COVID-19 Information, 2021-22 School Year

The EMS Strategic Leadership Team makes decisions related to COVID-19 mitigation, safety and prevention in consultation with area professionals and in adherence with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health. 

EMS expects students to be in school unless they are ill or self-quarantining because of being a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.  Students who need to be home for extended absences may have classwork adjustments; however, we do NOT offer remote learning through Zoom for absent students.

Vaccinations: EMS encourages eligible individuals to become vaccinated, as this is reportedly the best mitigation strategy against becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. Information helps us make the most informed decisions and we have  encouraged vaccinations for all employees and students.  This will be most useful to assist in rapid contact tracing but also help us know the vaccination rates of our immediate school community.  This information will be kept confidential for use by medical and administrative staff only.  

Masks:  

  • INSIDE:  Everyone inside an EMS building must wear a properly fitted/worn mask, regardless of vaccination status.
  • OUTSIDE:  No mask is required, but they are optional.

At this time, these same rules apply to co-curricular activities and spectators. Please stay tuned as we explore and learn more regarding indoor athletics and league expectations.

Physical Distancing: EMS aims for 3’ distancing in classroom seating arrangements. We continue to practice airflow and air quality treatment throughout our HVAC systems and the use of portable HEPA filtration devices. Teachers and students are permitted to work in small groupings, are encouraged to use outdoor spaces, and make allowances for outdoor mask breaks as needed.

  • Large Group Gatherings:  Brief assemblies and chapels happen by school division as scheduled.  In pre-approved environments, the public speaker is permitted to remove their mask to improve communication.
  • Hallways, lockers, restrooms are being used as normal. 
  • Upon entering the building, students report to their first period classroom.
  • Lunch Periods:  Students eat lunch by school division. Outside options are available. When students eat indoors, they are expected to wear a mask before and after eating.  A minimum of 3 foot distancing is possible. 
  • Physical Education: Students do NOT be changing clothes for PE classes; locker rooms will only be used as restrooms.

EMS COVID Responses - COVID, Close Contacts, & Quarantine

 (Based upon and summarized from CDC & VDH guidance) 

COVID Positive Return to School (for both vaccinated AND unvaccinated): 

The student or employee can return to school and end isolation once the following are met: 

  • 10 days out from the start of the symptoms, AND 
  • Fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, AND 
  • Symptoms have improved. 

Close Contact Definition

Being within 6 feet of a person who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Exception: In indoor K-12 settings, a student who is within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student is not considered a close contact as long as both the infected student and the exposed student correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time and the school has other prevention strategies in place.

If/When EMS learns of a Close Contact situation at school, the Close Contact will be informed of next steps. 

Steps for Close Contacts:

    • Stay home and away from others (“quarantine”). 
      • Stay home (quarantine) for 14 days after the last contact. Counting your date of last exposure as Day 0 and you may return to school on Day 15 if no symptoms appear during the 14 days quarantine. OR
      • Get a PCR test on or after Day 5. You return to school after Day 7 if the PCR test performed on or after Day 5 is negative. 
  • Quarantine Exceptions 
    • People who have had COVID-19 in the past 3 months as long as they do not develop new symptoms. 
    • People who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as long as they do not have symptoms.
    •  Note: Fully vaccinated people should be tested 3-5 days after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until they receive a negative test result. (CDC)

Sick at Home or School 

    • All students and employees who are sick are requested to stay home. 
      • People with COVID-like symptoms (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) should see/call their primary care physician for advice. 
  • If a household member feels sick at home with symptoms consistent with COVID and not related to a known cause, students in this household, unless vaccinated for COVID, should also stay home until the sick person has been evaluated and known NOT to have COVID.
    • Testing with an at home COVID test kit without consultation from a provider is not being accepted for return to school purposes.

Sick at School

  • Students visiting the school’s nurse office with COVID-like symptoms without a known cause will be sent home for referral to the student’s PCP for diagnosis. 

Siblings, unless they are fully vaccinated, will also be sent home until the PCP clarifies the student(s) can return to school.