Over the weekend, we have had a drill of our emergency response system with a possible COVID contact on campus. At 7:41 AM Sunday morning, I got the email I was both expecting and dreading — “I am your teacher and I have a fever of 105.” Immediately, my brain was scrambling through all of the steps to respond well with this possible COVID contact.
We learned with whom the teacher had been in contact with recently, what rooms had she been active in, etc. She had already set up a COVID test. Our doctors got involved to help assess the situation. We found a great sub, brought in the cleaning company that sanitizes our rooms, and started contacting people.
The teacher had already been proactive in contacting one person with whom she had worked during the work day. This Mom handled everything perfectly. She contacted directly the one other person who had direct contact with the teacher. Then called her small group Bible study to alert them that she (the Mom) had a possible COVID exposure on Saturday, leaving out any of the particular details.
She did a great job. It is hard to say, “I may have had a possible COVID contact today,” and then stop there. One’s friends will ask the inevitable, “Who was it who has COVID?” Just the mention of such a contact gets things hopping — in one’s own heart, in the minds of the people with whom you speak, etc. But the Mom involved showed great restraint and did the right thing.
First, the news of a person being infected with COVID is medical information. This is private information only to be shared by the “patient” with the school or with the infected person’s specific permission. I am free to share with others if I have a possible exposure, but not free to share with whom I had this exposure.
Second, a possible COVID infection is not a positive case, so the level of alert is different depending directly on the degree of exposure and the certainty of an infection. A suspected case will be treated as if it was real as far as our response at school goes:
  1. Anyone ill with COVID-like symptoms is asked not to come to school and for siblings to stay home as well, until there is a determination that it is or is not a COVID infection.
  2. We will immediately determine risk to the community, degree of contact and will notify the persons involved in such an exposure as soon as possible. Timing of possible required quarantine periods will be calculated for maximum safety.
  3. Rooms or common areas involved will be sanitized immediately before students or staff are allowed back in those rooms.
We know that we have an impressive communications network between families — texting, VAT Facebook page, etc. This kind of a situation is not a time to fire up those networks. Remember, we will be dealing with confidential medical information. We must act accordingly.
Thank you for guarding your brother or sister. Thank you for forwarding any questions to me directly. We have a response plan and doctors equipped to dig into each case and advise the admin staff accordingly. I greatly appreciate the support of so many as we go through each situation that will come up.
God’s blessing, Christopher
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