Close Contacts & Positive Test Responses

What happens when a teacher, staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19 or a teacher or student has had potential exposure?

Step 1: School officials notified; parents and staff take required action to protect school community

If symptoms are first experienced during the school day

  • Students who experience COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home by their school nurse. Students will be cared for away from other students until a designated adult is able to pick them up from school.

  • Staff members will leave school immediately and report their symptoms to Human Resources.

  • Students, staff and affiliated household members are encouraged to get free COVID-19 saliva testing through a District arrangement with Washington University. Call 314-454-4269 to make a quick appointment.

If symptoms are first experienced at home

  • Both staff and student guardians should immediately contact their health care provider.

  • Parents should call to their child's school nurse

  • Staff must contact the HR Department.

  • Students, staff and affiliated household members are encouraged to get free COVID-19 saliva testing through a District arrangement with Washington University. Call 314-454-4269 to make a quick appointment.

If a positive case is confirmed by testing

  • Students diagnosed with COVID-19 or students with a household member diagnosed with COVID-19 must stay at home and must notify their school nurse of their positive test.

  • Staff diagnosed with COVID-19 or staff with a household member diagnosed with COVID-19 must tay at home and must notify the HR Department of their positive test.

  • Parents of students and District staff will be notified of the date they may return to school buildings.

  • Students and staff who have had exposure with a person outside of the District confirmed to have COVID-19 will take the following mandatory steps:

    • Parent/guardians will contact their school nurse.

    • Staff will contact the HR Department.

    • Parents and Staff will contact their primary health provider to discuss the situation and follow the provider’s recommendations.

    • Parents/guardians will report any test outcomes to their school nurse.

    • Staff will report any test outcomes to the HR Department.

Step 2: Out-of-school requirements begin

For students or staff confirmed to have an active COVID-19 or in a household with a confirmed case.

  • Students and/or staff will stay separated from school buildings or school events for a mandatory number of days depending on symptom onset/date of close contact.

  • All student and staff cases will be reported and tracked by the the District with non-identifying information on a District COVID-19 Dashboard.

  • School principals and/or teachers will contact their students regarding learning through virtual-only instruction.

  • Staff will work from home and will be handled-on a case-by-case in consultation with the HR department.

Step 3: Contact tracing begins

  • U. City staff members at each school trained in contact tracing are notified and contact tracing begins to identify: student and teacher classes, seating arrangements, the active time of engagement between particular students and staff, immunization status, etc.

  • The contact tracing team works with Washington University health partners.

  • Close contact is evaluated on a variety of factors, but particularly takes into account whether a people were within 6-foot proximity for at least 15 minutes over the span of a day, immunization status, and whether masks were worn correctly or incorrectly.

  • School contact tracers work with parents, staff, the health department, school administrators, human resources to provide communication and guidance to impacted students and staff letting them know what steps they need to take and the potential need to isolate, quarantine, etc.

  • Students and staff fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and determined to be a close contact to an active case do not have to quarantine unless they begin to feel symptoms.

  • Students and staff not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and determined to be a close contact to an active case must quarantine to school guidelines.

Step 4: Impact on school determined

  • U. City administrators, working with St. Louis County Department of Health officials and Washington University physicians, determine whether the impacted students will need to quarantine at home or if a school will need to close.

  • Local health officials’ recommendations for the scope (e.g., a single school, multiple schools, the full district) and duration of school closures will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community.

Step 5: Keep learning going

  • During any quarantine or school closing, instruction will continue for the impacted students or school(s) and staff and teachers will communicate with families and students accordingly.

Step 6: Communicate with the community

  • The District will communicate directly with families and staff about positive cases and quarantine among students and staff in its schools. This communication includes:

    • Immediate nurse or principal phone calls to staff and students who must quarantine due to close contact.

    • Follow up email letters from the school principal to guardians of students who must quarantine.

    • Letters to all parents and staff of any school that has a newly identified active case.

  • The District will maintain a publicly accessible COVID-19 dashboard that includes statistics on active cases and quarantines for both students and staff.

  • The District will send emails every morning a child is scheduled in school informing parents of the number of active cases and quarantines by school building as well as remind parents to screen their children and household members for COVID-19 symptoms prior to sending them to school.

  • Due to laws protecting student and staff privacy, no identifying information about the student or staff member who tested positive will be released to the public. Students or staff who are identified as having been in close contact (as defined by the CDC) with the individual will be notified as part of the contact tracing process and instructed on what steps to take.

Step 7: Impacted facilities deep-cleaned.

  • Impacted schools or specific areas impacted by a positive case of COVID-19 will be thoroughly cleaned by U. City staff or an outside cleaning company, depending on the situation.

The District recommends that all students, staff and household members eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, get the vaccine. The District will hold vaccine clinics throughout the year.

Free COVID-19 saliva testing is available through the school year to all students, staff and affiliated household members. Call 314-454-4269. For a complete list of drive-through testing locations, click here.

To read our full 2021 Return to School Planning Guide, click here.