December 4, 2020 // 4 de diciembre de 2020
Dear Waco ISD Employees,
This week, the CDC released two options to reduce the quarantine period for people who have been identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. These allow someone who was identified as a close contact to end their quarantine after Day 10 as long as they do not have any symptoms that could be a sign of COVID-19 or after Day 7 as long as they do not have any symptoms and they test negative for COVID-19. You can find detailed background on these options on the CDC's website. Both the Texas Education Agency and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District have now incorporated these options into their guidance for school districts.
Here is how Waco ISD will apply these options when employees are identified as close contacts:
Starting Monday, employees who have completed 10 days of their quarantine period will be able to return to work the next day (i.e., on day 11) provided that they do not have any symptoms that could be a sign of COVID-19 and were not re-exposed to the virus during their quarantine period. Employees who have completed at least 10 days of their quarantine period do not have to take a COVID-19 test before returning to work. If you are currently quarantined, and your return to work date was Dec. 8-11, this means that your new return to work date is Dec. 7.
Also starting Monday, employees who have completed at least 7 days but less than 10 days of their quarantine period can opt to take a COVID-19 rapid test administered by the district's health services department or their campus nurse and may return to work on day 8 if the test is negative, they do not have any symptoms that could be a sign of COVID-19 and they were not re-exposed to the virus during their quarantine period. The test must be taken on either day 7 or day 8 of the employee's quarantine period (i.e., either the day before the employee might return to work or before reporting to work on day 8).
The health services department is conducting drive-through rapid testing at the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy (7200 Viking Drive) from 3 to 5 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday. This testing is open to all Waco ISD employees and students. (Students must be accompanied by a parent.) To get tested during one of these times, pull into the small lot on the right side of the building. Stay in your vehicle, and a member of the health services team will come out to your vehicle to administer the test. Please bring your driver's license with you.
At their discretion, campus nurses can also administer tests for employees who wish to return after 7 days. However, please keep in mind that our nurses primary responsibility is to care for students, and they may not be able to administer tests for employees immediately before or during the school day - especially with the additional workload brought on by the pandemic.
If you are currently quarantined, and your return to work date was Dec. 14, this means that you can return to work on Dec. 7 with a negative COVID-19 test. The health services department will be hosting drive-through testing for these employees (and only these employees) from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy. Please follow the directions above to take advantage of this testing opportunity.
This infographic provides a visual of these two quarantine options.
At this time, students who are identified as close contacts will continue to be instructed to quarantine for 14 days following their last contact with someone who tested positive. We will closely monitor the reduced quarantine periods for employees and make a decision about any changes to student quarantine periods before we return from winter break.
Based on the information provided by the CDC, we believe that these options will allow us to reduce the quarantine period for employees while still limiting the potential for the virus to spread on our campuses and in other district facilities. Of course, it also remains vitally important to stay home if you feel sick, wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and maintain distance between yourself and other people.
Chief of Staff
Waco Independent School District