ACPS COVID-19 Protocols 23-24 School Year
On May 11, 2023, the federal government ended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), which means that COVID efforts shift from emergency response to managing COVID-19 as other communicable diseases such as the flu and other illnesses. As we strive to keep our schools healthy places to learn, the following guidelines are in place for the management of COVID-19 during the 23-24 school year.
ACPS Illness Guidelines
Below are the current illness guidelines for ACPS:
- Students demonstrating fever (100 or greater) will be sent home from school.
- Students demonstrating respiratory symptoms and NO FEVER will return to class as determined by the School Nurse based on updated Alexandria Health Department exclusion guidance in the table found below.
- COVID-Like Symptoms —Students experiencing COVID-like illness should be tested for COVID-19 before returning to school. Students who have had a fever in the past 24 hours should stay home regardless of their test result. There is no requirement to submit documentation of this negative test result.
The CDC considers the following COVID-like-symptoms:
- FEVER (Temperature 100.4 or above) or CHILLS
- COUGH (Not due to another health condition)
- SHORTNESS OF BREATH OR DIFFICULTY BREATHING (Not due to diagnosed respiratory health condition or if different than normal pattern of chronic condition)
- FATIGUE (More tired than normal or sudden onset)
- MUSCLE OR BODY ACHES (Not due to another health condition or caused by a specific activity such as PE)
- HEADACHE (Not due to another health condition, hunger, stress, or injury)
- NEW LOSS OF TASTE OR SMELL
- SORE THROAT (Not due to another health condition)
- CONGESTION OR RUNNY NOSE (Not related to allergies or other health condition)
- NAUSEA OR VOMITING (Not associated with a chronic gastrointestinal condition)
- DIARRHEA (Not associated with a chronic gastrointestinal condition)
ACPS students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will still be expected to follow CDC guidelines to isolate for a minimum of 5 days, returning to school on day 6 if their symptoms are improving and they have been fever-free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours. An isolation calculator can be found on the CDC website here. Individuals returning to school after a positive COVID test should wear a well fitting mask through day 10.
- Students experiencing COVID-like illness are strongly recommended to test for COVID-19 before returning to school, but are no longer required to submit documentation of a negative test result for clearance.
- Families should contact their school nurse if their child tests positive for COVID. The ACPS COVID Dashboard is no longer being updated and is archived as of June 2023.
- The weekly in-school testing program ended June 9.
- School nurses will continue to supply free Rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests.
- Please refer any COVID-19 related questions to your student’s school nurse.
ACPS COVID-19 SCHOOL EXCLUSION GUIDANCE
Fever in last 24 hours*
Positive for COVID-19
Student must be kept home from school
COVID-19 respiratory symptoms
AND Known Covid-19 Exposure
Keeping student home from school strongly recommended
Testing recommended - may return to school if negative
COVID-19 respiratory symptoms
No known COVID-19 exposure
Decision to keep student home from based on school nurse’s assessment
*Students should be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine prior to returning to school.
COVID-19 Protocols for School Year 2023-24
Masking— Masks remain optional. The CDC provides information about the types of masks and their benefits in the prevention of spreading so that families can make the best decisions for themselves and their children.
Vaccination— All ACPS staff and students are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including boosters. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required.
Information for High Risk Students— If a student has an existing healthcare, IEP, or 504 Plan, and would like to request accommodation because of high-risk COVID complications based on a medical diagnosis, their parent or guardian should request to meet with the school’s IEP or 504 team.
- Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
- Ok If families have questions about accommodations due to high-risk COVID complications based on a medical diagnosis, parents or guardians should contact their child’s school, or they may reach out to the Office of Specialized Instruction (IEP) or Office of Student Services (504).
Layered Prevention Strategies— ACPS has established practices in place for responding to outbreaks that will be used for COVID moving forward. While the emergency phase has ended, we remain focused on the health and safety of our students and staff and will continue layered measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools, including:
- Providing free rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits in school health clinics.
- Encouraging staff and students to stay up-to-date on vaccines and boosters. CDC guidance
- Sending parent notification emails if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in the school.
- Continue to consider accommodations for students who may have compromised immune systems.
- Continue current procedures for cleaning and disinfection and use of portable certified air cleaning devices to filter the air in classrooms and improved filtration filters in HVAC systems, including MERV-13 filtration systems.