The PCWS COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan for 2022-2023 reflects the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
PCWS supports COVID-19 prevention measures that are tied to community COVID-19 levels. At this time, COVID-19 community levels in Alexandria, VA are “low.” See COVID-19 community levels in the U.S. by county. The PCWS plan may be adjusted according to shifts in the pandemic, including possible changes in COVID-19 community levels.
Stay home if sick - If a student or staff member becomes sick at home, they should stay home until their symptoms resolve and they have NOT had a fever for at least 24 hours. (See below for steps to take if symptoms of COVID-19 arise.)
Face Masks – Face masks are optional except when returning to school after isolation or exposure (see below). Any person who wishes to wear a mask should be supported to do so.
Ventilation and Hygiene – PCWS will continue to prioritize ventilation, (including safely opening windows and doors and using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters), proper hand washing, and maintaining a clean school environment
Response Measures: Guidance for Isolation and Quarantine
If symptomatic, students or staff should begin isolation at home and undergo testing if recommended by a healthcare provider. Day “0” is the day when symptoms begin.
5-Day Isolation: Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate for at least 5 days. If they are asymptomatic or symptoms resolve AND they have been fever-free for 24 hours, they may return to school after Day 5.
After 5-Day Isolation
If they can mask, they should do so through Day 10. (Note: if they plan to mask, testing is not required to determine the end date of isolation). If unable or unwilling to mask, they should:
1. Isolate for 10 days, or
2. Follow CDC’s “test-based strategy:”
- 2 negative antigen tests after 5 days of isolation (the first on Day 6; the second test 48 hours after the first test),
- AND, they should be free from fever for 24 hours
- AND with other symptoms resolved.
NOTE: Parents/guardians of the COVID-positive child and COVID-positive PCWS staff should inform the PCWS COVID Committee PRIOR to a return to school by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. In the event of a recent, confirmed or suspected exposure to an infected person, (understanding exposure risks), regardless of vaccination status:
a. Quarantine is no longer recommended for asymptomatic K-12 students or staff after exposure to COVID-19 infected people. Such students/staff may continue to attend programming as long as they remain asymptomatic.
b. PCWS asks that parents/guardians of the exposed child and PCWS staff inform the PCWS COVID Committee PRIOR to a return to school by email at email@example.com
c. Masks – COVID-19-exposed students/staff should wear a mask – indoors -- during 10 days after exposure. (Date of last COVID exposure=Day “O”).
d. Testing – Persons exposed MAY consider testing for COVID-19 five (5) days after exposure (or sooner if they are symptomatic), irrespective of vaccination status.
e. Test-to-stay (screening testing) is no longer routinely recommended.
5. Vaccination - PCWS recommends vaccination as an important prevention measure for students and staff. Information about how to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is available from the CDC; from the Virginia Department of Health; and from Alexandria Health Department.
6. Outbreaks - PCWS will work with AHD and/or VDH professionals to determine next steps in the event of a school-wide outbreak of COVID-19. In such a case, more traditional measures such as quarantine and isolation may be applied.
7. Other infectious diseases - In the event of other illnesses, PCWS still asks that parents keep sick children at home until their symptoms resolve AND they are fever free for at least 24 hours. Review information from the VDH about infectious disease prevention, vaccination and care for children and detailed information about Monkeypox and K-12 schools.
The PCWS COVID-19 Committee welcomes questions from the PCWS community.