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Contact Tracing in Schools

(para traducir esta página al español, haga clic en "Traducir" en el parte superior de este página)

(CLICK HERE for COVID-19 Vaccinations)
(CLICK HERE for COVID-19 Testing)
(CLICK HERE for COVID-19 FAQs for Families)
(CLICK HERE for COVID-19 Contact Tracing information)
(CLICK HERE for COVID-19 risk mitigation information)
(CLICK HERE for COVID-19 Tracking)
(CLICK HERE for Quarantine Academic Support)


>>CLICK HERE for PDF of the RCPS
Contact Tracing in Schools presentation.











COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Mask Update

Presentation by

Cindy Ball
Chief of Strategy and Innovation
January 13, 2022

Terminology – Know What it Means
Quarantine –  those identified as a close contact must be excluded from school and all school related activities until they meet DPH’s “Return to School Guidance After COVID-19 Illness or Exposure”.
Isolation – 1. keeping separated from others. 2. A Confirmed Case must isolate a minimum of 10 days from onset of symptoms.
Confirmed Case – one who has received a positive COVID-19 test result.
Suspected Case – one who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but has not tested.
Exposure – cumulative 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of a Confirmed Case, regardless of wearing a mask – within 48 hours of onset of symptoms of Confirmed Case or test date if Confirmed Case is asymptomatic.
Close Contact – a person who has spent a cumulative 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of a Confirmed Case, regardless of wearing a mask.
Contact Tracing – identifying Close Contacts of a Confirmed or Suspected Case.
Symptomatic – a person experiencing symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19.
Asymptomatic – a person who has no symptoms.
DPH  – Department of Public Health.

More Terminology – Know What it Means
Primary Series – (sometimes called the initial series) is the vaccine series of two doses for Pfizer or Moderna and one dose for Johnson and Johnson.
Boosted – means a person has completed the primary series of vaccine and a third dose for Pfizer or Moderna and second dose for Johnson and Johnson (the booster does not have to be the same as the primary series).
Fully vaccinated and Up-to-date – one who has received the primary series and if eligible, has received the booster.
 Currently Boosters are recommended:
5 months after the completion of the primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 12 and older,
5 months after the completion of the primary series of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 18 and older,
2 months (8 weeks) after primary dose of J&J COVID-19 vaccine.


What is Contact Tracing?
Contact Tracing is  identifying Close Contacts of those with confirmed COVID-19 and notifying them of their exposure.

Tracing starts at 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms of the Confirmed Case or the date of the positive test if asymptomatic. DPH requires schools and businesses to do contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the virus.


Close Contacts...
Are those who have spent a cumulative 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of a person with confirmed COVID, regardless of wearing a mask

This has not changed!


Confirmed Cases Must Isolate
Those with COVID-19 (Confirmed Case) must  isolate themselves from others for a minimum of 10 days.
If the Confirmed Case is symptomatic, they must isolate at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms.  If asymptomatic, they must isolate at least 10 days from the date of the positive test. ****

****CDC has changed this recommendation for some cases. RCPS will follow the 10-day isolation for all confirmed cases until further notice.  

NEW: Quarantine Requirements for Student and Staff Close Contacts
1. Unvaccinated Close Contacts  must quarantine for 10 days if the close contact does not have any symptoms and does not take a test for COVID-19. Earliest return is day 11.
2. Unvaccinated Close Contacts may reduce the quarantine period to 7 days if the close contact does not have any symptoms AND tests negative on quarantine day 5 or later.  Earliest return is Day 8.
3. Ages 18 and older Vaccinated but not Boosted if eligible – must follow the quarantine guidance for unvaccinated close contacts. This includes people 18+ who have completed their primary series of Pfizer or Moderna more than 5 months ago and J&J more than 2 months ago and are eligible for a Booster but have not received it.


NEW: Quarantine Requirements for Student and Staff Close Contacts
The following groups DO NOT have to quarantine if they are identified as a Close Contact but must immediately isolate if symptoms develop:
1. Ages 18 and older who are Vaccinated and Boosted when eligible.
2. Ages 18 and older who completed their primary series more than two weeks ago, but less than 5 months ago for Pfizer and Moderna and less than two months ago for J&J since they are not yet eligible for the Booster.
3. Ages 5-17 years old who have completed primary series of vaccine at least two weeks prior  (initial series is two doses of Pfizer for this age group).
4. Any Close Contact with a positive Antigen or PCR test in last 90 days.


