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School protocols for COVID-19

Madison Dane County Public Health breaks down guidelines in the case of an infection
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 5:51 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Be proactive. That’s the mantra of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) as they continue to navigate education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since all MMSD students are currently learning from home, administrators say they’re not as concerned about students catching the virus. However, NBC15 Investigates learned teachers and staff are still allowed access to schools.

“I really want to lift up that staff members who are volunteering to enter the building should not be in contact with other staff members,” Dr. Tremayne Clardy, MMSD Elementary Chief of Schools said. “So, they’re going to their space and utilizing their personal space and practicing all the safeguards.”

Any employee entering those buildings is expected to wear personal protective gear (PPE).

“If a staff member were to get sick, we would definitely work with that staff member to make sure they’re okay and then work with getting coverage for their classroom, because there are still students on the other end,” Clardy said.

Currently, MMSD students are scheduled to go back to class in person in November. Clardy said those decisions are based on up-to-date public health reports.

If a teacher or student tests positive for COVID-19, educators are expected to call state and local health departments right away. That way, the public health department can immediately start testing and contact tracing to slow or prevent any further spread of the virus.

The Madison Dane County Public Health Department also encourages schools to take this to the next step and come up with quarantine and isolation plans.

“That will really look different depending on the community resources and assets,” Paula Tran Inzeo, MATCH Director with the UW Population Health Institute said. “Whether there’s a place for folks to go depending on the system or if they’ll be sending folks home, but you’ll want to separate people.”

Third through 12th grade students are all virtual right now, so these protocols mainly apply to kindergarten through 2nd graders attending class in person.

“I think that schools are a good example of a complex set of decisions, but those decisions need to happen alongside bus reopening is our tourism open and alive and those are tough decisions for communities,” Inzeo said.

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