Stop the Spread-Fight for Quarantine
As a concerned mother, registered critical care nurse, and volunteer member of the SYC Community, I appreciate your time reading this plea. I am requesting more transparency and communication from the SYCSD in regard to the changes implemented to the Health and Safety Plan related to Coronavirus. The purpose of this document is not to take any position with respect to masks and vaccination opinions, but rather to focus and ensure the School District is conducting contact tracing and to request the SYCSD School Board to reinstate proper quarantine measures. Currently, our School Board voted on November 18, 2021, to stop quarantining close contacts. This unannounced change in policy has allowed our children and staff to remain in school with those individuals that have been exposed to and possibly carrying the Coronavirus. I have requested to speak at the next SYCSD School Board meeting in reference to reinstating effective quarantine policies to slow and prevent the exposure/spread of the Coronavirus.
I am requesting your documentation of signature in support of the requested policy changes to the SYCSD Health and Safety Plan. Below is a document I have written in regard to some of my concerns.
Stop the Spread-Fight for Quarantine
As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continues to impact our students, staff, and community, it is our social responsibility to be compliant with the utmost effective and recognized Covid mitigation strategies known to prevent further and future devastation caused by this highly transmissible communicable virus. Coronavirus mitigation efforts recommended by the Center for Disease Control, Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Department of Education agree that when multiple prevention strategies are in place, transmission rates are typically lower. A few prevention strategies are as follows: promote vaccination, usage of correct facial mask wearing, social distancing, contact tracing, cleaning and disinfection, and isolation/quarantining properly. As the guidance and recommendations from these organizations are updated it is the responsibility and obligation of the SYCSD to ensure the safest and most proper measures are in place to protect the well-being of our children and staff.
During the school board meeting dated November 18, 2021, it was proposed and agreed upon with a unanimous vote to update the SYCSD Health and Safety Plan. The revised plan outlined at the school board meeting stated, “Quarantine Covid positive individuals for 10 days. Exclude individuals from school exhibiting symptoms consistent with Covid-19 pending clearance from a physician or a negative Covid-19 test. Close contacts will no longer be required to quarantine.”
On December 10, 2021, a SYCSD email was disseminated advising face coverings/masks would be optional and no longer mandated. Unfortunately, this notification in addition with the email dated December 12, 2021, failed to disclose that other Covid mitigations were abolished. This included contact tracing. Contact tracing is the practice to identify and notify people who have been exposed to someone with an infectious disease such as Coronavirus. Contact tracing was not in effect in our schools from December 10 to December 16, 2021. There was no communication provided by the SYCSD to advise this change in policy.
Contact tracing is undeniably one of the most effective ways to safeguard an individual. The action to identify individuals who have been in the proximity of a person diagnosed with an infectious disease is necessary and unavoidable. The goals of contact tracing are to interrupt and reduce the spread of an infection. Contact tracing helps protect you, your family, and your community by offering referrals for services and resources to people diagnosed with Coronavirus and helping exposed individuals to take the necessary precautions required to prevent additional exposures. All credible medical resources at minimum recommend efficient and effective contact tracing and proper quarantining protocols to slow and prevent the spread of Coronavirus. After much opposition, contact tracing was reinstated by the SYCSD on December 17, 2021. The SYCSD advised, “Students that are in close contact with a positive individual, in the same classroom, or on the bus will be notified by email.”
To continue to ensure a safe and secure environment within our schools, proper quarantine measures must be in effect and properly enforced to separate and restrict the movement of an individual who was exposed to Coronavirus. An exposed individual or close contact defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education states, “A person who was within six feet of an infected person for 15 consecutive minutes starting two days before illness onset (or for asymptomatic infected people, two days prior to positive test collection) until the time the infected person is isolated.” Up until the date of December 26, 2021, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised that close contacts that are not vaccinated need to quarantine. This recommendation from the CDC suggested to quarantine a total of 14 days from the date of the exposure. The SYCSD School Board eliminated the requirement to quarantine close contacts without taking into account the contacts vaccination status during their November 18, 2021 meeting. The SYCSD email dated December 17, 2021, announced, “Students that do not have symptoms may continue to attend school.” This policy has allowed close contacts to remain in our schools since November 19, 2021. As a direct result, the number of exposures and positive Coronavirus cases has increased and continues to threaten our schools.
Schools have the authority to restrict people who are at risk of spreading Covid-19 from entering the school building. Schools do not need a quarantine order to take this action to protect the health and safety of students and staff. This plea before you is to help protect our schools and not to challenge a person's views and opinions of masking and vaccination beliefs. I am proposing at the very minimum that the SYCSD require Covid positive individuals to quarantine/isolate until they are no longer infectious and enforce effective quarantine protocols to individuals exposed to someone with Covid-19. Isolation and quarantine are proven to be our best options in preventing Coronavirus.
As a concerned mother, registered critical care nurse, and volunteer member of this community I appreciate your time reading this plea. I am requesting more transparency and communication from the SYCSD in regard to changes in policy and mitigation strategies for Coronavirus. I have requested to speak at the next SYCSD School Board meeting in reference to restoring effective quarantine policies to prevent and to slow the transmission of Coronavirus. I am also requesting that the school district require a physician clearance or a negative laboratory based Covid-19 test opposed to a home test kit. Requiring a laboratory based test to return to school would eliminate the doubt of a questionable result.
I would greatly appreciate your documentation of signature in support of the requested policy changes to the SYCSD Health and Safety Plan.