Communicating with Parents About an Exposure
(this letter has been revised in English and Spanish)
(Image of form letter that says "Parent chose option blank on date blank. Dear Parent/Guardian of (student name), (School name) considers the health and well-being of our students, teachers and staff to be of the utmost importance. RCPS will continue with Contact Tracing using revised quarantine options for Close Contacts as indicated below. A Close Contact includes being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more OR having direct contact with secretions from a person with COVID-19 (e.g. being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils or water bottles, etc.). As a result, your child is at risk of infection beginning 2-10 days after exposure. Your child was identified as a close contact to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. To our knowledge, the last date of exposure was (date). Option 1: Quarantine. Unvaccinated Close Contacts must quarantine for 10 days if the close contact does not have any symptoms and does not take a test for COVID-19. Continue to monitor for symptoms through day 10. Earliest no test return is on Day 11 (date). Option 2: Reduced Quarantine Time. Unvaccinated Close Contacts may reduce the quarantine period to 7 days if the close contact does not have any symptoms AND tests negative on quarantine day 5 or later. Continue to monitor for symptoms through day 10. Earliest test date for day 5 is (date). If negative, the earliest return date is Day 8 (date). Students age 18 and older who are Vaccinated but not Boosted when eligible - must follow the quarantine guidance for unvaccinated close contacts listed above. Option 3: The following groups do not have to quarantine but must monitor symptoms for 10 days: A. Students ages 18 and older who are vaccinated and boosted when eligible; or B. Students age 18 and older who completed the primary series more than two weeks ago but are not yet eligible for a booster; or C. Students ages 5-17 years old who have completed the initial series of vaccine at least two weeks prior (initial series is two doses of Pfizer for this age group); or D. Students who have had a positive Antigen or PCR COVID-19 test in the last 90 days. *RCPS requires masks indoors. DPH guidance recommends always wearing a mask around others for 10 days from the last day of exposure. While in Quarantine - your child should quarantine at home, except in case of emergency or to be tested for COVID-19, until he/she completes the quarantine time listed above. He/she should not attend school or extracurriculars. Check for temperatures and symptoms. Twice a day check your child's temperature and assess him/her for the below COVID-19 symptoms using the following checklist: fever or chills, new cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new severe/bad headache, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, sore throat, fatigue, diarrhea. Get tested, alert the school. It is recommended your child get tested for COVID-19 at least once during their quarantine period. If your child has no symptoms, the test should take place no earlier than the 5th day of quarantine. If your child develops symptoms the test should be obtained earlier. Alert the school immediately if your child develops COVID-19 symptoms. Depending on when your child developed symptoms, his /her last day in school, additional contact tracing may need to be done by the school. (School name) and the Gwinnett, Rockdale, Newton (GNR) Health Departments will continue to work together to monitor the situation. If you have any questions, please contact (Contact tracer name, phone/email).)


Reporting Individual Cases to Public Health
We are still required to report known positive cases of COVID-19 and close contacts to public health.
(Image of form for Gwinnett Newton Rockdale County Health Departments COVID-19 CASE REPORT FORM (School/Childcare) with fields such as "School Information" "Date of Report" "Student/Staff Information" "Test Information" and more.)


Suspected Case
Clinic staff have been given instructions on how to identify students who present to the clinic not feeling well as a “Suspected Case” or not.  We know that other illnesses have not gone away since COVID arrived.  However, there are symptoms that are consistent with COVID that may classify a student or staff member as a  Suspected Case.

Clinic staff will send home information about COVID with the child being sent home which will include a recommendation to have the child tested.  Clinic Staff will notify Contact Tracers of Suspected Cases.  Contact Tracers will follow up with the parent.  The Clinic letter has been revised.


Returning to School
(Image says "Returning to school. A child (who has tested positive with symptoms) can return to school when a family member can ensure that they can answer YES to ALL three questions: Has it been at least 10 days since the child first had symptoms? Has it been at least 24 hours since the child had a fever without fever reducing medicine? Has it been at least 24 hours since the child's symptoms have improved, including cough and shortness of breath? If a child (with symptoms) has had a negative COVID-19 test, they can return to school once there is no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines and they have felt well for 24 hours.")


Keeping the Community Informed
Weekly dashboard on district website – updated every Friday.

School Name
#of New Confirmed Student Cases
# of New Confirmed Staff Cases
#of New Students Quarantined due to Exposure
#of New Staff Quarantined due to Exposure



Updated information on Masks, RCPS Continues to Require Masks Indoors
New information surrounding the effectiveness of masks, particularly with the Omicron variant, have been discussed -  CDC is not updating guidance for wearing masks at this time.
The discussion has been centered around N95 and KN95 masks providing the highest level of protection followed by surgical masks, with cloth masks and “gaiters” providing the least amount of protection.
RCPS encourages all students and staff to wear a well-fitting, effective mask while indoors.  
RCPS has a large inventory of KN95 masks and will make them available for students and staff.
A properly fitting mask is most important.

Closing slide
KEEP CALM and wear a well-fitted, effective mask, wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart!