Isolation/Care Room Guidance
In an effort to assist Atlanta Public Schools in promoting a healthy and safe environment, and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our district, isolation guidance will be followed based on the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation.
There may be indications when a student or staff member has become infected with COVID-19 or other illness. Students or staff that present with communicable symptoms must be evaluated and isolated for a short period of time in the school's designated isolation room.
Staff or students that present with symptoms of communicable disease while at school should be evaluated by the school nurse or trained designee. The individual should be familiar with:
How disease spreads
How to identify disease symptoms
How to protect themselves
Environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures
When to contact District Health Services
Individuals who have been identified as having COVID-19 symptoms or have answered yes to questions on the screening questionnaire must be isolated from the general population or students and staff.
ISOLATION ROOM/AREA CONSIDERATIONS
If symptomatic, staff/student should be placed in a controlled, single-person room with the door closed. They should have access to a dedicated restroom.
Anyone entering designated rooms must use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
All individuals names must be logged including symptoms and reason for isolation
Parents or guardians of a symptomatic student are to be notified immediately of their child’s status and should be asked to remove the student from the premises. All student information must be logged in Infinite Campus.
As a measure to limit exposure and conserve PPE, the Principal should designate isolation rooms with ventilation systems that operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air within the facility to hold known and suspected staff/student cases separately, if possible. The room should be near outside access doors for retrieval of staff/students without contaminating additional school areas. Note: You may not have staff/students with a confirmed communicable disease. However, a contingency plan should be in place for that scenario.
Staff/students with a highly infectious communicable disease should not be held in the same room as someone who is showing signs of respiratory infection but is undiagnosed.
During times of respiratory or facemask shortages, schools should consider having an isolation room designee remove only their gloves and gowns (if used), and perform proper hand hygiene between visits with people who have the same diagnosis (e.g., confirmed communicable disease). They should consider extended use of eye protection, face-shields, respirators or facemasks, as the risk of transmission from this type of equipment during extended use is expected to be very low.
The school nurse or trained designee must take care not to touch their eye protection and respirator or facemask. Eye protection and the respiratory or facemask should be removed. Hand hygiene should be performed if they become damaged or in contact with bodily fluid and when leaving the isolation rooms.
o Nurse Hill-Blair and/or Mrs. Aubra Jackson will strictly follow basic infection control practices between staff/students (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment).
Affected staff/students are required to wear a facemask to contain secretions while in isolation. If a facemask cannot be tolerated or one is not available, they should use tissues to cover their mouth and nose. A face shield may be provided if available as a protective measure.
Once staff/student has vacated the room. Rooms should be cleaned as recommended per CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting school settings.
Multiple Ways for Staff and Students to Get Tested
As part of our Comprehensive COVID-19 Testing Strategy, surveillance testing is just one of the many efforts that APS is using to mitigate COVID-19 in our schools and community.
As a reminder, the strategy works with our school-based APS Care Centers and community resources to provide testing for the following groups:
- Students, teachers, and staff with symptoms identified through the health screening protocols
- Students, teachers, and staff who have had contact with someone with COVID-19 in the school or workplace
- All students, faculty, and staff with possible exposure in the context of outbreak settings
- Surveillance testing for individuals who are asymptomatic
APS has added the schedules, dates, and times of appointments for testing, with surveillance testing as only one part of our comprehensive strategy. The four parts of the testing strategy include:
Surveillance testing – This test that detects the presence of COVID-19 even in individuals who may be asymptomatic. The benefits of surveillance testing include allowing APS to test, receive test results (within 24 hours) and notify individuals of a clinically significant reading before coming to school or work.
School-based health clinics – As part of our testing strategy, we have developed cluster-based testing options (Jackson, South Atlanta, Washington, and Mays) at our APS Health Clinics for students and staff. Click here for school-based locations and times.