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Message From the Superintendent - August 21, 2020
Good afternoon,
 
We are excited to be welcoming back our students beginning Monday, August 24th. The Perry staff has worked very hard to ensure we are ready to provide an outstanding educational experience in a safe learning environment. Please continue to pay close attention to communications from your student’s school for specific information and important reminders.
 
Over the Summer, we invested in multiple measures to ensure the safety of our students and staff, including installing new equipment and structures. Many of these are detailed in our Perry Schools Responsible ReStart Plan and are also presented in our Responsible ReStart video, which features several, but not all, of our safety measures in place at Perry Local Schools.
 
We stand ready to respond to the constantly changing circumstances we are experiencing while managing work and life during a global pandemic. Our success in reopening schools is dependent on working collaboratively with our families to ensure everyone’s safety and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.      
 
It is critical that parents/guardians screen their child(ren) for symptoms, including taking their temperature, prior to sending them to school. Students not feeling well and/or with a temperature above 100 degrees need to be kept home.  Current recommendations from the CDC and local health department state that students may not return until they have been symptom free without medication for 24 hours.  The following guidance, including helpful links, comes directly from our local health department.
 
For general illness the CDC recommends staying home when sick until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine) or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating). Please see the information copied and pasted from the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/symptom-screening.html. The symptom screening provided for parents can be used when determining how long a child should be out of school for illness. 
 
SECTION 1: Symptoms 
Check if your child has any of the following symptoms that indicate a possible illness that may decrease the student’s ability to learn and also put them at risk for spreading illness to others. Please check your child for these symptoms: 
  • Temperature 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when taken by mouth 
  • Sore throat 
  • New, uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline) 
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain 
  • New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever 

SECTION 2: Close Contact/Potential Exposure 
  • Had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with a person with confirmed COVID-19 
  • Traveled to or lived in an area where the local, Tribal, territorial, or state health department is reporting large numbers of COVID-19 cases as described in the Community Mitigation Framework 
  • Live in areas of high community transmission (as described in the Community Mitigation Framework) while the school remains open 

Return-to-School Policies 
If the student/parent/caregiver answers YES to any question in Section 1, but NO to any questions in Section 2, the student would be excused from school in accordance with existing school illness management policy (e.g., until symptom-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications).
 
 
If the student or parent or caregiver answers YES to any question in Section 1 and YES to any question in Section 2, the student should be referred for evaluation by their healthcare provider and possible testing. CDC strongly encourages local health departments to work with local school systems to develop a strategy to refer symptomatic individuals to an appropriate healthcare provider or testing site. State, Tribal, territorial, and local health officials and/or healthcare providers will determine when viral testing for SARS-CoV-2 is appropriate. Schools should not require testing results as a part of return to school policies. Students who have received a negative test result should be allowed to return to school once their symptoms have otherwise improved in accordance with existing school illness management policies. 
 
Students diagnosed with COVID-19 or who answer YES to any question in Section 1 and YES to any question in Section 2 without negative test results should stay home, isolate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. Students and their families should be advised that the local health department may contact the family for contact tracing. If contacted, families should notify the contract tracer that the student attended school. 
 
Students diagnosed with COVID-19 or who answer YES to any component of Section 1 AND YES to any component of Section 2 without negative test results should be permitted to return to school should be in line with current CDC recommendations in “When Can I Be Around Others”. A negative test or doctor’s note should not be required for return. Questions regarding return to school should be jointly decided in consultation with parents or caregivers, school personnel, and the student’s healthcare provider. 

Students who are excluded from school should be afforded the opportunity, as soon as feasible when they are well enough to participate in classwork, to make up any missed classwork without penalty in order to reduce mental or physical anxieties about missed academic opportunities. 

I hope you find the above current guidance from our local health department useful.  I cannot stress enough that protocols may change based on levels of risk in the area.  The safety of our students and staff is our first priority. A quality education cannot happen without a safe environment that is conducive to learning. We will strive to ensure that every one of our students receives the best educational opportunities we can offer. As we go through this process, we invite you to share your questions and concerns with your building principal. You can also contact Mrs. McKoon, our school nurse, for health-related questions.  
 
We look forward to welcoming back our students for a safe and productive school year.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Jack Thompson
Superintendent, Perry Local Schools