Isolate, then evaluate: City’s plan for kids who exhibit coronavirus at school | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Department of Education’s (DOE) reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year includes guidance should a student exhibit coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms during the school day.

Each public school building will have an isolation room, according to the plan submitted by the city to the state and confirmed by the DOE.

“An Isolation Room is a place where a student with suspected COVID-19 symptoms can be safely isolated in the building and where they can be seen by a health-care professional and/or picked up by a guardian,” the plan states.

DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer told the Advance/SILive.com that the safety and health of students and staff have guided the department’s reopening plan and are the top concern.

“If someone feels ill at school we will follow strict protocols when responding, and we are guaranteeing that every school will have a nurse on staff this year,” Styer said.

ISOLATION ROOM PROCEDURE

Should a student exhibit coronavirus symptoms — such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, lack of taste or smell, or other symptoms — he or she will be escorted to the school’s isolation room.

The student will then be evaluated by a nurse or health-care professional.

“Should the nurse/health professional be unavailable to examine the student, or if a school does not have a nurse or access to a health professional at that time, the student must wait in the isolation room until picked up,” according to the DOE reopening plan.

There are currently 359 schools that do not currently have a nurse on staff.

However, the city says that all city public schools will have a nurse on staff this year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Richard Carranza recently announced a partnership between the DOE and Health + Hospitals — which will provide 400 nurses to the city’s public school system.

These nurses will fill vacancies, as well as provide additional staffing for absences, the city said.

If a teacher or staff member presents symptoms of coronavirus, he or she will be immediately sent home.

MORE THAN ONE STUDENT

Each school will only have just one isolation room, according to the city. So if multiple students need to be isolated after showing COVID-19 symptoms, they will be sent to the same room.

The isolation room will be set up to be comfortable and allow for social distancing within the room, the city said.

Anybody entering the isolation room will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Staff members must be given appropriate PPE, according to the reopening plan, “including, but not limited to N95 masks, gloves, gowns and face shields or goggles.”

The principal will designate a staff member to supervise the room.

The isolation room’s ventilation system will be separate from the rest of the building, the city said.

NEXT STEPS

The family of any student showing coronavirus symptoms will be advised to get tested for COVID-19 and share the result with the school.

Students can only return to school after meeting the following conditions:

  • Receives a positive test AND isolates for 10 days;
  • Presents clearance from a health-care provider AND;
  • Has been symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of medication;

Or:

  • Receives a negative COVID-19 test AND;
  • Presents a clearance letter from a health-care provider AND;
  • Has been symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of mediation.

Or:

  • Never gets a COVID-19 test AND;
  • It has been at least 10 days since symptoms started AND;
  • Presents a clearance letter from a health-care provider AND;
  • Has been symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of medication.

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