What You Need to Know-Week of September 7th

The most important weekly updates for you to keep your community healthy




In this Update:

1. Pandemic Preparedness: What to do if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19

2. COVID-19 and Kids: Staying safe in school

3. COVID-19 and Kids: How can teachers and staff reduce COVID-19 risk in schools




1. Pandemic Preparedness: What to do if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19!



Labor Day weekend is now just behind us, and with all of the swimming, barbecues, camping and picnics that go along with this end-of-summer holiday comes increased risk for potential exposure to COVID-19. Even if you were staying physically distanced, while also socializing and enjoying yourself, you may be wondering what to do if you find out that someone in your group had COVID-19 but was not showing any symptoms and did not know. Are you a teacher or a student returning to school right now? (If you are, see the articles below in this Update for a lot more guidance!)  Are you participating in or coaching a summer sports or youth activity program? Are you experiencing a sore throat and cough, and are wondering if you have allergies, the flu, or if you should seriously consider self-quarantining just in case? 

Even with daily safety precautions, it is possible to be exposed to COVID-19 so it is a good idea to plan ahead, just in case:

Confirmed Exposure, but feeling healthy:Confirmed Exposure, but feeling symptoms:Confirmed Exposure within your household:
A confirmed exposure means that someone you have recently had close contact with (closer than 6 feet for 15 or more minutes or were within a small enclosed location (like a car, room, etc.) for longer durations of time, regardless of mask wearing) tested positive for COVID-19 or had COVID-19 symptoms.A confirmed exposure means that someone you have recently had close contact with (closer than 6 feet for 15 or more minutes or were within a small enclosed location (like a car, room, etc.) for longer durations of time, regardless of mask wearing) tested positive for COVID-19 or had COVID-19 symptoms.A confirmed exposure means that someone you have recently had close contact with (closer than 6 feet for 15 or more minutes or were within a small enclosed location (like a car, room, etc.) for longer durations of time, regardless of mask wearing) tested positive for COVID-19 or had COVID-19 symptoms.
If it has been confirmed that you have been exposed to COVID-19 but you are still feeling healthy:

You will need to self-quarantine (stay at home and avoid contact with people) for 14 days.

To maximize your chance of an accurate test, wait to get tested until 5-7 days after your known exposure, or if you begin showing symptoms. 

Notify any individuals that you have had close contact with of their possible exposure.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms during your self-quarantine:
You will need to self-isolate to protect others from the virus. 

You may come out of self-isolation 10 days after your symptoms first appeared AND you’ve had no fever for 24 hours AND if your symptoms are improving. 

If you have symptoms, a virus (diagnostic/ PCR) test will be the most accurate.

Notify any individuals that you have had close contact with two days before you began feeling sick.

Answer the phone when the contact tracers call to allow them to identify and contact other people who may have been exposed (keep in mind contact tracing is completely confidential). 

If the person with COVID-19 is in your household:

The sick individual(s) will need to self-isolate 
You will still need to self-quarantine for 14 days starting from the day that the sick individuals developed symptoms or tested positive for the virus. 

Make sure the sick individual wears a mask as much as possible during their illness, has their own sleeping space with a door if possible, uses their own bathroom if possible. 

Consider opening the windows at least at night when it is cool to allow fresh air into the home.

If you are re-exposed during the household members illness, for example if you sleep in the same room, care for them without PPE (a KN95 mask, etc.), or share utensils, your 14 days must restart from the most recent exposure.

You should avoid all close contact with the sick person until after they have been isolated for 10 days since their symptoms began or since their positive test, or they are cleared by their doctor to come out of self-isolation.

