We are moving through our first month of school re-entry. Our school professional and service personnel have been diligently implementing practices aligned with COVID 19 protocols. We applaud school staff and families for being open to learning and adhering to safety practices that help keep our schools and communities safer. Our students have been wearing face coverings, learning how to travel hallways and orient themselves to the various social distancing guidelines and seating arrangements across their school environments. The combination of the Blended Model and Distance Learning is helping to keep the cohorts small, which helps with contact tracing and containing the virus.
We continue to communicate regularly with the Marion County Health Department. This plan has been customized to address our specific school re-entry scenarios. It reflects the coordinated efforts of public health actions and school system actions to meet the goals of safety and mitigating the spread of COVID- 19. The Marion County Health Department SCHOOL OUTBREAK RESPONSE PLAN reflects four primary goals.
Goal 1: Limit the spread of COVID 19 in schools and communities.
Goal 2: Establish a socially conscious safe learning environment in the school system during the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Goal 3: Promote actions that mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in schools and communities.
Goal 4: Identify and investigate cases and contacts of COVID 19 quickly and efficiently to establish disease intervention actions.
Our school nurses have been strictly following the WV School Nurses protocol under the strong leadership of our lead/head nurse Mandy Boylen. We are fortunate to have a LPN in every school in Marion County. These LPNs are supervised by an experienced group of 6 (RNs) school nurses. In addition, to our nursing staff we are fortunate to continue our relationship with Monongahela Valley Association (MVA) Health Center. MVA provides Wellness Center opportunities for our school population. Their offices are strategically located at both ends of the county on the North Marion High School campus and East Fairmont High School campus. School nurses have worked with principals to ensure that there are appropriate arrangements to keep symptomatic students and staff separated from other students and staff that may be visiting the nurse for other health reasons. The Marion County Schools nursing staff has been focused on responding to our populations health needs and their record keeping and communication back to the head school nurse is remarkable.
Although many practices are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the school system must also be prepared to respond when we get information that staff and/or students have a positive COVID lab test. Schools provide a vital role in working with the health department for contact tracing when staff or students are diagnosed. Crucial information is gleaned from school level documentation such as the master cohort lists, classroom seating charts, extra-curricular activity participants, attendance logs, bus numbers, bus seating charts, etc. This information affords us the pertinent information needed to alert the focused populations that will need to quarantine.
It is certainly understandable that staff and families are frightened when we get information of a positive COVID 19 lab test. All parties in the school worry about the person(s) diagnosed and fear for the potential of wider spread. When notified of an exposure, we appreciate staff, students, and families that responsibly quarantine as advised.
Final thoughts to remember
Be well, stay safe.
Marion County Schools will post relevant news, updates, and guidance for parents, students, teachers, and staff on this page to keep you informed.