to ensure school remains open and the children stay safe, I propose we add another contact classified as Associated contact. The Associated Contact falls between the Close Contact and the Casual Contact.
An Associate will be asked to quarantine; however, they can test on the 5th day of contact with the positive and return to school once a negative test result has been provided to the school. For example, if a student is an Associate contact on Tuesday, he/she can test on Sunday and return to school once a negative result has been received by the school. The 5th day of testing is proposed as the average incubation period is 3 to 5 days with the peak days being 3.71 days.
I propose the following guidelines for when a child tests positive. The positive case will be sent to quarantine upon receiving the positive test result.
- The school will be required to follow all protocols: Temperature check, hand sanitized upon arrival and throughout the day, hand washing multiple times a day, masks worn all day, desks spaced 6 feet apart or in a pod of 4 or less desks within 6 feet.
- The school is notified immediately when a student tests positive.
- The school notifies the year group that there was a case and notes which class the positive is in.
- Parents of the entire year group have the choice to get their kids tested and/or keep their children at home.
- The teachers will decide who is in the child’s pod and these children will be classified as an Associated Contact.
- The Associated Contact will be asked to be removed from school and they will test on the 5th day after their contact with the positive case.
- If a child tests positive, they can test and return to school with a negative result once they are symptom free for 2 days or 14 days from the positive test
- As the teacher is able to maintain their distance from the students, he or she will be labeled as a causal contact.
- Rapid covid kits will be available at all schools. In the case a staff member suspects that a child has symptoms, she will be required to complete a rapid test. If she tests positive, she will be required to stay at home until she obtains a negative nasal swab test.
The goal should be to keep our kids in school and the need to have a standard quarantine process that is clear, reasonable and scientifically supported.
If you agree with my proposal, please sign the petition. If you sign it, please please forward to your friends, partner, family, co-workers regardless if they have children in the school system currently. Everyone has an opinion on this.