Whether you have been exposed or not, there are some things you can do to prepare your household and yourselves in advance:

In addition to preparing your household, your active participation is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you have been exposed, it can be days before you find out if you are infected or begin showing symptoms. During this critical period, you may have come into contact with dozens of people. Make a list of people you might have come into contact with, and if possible, reach out to those people to let them know they may need to self-quarantine if you test positive or start showing signs of illness. This has an added benefit: if you receive a positive test and are contacted by a contact tracer, you will have already prepared the information they will ask you for! To learn more about contact tracing: 

Additional Resources on recognizing COVID-19

Additional Resources on reducing risk of COVID-19


2. COVID-19 and Kids: Staying safe in school


This year, heading back to school looks different for everyone. For those of you who are already back at school or are planning to head back to school in the future, here are some good tips and guidance to follow:

BEFORE ARRIVING AT SCHOOL

✓ PRACTICE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AT HOME

Practicing precautions with children at home can be a great way to ensure they are prepared. Precautions to practice may include: wearing a cloth face covering, following physical distancing, keeping hands to themselves, avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth, and avoiding sharing food, supplies, or toys with other students. It may also be important to discuss topics of peer pressure regarding these precautions.
For more information about family conversations about COVID-19 and practicing precautions, visit this link.

✓ WATCH FOR COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
Look out for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and a rare complication: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. 

✓ CHILDREN SHOULD STAY HOME IF:
If anyone in the household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or has a confirmed infection with or without symptoms, have your child stay home from school until:
The person receives a negative diagnostic test result
Or for 10 days after the person began showing symptoms and 24 hours after resolution of fever

If your child has had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they have been in the same classroom with someone who has COVID-19.

If your child is experiencing new onset of symptoms of illness, particularly fever. Remember that COVID-19 can present differently in children than in adults, more children present with diarrhea. And even if it isn’t COVID-19 keeping your child home when they are ill minimizes the spread of all diseases and aids in a faster recovery if the child can rest. 

✓ TAKE YOUR CHILD’S TEMPERATURE DAILY 
Before leaving for school, take your child’s temperature to ensure that they do not have a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It is best to do this when they are relaxed. If your child has been exercising or has spent time outdoors in the heat, wait 20 minutes or more before taking their temperature. 

✓ CHILDREN SHOULD LEAVE UNNECESSARY PERSONAL ITEMS AT HOME
Your child should only bring necessary items to school (e.g., cloth face coverings, school supplies); nonessential items like toys should stay at home. 

✓ USE PERSONAL RATHER THAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, IF POSSIBLE
Personal transportation (car, biking, walking) is a safer option for travelling to school. It is much easier to maintain physical distancing in your own vehicle compared to public (bus, city transit) or shared (non-household carpooling). If this is not possible, be sure your child wears a face covering in any public or shared transportation setting. Ask if the bus driver can open some of the windows to maximize ventilation.
WHILE AT SCHOOL
✓ WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVERING
Whenever possible, school-goers should wear a cloth face covering – especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained. Visit this link for more information about which face covering to use.

If you have a young child, it might be a good idea to pack an extra cloth face covering in case the original covering is lost or soiled.

✓ MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING
It is important to remain 6 feet apart from others while at school.

✓ CHILDREN SHOULD WASH THEIR HANDS 
Regularly hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
AFTER RETURNING HOME FROM SCHOOL

✓ CHILDREN SHOULD CHANGE THEIR CLOTHES IMMEDIATELY AFTER RETURNING HOME

Have your child change their clothing and separate it from any clean laundry.

✓ CHILDREN SHOULD WASH THEIR HANDS 
Regularly hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

✓ CHILDREN SHOULD LEAVE THEIR SHOES OUTSIDE 
Have your child leave their shoes outside, as they may have picked up the SARS-CoV-2 virus while at school. [Current evidence suggests these types of fomites (objects that can transfer virus) are less likely to lead to infection, but it is a simple measure that may help reduce your risk.]

✓ SANITIZE ANY ITEMS YOUR CHILD BROUGHT TO SCHOOL
Be sure to clean any items your child brought with them to school with a sanitizing wipe or 70% alcohol based hand rub.
If your child brought a packed lunch to school, wash any containers they used in the dishwasher or with a dish soap.

✓ REGULARLY SANITIZE HIGH-TOUCH SURFACES IN THE HOME
You should also take daily precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19, such as sanitizing commonly touched surfaces around the home  (doorknobs, light switches, tables, etc.) as well as objects and surfaces that children commonly touch (kid-height objects, play areas, toys, objects in their room, etc.).  For information on what other daily precautions to take, visit this link
For additional information, visit this link.


