Dear Shabazz Families,
As we welcome students back to in-person school, I want to let you know how you will be notified if there is ever a positive COVID-19 case in our building.
How will I be notified if my child is exposed to COVID-19?
If your child is exposed to anyone at school or on a school bus with COVID-19, they may be considered a Close Contact, depending on their proximity and duration of exposure. In this case, our Health Office will notify you by phone and will work with you to arrange for your child to go home to quarantine. They will also provide you with a letter with instructions for quarantining and other information about getting tested and when they can return to school. You can preview the "close contact letter" here.
How can I stay updated on any positive cases in the building?
First, the district has published a case count dashboard that is updated every Wednesday. You can check it at any time to see the cumulative number of individuals who have tested positive and who have been close contacts in any MMSD buildings: mmsd.org/casecount. This dashboard began recording cases starting September 8, 2020. It is our desire to be transparent while protecting individual student and staff privacy. For this reason, we suppress numbers of six or fewer.
If there is a positive COVID-19 case in our building, we will also send an email to all families (in-person and virtual) and staff so that you have this information. For the same privacy reasons as above, we do not plan to identify the number of cases on a particular day in our communication. (For example, if we are made aware of two individuals who test positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, we would send an email Wednesday letting you know that at least one person tested positive.) This aligns with how other schools in the district will be communicating, as we believe consistency is important. The district will revisit this approach as needed and we will notify you if there are any changes to the process.
Our approach reflects guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the U.S. Department of Education: "When determining what information may be shared without consent, the school must take into account other reasonably available information that could potentially enable non-identifiable information to become identifiable."
Please remember: Unless you are directly contacted by our Health Office, your child is not considered a close contact, and there is not a recommendation that they get tested.
What level of detail will you provide publicly?
Your child's privacy is important to us. In line with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), we will not provide details on anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. We will not identify names, whether the individual is a student or staff member, grade, language, gender identity and so on.
How will I be notified if my child's classroom has to close, or the school has to close?
There may be times that your child is not exposed to COVID-19 but their classroom must temporarily close, or the entire building must temporarily close and switch to virtual learning for a period of time.
This could be due to a variety of reasons. Factors considered include the number of student and staff close contacts, other student and staff absences, cohort cross over, safety practices, Public Health data and other community concerns. (This graphic helps illustrate how decisions are made.)
In these cases, we will communicate with you as quickly as possible about closures so you have as much time as possible to plan. However, we know that there may be times when there is very little time to plan, but we will do our best to send texts (please be sure you have opted in to receiving text messages in Infinite Campus), automated phone calls, and emails.
We will also post information related to closures on our website at shabazz.mmsd.org/covid-closures.
If the school has to close, how can my child still receive breakfast and lunch?
We want to make sure that all of our students have access to nutritious meals they would otherwise receive at school, and we will make sure you have information on meal pick-ups.
What if I have questions?
If you have any questions about COVID-19, please contact our School Nurses:
Michelle Leh Rameker-- email@example.com
If you have any questions about how we will communicate with you about positive cases and closures, please do not hesitate to contact me.