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Updated September 3, 2021

Wake County Free COVID-19 testing site information. 

https://www.wakegov.com/covid-19-information/free-covid-19-testing

 

What type of COVID-19 test should my child have to return to school?

People with COVID-19 symptoms and a negative COVID-19 antigen test should get a PCR test to confirm the negative results.

  • Students and staff who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 may not return to school if they have a negative rapid antigen test: home until follow-up PCR test, no fever for 24 hours ( without the use of fever reducing medicine), AND they have felt well for 24 hours. 
  • If negative PCR COVID-19 test:  Home until no fever for 24 hours (without fever reducing medicine), AND they have felt well for 24 hours.


What is the difference between a COVID-19 rapid antigen test and a PCR test?

COVID-19 rapid antigen tests work to detect proteins in the body that are specific to COVID-19. 

COVID-19 PCR tests detect the genetic material (RNA) that is specific to COVID-19. A PCR test can detect the virus within days of infection and is generally more reliable than a rapid antigen test, even for people who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. PCR test results can take 2-3 days as the tests are analyzed in a laboratory, but results can be done in as little as 24 hours.

Updated 8/04/2021

Please click here to view our re-opening plan for the 2021-22 school year. 

Dear Parents/ Guardians,

We would like to share information with you regarding COVID-19 and the policies/guidelines in place for the 2021-2022 school year.   

Updated August 10, 2021

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 parents should continuously monitor their child/ren for symptoms of COVID-19. Staff and children who have symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and contact their healthcare provider for testing and care. If your child is ill please email or call Wendy Walsh, walsh@stmm.net, 919-657-4800 ext. 7246. 

The questions below have been answered according to the information and protocols available at the time it was written.  * Please note that for any positive or presumptive case of COVID-19, we will follow protocol by contacting the Wake County Health Department for guidance.  Should the Diocese of Raleigh or the Wake County Health Department make a decision that is more conservative we will follow their guidance. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19

  • Fever (at least 100.4℉)
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
 

This list does not include all possible symptoms. For the most up-to-date list of symptoms, visit  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

Children and adolescents can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, can get sick with COVID-19, and can spread the virus to others.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/transmission_k_12_schools.html#covid-19-children-adolescents

The Delta variant, which is now the predominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in North Carolina, is significantly more contagious than the original virus. While the original virus spread from one person to an average of two or three people, the Delta variant is spreading from one person to an average of six people. Therefore, unvaccinated people are at greater risk of catching and spreading COVID-19, and they pose a risk to children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated and those who are immunocompromised.

 

Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death, and slow community spread. Rigorous clinical trials among thousands of people ages 12 and older, have proven that vaccines are safe and effective.

 

Visit yourspotyourshot.nc.gov or call 1-888-675-4567 to find out where you can get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the community.

 

We understand that the symptoms for COVID-19 are also the symptoms for many viral illnesses that children get throughout a school year. If you believe that their symptoms are because of another viral or bacterial condition we will require a doctor's note stating that their symptoms are non-COVID-19 related AND your student must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication with improving symptoms before returning to school. 

What steps can I take to prevent my child from getting COVID-19?

You can talk with your child about taking everyday steps to prevent getting sick.

  • Teach them to wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Teach them to avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your own home.
  • Remind them to keep physical distance from other people.
  • Have them cover their nose and mouth with a mask when inside.
  • Help your child monitor their health- look for symptoms 

For more information about protecting your child from COVID-19 visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

How long does it take for symptoms of COVID-19 to start?

It can take up to 14 days for people with COVID-19 to start showing symptoms.  Some people have very mild symptoms, some people become really sick, and some people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms at all.

Why does my child need to stay home?

Your child should stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 (while waiting for results), or have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Keeping ill students, and students who have been exposed to COVID-19, away from others, we can stop the spread of the virus.  It is possible for people who do not have symptoms to spread the virus to others.

If a student is sent home sick with suspected COVID-19 symptoms must all their siblings/household members be sent home as well and quarantined for 14 days?

