Santa Rosa County School District revises COVID-19 guidelines for 2021-2022

Special to the Press Gazette / USA TODAY NETWORK

MILTON — After careful consideration and collaboration with the public health officials, Santa Rosa County School District officials have revised the COVID-19 guidelines for the 21-22 school year.

The Santa Rosa County school system is revising its guidelines for the coming school year due to the COVID-19 virus.

Student health and safety continues to be a top priority for Santa Rosa County District Schools as they return to normal school operations.

"We have unfortunately seen a learning loss in our students who have been disconnected from our schools in the past 16 months, so keeping as many students in school for face-to-face instruction as safely possible is critical for their academic growth and overall mental health," said Dr. Karen Barber, school superintendent. "We will continue to work hand-in-hand with our local public health officials at the Florida Department of Health to determine the prevention strategies needed by monitoring the levels of community and school transmission, and will adjust our policies and procedures as necessary to protect our children and staff."

The school district has created a pathway for students without symptoms to stay in school, whether vaccinated or not, with certain safeguards in place.

The current revised guidelines state:

VACCINATED Students Who Are In Close Contact With a Positive Case

Asymptomatic students who are vaccinated or in their 90-day immunity period will not have to quarantine, only monitor for symptoms.  

Symptomatic students who have been in close contact should quarantine and may return following these guidelines: 

  • The earliest a student can be tested is day five.
  • With negative rapid antigen or PCR test, return to school no earlier than day eight, monitor for symptoms, recommend practicing mitigation (mask, social distancing) through day 14.
  • Without testing, return to school no earlier than day 11, recommend practicing mitigation (mask, social distancing) through day 14.

NON-VACCINATED Students Who Are in Close Contact With a Positive Case

Asymptomatic students who have been in close contact and who are not vaccinated may remain in school under these guidelines:

  • For days one through seven, highly recommend mask use (two-ply, no bandanas or gaiters), screen daily for symptoms and recommend social distancing if feasible
  • For days eight through 14, recommend monitoring for symptoms and practicing mitigation (mask, social distancing) 

Symptomatic students who have been in close contact with a positive case and are not vaccinated should quarantine: 

  • The earliest a student can be tested is day five.
  • With negative rapid antigen or PCR test, return to school no earlier than day eight, monitor for symptoms, recommend practicing mitigation (mask, social distancing) through day 14
  • Without testing, return to school no earlier than day 11, recommend practicing mitigation (mask, social distancing) through day 14

SYMPTOMATIC Students Regardless of Contact With a Positive Case

  • Students with multiple COVID-like symptoms (fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of taste or smell) will be sent to the school clinic, socially distanced and offered a mask. 
  • Parents will then be contacted to determine if symptoms are due to a pre-existing condition. If not, the parent will be required to pick up the student. 
  • Students will be able to return to school once they are symptom-free without medication for 24 hours. 
  • Exception: If the student experiences a new loss of taste or smell, parents should contact their healthcare provider and follow the Florida Department of Health guidance for isolation.

COVID-19 home exposure

If there is a positive case at home, parents should follow the guidance of the Florida Department of Health regarding quarantine protocol. 

Additional Information

  • Contact tracing will occur as required by the Florida Department of Health.
  • Students who are quarantined will be able to make up their schoolwork.
  • Absences due to quarantine or     -19 symptoms be excused.
  • The school district plans to allow normal school activities such as field trips to resume. Athletic events and extracurricular activities such as band and choral concerts will occur without limits on seating capacity.
  • Parents will be able to return to schools as volunteers. 
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom, on buses and other shared areas. Each classroom will also have disinfecting wipes.
  • Classrooms and buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Water bottle filling stations will be available in schools.
  • Air purifiers be used in large open spaces like libraries and cafeterias.
  • Masks will be optional in schools and on buses. Masks will be available for students who would like one.
  • Signs will be displayed to remind students of social distancing and the use of hand sanitizers and hand washing.

For full details and a question and answer on COVID-19 protocols, visit the Santa Rosa County District Schools COVID-19 guidelines at www.santarosa.k12.fl.us.