By ERIC X. VICCARO
The Ste. Genevieve R-II School District on Aug. 28 released the third version of its reopening plan.
Mainly two sections were updated, with new information on Page 10 under the heading for “communications for positive cases” and Page 11 covering essential employees.
“I want to share a heartfelt thank you to our community,” said superintendent Dr. Julie Flieg. “Your support during these first few weeks of school have helped make the beginning of a difficult year a little easier for our faculty, staff and students.”
On Aug. 29, one day after the latest version of the reopening plan was released, Ste. Genevieve Elementary School building principal Nanya Gegg sent out a text alert starting a student tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus).
COMMUNICATIONS FOR POSITIVE CASES
When the R-II district receives notification an individual in one of its buildings has been confirmed positive with COVID-19, the district will work with the Ste. Genevieve County Health Department to provide any communications.
The district will be sensitive with respect to the information disseminated, abiding by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) guidelines.
The health department has informed the district when a student or staff member is identified as a close contact to the COVID-19 case, notification will be given within a 24-hour period.
A close contact is defined as being within six feet of a person for 15 minutes or more.
When the district receives notification of a positive case in one of the schools, an email notification will be send from that building to its employees, parents and/or guardians of students attending that particular school.
An online text message sign-up form is available on the school website, www.sgdragons.org. The district has set up a COVID-19 update center.
These notifications will use the term “individual,” and the district will not identify whether the person is a staff member or student. The name won’t be released due to privacy requirements.
“I want to ask for our families’ continued patience and understanding as we move forward,” Flieg said. “We all know that contact tracing and notifications take time; the process is in place, but each new case will present new challenges in terms of procedure and detail.”
Flieg said the district will do its best to remain “transparent and communicative.”
“The safety of our students and staff is paramount,” Flieg added. “Our schools will continue to do all that we can to bolster the safety and well-being of our SG R-II family.”
In addition, new information was provided concerning what are called essential employees.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as declared the following employees as “essential critical infrastructure workers:”
• Workers who support the education of pre-schoolers and students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
• Workers who provide services necessary to support educators and students alike.
• Workers who support the transportation and operational needs of schools.
• Workers who support the administration of school systems.
• Educators and operational staff facilitating and supporting distance learning initiatives.
The district announced if an essential worker exposed to COVID-19 will be allowed to come into work so long as he or she remains asymptomatic. This decision was made in accordance with existing DHS guidelines.
However, if an essential worker is exposed to COVID-19 and begins to exhibit symptoms, he or she will not be allowed to come into work — or if the employee tests positive for coronavirus.
Essential workers who have been tested for COVID-19, and have been directed to quarantine, will not be allowed to come into work until released to do so by the health department.
When the positive case is a spouse, child or other person living in the essential worker’s home, then that employee will not be allowed to come into work.
Ste. Genevieve R-II Schoo