Yes, if one of the household members is being evaluated for COVID-19, the rest of the household must be quarantined until an alternative diagnosis is made or a negative result is received.  If the sick student becomes a confirmed case (i.e., tests positive for COVID-19) or a probable case (i.e., has COVID-like symptoms and is epidemiologically linked to a known case), the local health department conducting contact tracing will place household contacts, including siblings, in quarantine for 14 days or following the guidelines below.

 As of 7/9/21, CDC added an exception to the need to quarantine in the close contact definition, excluding students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or clinically compatible illness) where: • both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting face masks; and • other K–12 school prevention strategies (such as universal and correct mask use, physical distancing, increased ventilation) were in place in the K–12 school setting. • This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting

What is the difference between Isolation and Quarantine?

Isolation means keeping sick people away from healthy ones.  This usually means that the sick person rests in their own bedroom or area of your home and keeps away from others as best as possible.

Quarantine means separating people who were exposed to a sick person away from others.  Because someone can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, quarantine stops them from accidentally spreading the virus to other healthy people.  Usually people who are in quarantine stay at home and avoid being around others.

How will contact tracing work in a school setting?

Your child's privacy and health are very important to us. If your student tests positive for COVID-19 please contact the school nurse, Wendy Walsh walsh@stmm.net or 919-657-4800 ext. 7246. After collecting the necessary information she will contact the Wake County Health Department directly.  The Wake County Health Department will then follow up with you and  ask you who your student has been around for more than 15 minutes from the date of the call minus two days (48 hours) before symptom development. These are the contacts potentially exposed to COVID-19 and would be notified of exposure by the Wake County Health Department. 

We will contact or be contacted by the Wake County Health Department for positive COVID-19 test/s and follow the guidance they give us. 

 

If my child tests positive, who in the school will find out? 

Your student's name will not be released by the health department or by the school to the public. The health department will notify the COVID-19 point person in your school, the school nurse or school administrator of the student's name to quickly identify exposure lists. St. Mary Magdalene takes your student's privacy and health information very seriously. The COVID-19 point person will be working closely with the Wake County Health Department to help maintain privacy of staff/students and to help maintain the health and safety of the school. 

How long does my child need to stay home if they tested positive for OR a doctor says they likely have COVID-19?

If your child has symptoms they should stay home and away from others as much as possible until

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, plus
  • At least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; plus
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) or improvement of other symptoms of COVID-19.

What if my child tested positive for COVID-19, but doesn’t show symptoms?

They should stay home 10 days after the day they were tested and keep away from other people as much as possible.  This is because even if they don’t have symptoms, they can still spread the virus. Your child may return to school 10 days after their first positive COVID-19 test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

What if my child has covid like symptoms but isn’t tested for COVID-19?

They should stay home, in isolation, until they are feeling better and all the following have happened:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, plus
  • At least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; plus
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) or improvement of other symptoms of COVID-19.

The school nurse sent my child home for a sore throat but it is not COVID-19.

We understand that the symptoms for COVID-19 are also the symptoms for many viral illnesses that children get throughout a school year. If you believe that their symptoms are because of another viral or bacterial condition we will require a doctor's note stating that their symptoms are non-COVID-19 related AND your student must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication with improving symptoms before returning to school. 

My child had a fever of 100.4 and was sent home. When can he return to school?

A student can return to school, following normal school policies, if they receive confirmation of an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider that would explain the COVID-19 like symptom(s), once there is no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines and they have felt well for 24 hours.

What is the procedure if my child becomes sick while at school?

If a person has symptoms of COVID-19 they will immediately be isolated and a parent will be notified to facilitate students getting home and to medical care safely.

Guidelines above for positive or negative COVID-19 results or alternative diagnosis will be followed. 

Ill staff or students will be placed in isolation. We have isolation tents with clear front covers to allow for separation should more than one student become ill at the same time. Students will  be visually monitored at all times until pickup.  The ill person must wear a mask until picked up - following CDC guidelines- cloth face coverings should not be place on:

  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
  • Anyone who cannot tolerate a cloth face covering due to development, medical or behavioral health needs.

What is a close contact?

Close contact with someone with COVID-19 makes you at higher risk for getting sick or spreading COVID-19.  Examples of close contact are being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period starting from 2 days before symptoms began (or, for asymptomatic individuals, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the individual is isolated.  

