Pickens County School District Recommends Masks | Contact-tracing and Quarantining Information
7/29/2021 ~ by Destini Shope, Director of Community Engagement and Public Relations | Pickens County School Districtn
Letter to Families | Contact-tracing and Quarantining
Dear PCSD Family,
The health and safety of our students and staff will always be our number one priority. Last week, we were excited to release our return to school plan which allowed us to return to prepandemic protocols.
We have continued to monitor COVID-19 trends in Pickens County and remained in close contact with local and state health officials. Unfortunately, a troubling trend has become evident over the last several days involving the spread of COVID-19.
During a short period of time, the number of positive cases in Pickens County has more than doubled and of the tests administered, 81% have been positive. The percentage of those fully vaccinated in Pickens County is currently 9.4%.
Furthermore, we have been informed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) that they intend to conduct contact-tracing and quarantining regardless of our procedures. Based on this information, we have made the decision to conduct contact-tracing ourselves and have DPH reach out to those families who need to be contacted. We feel that this will be the least disruptive way to conduct contact-tracing in our schools. We fully understand the hardship quarantining students places on our families.
CDC guidance released yesterday afternoon "recommends" that all individuals wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. Keep in mind that this is a recommendation, not a mandate.
The district recognizes that students benefit from in-person learning and we look forward to welcoming them all back into our buildings next week. We will continue to provide updates as needed and hope that this is just a bump in the road. The district appreciates your ongoing support as we navigate these challenging opportunities together.
[7/28/21] Yesterday afternoon we received updated guidance from CDC with regard to the opening of schools.
We are revising our initial plan to align with the current guidance:
• Masks are recommended for all individuals regardless of vaccination status.
We will continue to work with our healthcare partners and keep you updated on changes as needed.
Remember, if you are showing any signs of illness (sore throat, fever, cough, etc.), please stay home.
[7/22/21] On behalf of Superintendent Young, please be advised that with a few exceptions, which will be clarified by your child’s principal, Pickens County School District (PCSD) is returning to pre-pandemic operations for the 2021-22 school year. This decision comes following the Governor's Executive Order to end the Public Health State of Emergency on June 30, 2021.
School begins on Monday, August 2, 2021 for all Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 5th grade, 7th grade, and 9th grade students. The remaining students will begin the following day. We will follow state-mandated practices for infectious illnesses which focus on preventing, identifying, and controlling their spread. Based on these changes:
• There will be no precautionary quarantines for close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. When a school is notified of a positive case among students or staff, parents will be notified via Infinite Campus Parent Portal and email to monitor their child closely for symptoms, but no precautionary quarantines will be required. This follows state-mandated practices for communicable diseases.
• Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to follow Department of Health guidelines which require you to stay home for 10 days since symptoms first appeared and be fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medications, for 24 hours before returning to school.
• Students and staff are not required to wear masks but we will continue to make disposable masks available to anyone who requests one.
• PCSD will continue to focus on enhanced cleaning practices and will continue to make sanitizer available.
• Vaccinations are not required for employees or students, but are encouraged.
• Any person who becomes sick while at school/work and has symptoms of infection should go to the nurse for screening. If symptoms are significant and indicate possible infection the student/staff will be sent home.
• Parent/guardian and staff are responsible to notify the school nurse or principal when testing positive for COVID-19.
• If you are sick, stay home. Follow parent tip sheet "Is your child too sick for school" which can be found on the PCSD School Health web page.