Coronavirus Information for Families

  • Coronavirus Updates for Families

    Updates for March 11, 2022

    Columbia Public Schools continues to monitor COVID-19 in our community.  Recently, the CDC released revisions to its current mitigation strategies for individuals exposed to COVID-19.  Additionally, cases in our community continue to decline.  This is extremely encouraging and allows the district to continue to move forward with additional modifications to mitigation strategies.

    Beginning, Monday, March 14, Columbia Public Schools will implement changes to its contact tracing and exposure protocols. 

    Students who have been exposed and remain asymptomatic will no longer need to wear a mask or observe social distancing during lunch. The district will continue to notify families if their student has been exposed. Families should continue to monitor their exposed student for symptoms and follow the screening guidance outlined in the plan.   

    Symptomatic or COVID-positive individuals will need to continue to follow the protocols regarding returning to school following illness. 

    We have updated the Columbia Public Schools’ Coronavirus Plan to reflect these changes.

    Those who wish to wear a mask may continue to do so and masks will continue to be available for anyone who needs one. 

    Updates for January 13, 2022

    Our Columbia community is seeing sharp increases in the number of positive cases. Similarly, our schools are seeing increases in scholar and staff positive cases. Today, January 13, we have 57 staff positives and 325 student positives. Daily student absence rates have continued to increase since our return from winter break. For the last week, our districtwide student absences have been steady at approximately 20 percent of students absent each day. We are experiencing short-term staffing challenges as employees are also impacted by the virus.

    The district continues to receive daily information from health and medical experts, including virologists studying Columbia’s wastewater as part of the Coronavirus Sewershed Surveillance Project. Since the beginning of the pandemic, wastewater data has been a reliable predictor of the arrival and peaks of COVID variants. Current projections indicate, we have two to three weeks to manage and mitigate the Omicron variant before the virus peaks and we begin to see a decline in cases.

    As a result, Columbia Public Schools is implementing several intervention strategies across the district in order to keep our scholars learning in school.

    1. A temporary mask intervention will be in place starting Tuesday, January 18 through Friday, February 4. Monday, January 17 is a holiday and school is not in session. This means for the next 14 school days, while we experience the Omicron spike, masks must be worn inside all school and district buildings. Under federal guidelines, masks are also required on school buses. Schools will continue to have masks available for those who need them.
    2. We are asking families to help reduce the amount of contact tracing required due to exposure. Please complete the morning self-checks (linked) with your scholar prior to sending them to school each day. If your child has any of the symptoms on the checklist, please keep them home. With the current community spread and exposure, you should review your scholar’s symptoms daily as though they have been exposed. Additionally, please stay home if you have a pending COVID test until you receive the results.

    The Board of Education will consider formal adoption of emergency interventions and revisions to the district’s COVID response plan on January 20 at its regular work session meeting.

    Since March 2020, Columbia Public Schools and districts across the country have been in a constant COVID response state. Throughout that time our employees have remained dedicated and caring as they have worked to implement mitigation strategies, support scholars and families and navigate managing a global pandemic. This is not an easy task, nor is it an easy ask of our school-community. Everything we are doing is with the goal of keeping our scholars learning in school.

    Updates for January 4, 2022

    On January 4, 2022, Columbia Public Schools will welcome back our scholars from winter break. 

    As communicated with staff and families on December 13, the Board of Education voted to no longer require all students or staff to mask in district buildings or at district events. Per federal regulation, masks are still required on school buses. 

     

    Masks are still strongly encouraged as an additional layer of protection for all scholars and staff. Masks will continue to be available for those who need them. Additionally, the district’s updated 2021-22 Coronavirus Plan (linked) includes the possible implementation of temporary masking at the classroom, building, or district levels to prevent further spread should COVID-19 exposure necessitate a change in mitigation strategies.

     

    The district’s contact tracing and quarantine protocols have also changed to reflect the board’s vote and current CDC guidance. Those who are COVID positive or symptomatic will need to stay home. Additional information on exposure, quarantine and testing procedures can be found in the updated 2021-22 Coronavirus Plan document (linked).

    A summary of the changes include:
    If You Test Positive for COVID-19
    Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

    • Stay home for 5 days. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever is resolved for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
    • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are improving and you are fever-free without medication after 5 days, you can return to work or school. 
    • Students and staff will eat lunch at separate tables at least six feet away from peers and coworkers through day 10. 
    • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others through day 10.

    If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19: 

    • Wear a well-fitted mask at all times around others for 10 days.
    • Students and staff will eat lunch at separate tables at least six feet away from peers and coworkers through day 10. 
    • Get a PCR or rapid antigen test on day 5. If you develop symptoms get a PCR or rapid antigen test as soon as symptoms develop and stay home.

     

    The district continues to encourage all those who are eligible to get vaccinated and will continue with its school-based COVID vaccination clinics. Additionally, families may also choose to access the vaccine through outside providers. More information on vaccine availability: CPS Vaccine Clinic Information (linked) | Community Vaccine Provider (linked)

     

    As we have said since the beginning of the pandemic and as outlined in the district’s COVID Safe Return Plans (linked), the Board and the district will continue to monitor COVID in our community and will make changes to mitigation strategies if necessary. 

    Additionally, all families should continue to complete the Morning Checklist daily (linked).

    Morning Checklist Image

    You can also download a .pdf version (linked).  If your student is sick, please have the child stay home. If your child or someone in your home currently has COVID-19, please stay home and call your child’s school for next steps.