As of 7/9/21, CDC added an exception to the need to quarantine in the close contact definition, excluding students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or clinically compatible illness) where: • both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting face masks; and • other K–12 school prevention strategies (such as universal and correct mask use, physical distancing, increased ventilation) were in place in the K–12 school setting. • This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

What if my child is fully vaccinated and comes in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Fully vaccinated persons and persons who have tested positive in the last 3 months and do not have any symptoms after a close contact do not need to be quarantined. However, they should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask around others until receiving a negative test result. 

If there are other children in our home, who did not come in close contact should they stay home, too, or continue going to school?

No, your other children may continue to go to school.  If the child who was in close contact becomes symptomatic, then your other children should stay home until the symptomatic person is seen by a healthcare provider. 

 

What if we live with someone who has COVID-19?

People who live together usually have close contact with each other. If you can isolate the ill person away from other family members, the quarantine time for the persons exposed will start after the last known contact with the COVID-19 positive individual. 

Person can return to school after completing up to 14 days of quarantine. The 14 days of quarantine begin after the last known close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual. Alternatively the person may complete a 10-day quarantine if the person is not presenting symptoms of COVID-19 after daily at-home monitoring, or they may complete 7 days of quarantine if they report no symptoms during daily at-home monitoring, and the individual has received results of a negative antigen or PCR/molecular test on a test taken no earlier than day 5 of quarantine. Follow the recommendations of your local public health department if someone at your schools should quarantine. Local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last in the communities they serve, based on local conditions and needs. If quarantine is discontinued before day 14, the individual should continue to monitor symptoms and strictly adhere to all non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g.  

Why does my child have to wear a mask to school?

When people wear a mask correctly and consistently, they protect others as well as themselves.  Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and when physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

If you are carpooling with another family please wear masks in the car. 

What if my child has asthma, is it safe for them to wear a face mask? 

Currently, the CDC is recommending that all people over age 2 wear a cloth face covering when in public or when around people who don’t live in your household. While wearing a mask is safe for individuals with asthma and wearing a mask will not make asthma worse, some people feel like it’s more difficult to get a breath while wearing a mask.

There are different styles and fits for cloth face coverings or masks, so people with asthma and allergies should try different ones to see which ones make it easiest to breathe. Also, it is important to double check the materials (including straps) to make sure the mask or straps don’t contain any allergens. Straps, for example, may contain natural rubber latex, which could be an issue for someone with a latex allergy. For more information visit: https://allergyasthmanetwork.org/health-a-z/covid-19/covid-19-school-resources-for-managing-asthma-and-allergies/

What type of mask should my child wear to school?

Disposable face masks, masks that fit properly (snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face), masks with breathable fabric (such as cotton), masks with tightly woven fabric (fabrics that do not let light through when held up to a light source, masks with two or three layers, masks with inner filter pockets.

NO masks with exhalation valves, scarf/ski masks/neck gaiters. 

What should I do if I need to sneeze or cough when I’ve got my mask on? 

Even if wearing a mask, continue to sneeze and/or cough covering your mouth with your elbow, and change your mask as soon as you can.  Parents please make sure your child has 3 masks with them at all times.  If their mask becomes soiled it will be important for them to put on a new one.  Keep 2 paper bags or zip-lock bags in their backpacks,  one for clean face coverings and one for soiled face coverings.  Make sure all face coverings are labeled with your child's name.

My child has a sensitivity to hand sanitizer?

If your child has a sensitivity to hand sanitizer please share this information with their  teacher. If your child needs to use a particular brand of hand sanitizer, they should have a small container to keep in their classroom. 

Where can I find support around mental or behavioral health?

Disaster Distress Helpline

1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746. Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico can text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat in

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

National Child Abuse Hotline

1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

National Sexual Assault Hotline

1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat 

The Eldercare Locator

1-800-677-1116  TTY Instructions

Veteran’s Crisis Line

1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat

or text: 8388255

Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889

Treatment Services Locator Website 

Interactive Map of Selected Federally Qualified Health Centers