3. COVID-19 and Kids: How can teachers and staff reduce COVID-19 risk in schools


Schools can reduce the spread of COVID-19, but there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of the virus. To lessen the risk of COVID-19, schools, teachers, and staff should follow these guidelines:

REQUIREMENTS

✓ REQUIRE CLOTH FACE COVERINGS

Require cloth face coverings for everyone over the age of 2 while indoors.

✓ IMPLEMENT SANITATION PROTOCOLS
Set up hand washing stations for students and staff and provide a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer in the classrooms. 

Provide sanitizing supplies for staff to clean classrooms and high-touch surfaces frequently. 

✓ REQUIRE TEMPERATURE CHECKS 
All students and staff should take their temperature before arriving at school. Anyone with a temperature above 100 degrees should not come to school. Remember:It is best to do this when you are relaxed. If a student or staff member has been exercising or has spent time outdoors in the heat, wait 20 minutes or more before taking your temperature. 
ENVIRONMENT

✓ HAVE TEACHERS MOVE BETWEEN CLASSROOMS, NOT STUDENTS

This will reduce congregating in hallways and help to maintain physical distancing.

✓ LEAVE DOORS OPEN
This will reduce the need for touching high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs) and increase indoor ventilation.

✓ STUDENTS SHOULD EAT AT THEIR DESKS OR OUTDOORS 
This will reduce congregating in lunchrooms or cafeterias.

✓ PLACE ARROWS OR STICKERS ON THE FLOOR TO MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING
This will remind students not to congregate in hallways and help students and staff maintain a 6 feet distance from others. 

✓ PLACE DESKS OR WORKSPACES 6 FEET APART
At all times, students should maintain physical distancing. 
If possible, use a physical barrier (e.g., plexiglass or plastic sheeting) between workspaces.

✓ CLOSE WATER FOUNTAINS – OR PROVIDE SANITIZING WIPES
Buy compostable disposable cups that can be placed near water fountains or have students bring their own refillable water bottles.  

✓ USE OUTDOOR SPACES WHENEVER POSSIBLE
When weather permits, use outdoor spaces for teaching, eating, exercising, and physically-distanced breaks.

✓ OPEN WINDOWS WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Opening windows will increase air exchange and reduce the risk of airborne transmission within the classroom. 
TRANSPORTATION
✓ ASSIGN SEATS ON SCHOOL BUSES
Limit seating and follow physical distancing guidelines by spacing children at least 6 feet apart whenever possible.
If children have other means of transportation, suggest that they use those alternate options.

✓ OPEN WINDOWS IF POSSIBLE
Opening windows, even just a small amount, will increase ventilation.

✓ REQUIRE CLOTH FACE COVERINGS WHILE ON BUSES  
Cloth face coverings should be worn while using any transportation with individuals outside of the home.

✓ STAGGER PICK UP OR DROP OFF TIMES 
Staggering these times will reduce the amount of students congregating outside.
Another option is to add clear markings for students to follow when coming off or onto a bus.

✓ DISCOURAGE CARPOOLING WITH MEMBERS OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSEHOLD
Suggest using personal transportation (car, biking, walking) to maintain physical distancing from others. If this is not possible, be sure to emphasize the importance of wearing a face covering in any public transportation (bus, city transit, carpooling with others, etc.).
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SCHOOLS
IF POSSIBLE:
✓ OFFER COUNSELING AND MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Many families and children are experiencing hardship, confusion, and stress during these unprecedented times.

✓ OFFER NUTRITIOUS MEALS FOR STUDENTS
With current financial constraints, many students may meet the requirements for free and reduced lunches. Whenever possible, provide additional meals and nutrition support for students. 

✓ AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES SHOULD FOLLOW PHYSICAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES
All activities should maintain physical distancing and cloth face coverings should be required while indoors. 
Limit the number of students that participate in after-school activities.
For more guidance on this topic, visit this link.






The next update will cover information about routes of transmission. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to COVID-19 in Arizona, please complete next week’s AZCOVIDTXT survey that you will receive via text in about a week.

View Updates from Past Weeks:
Update from week of August 31st (English | Spanish)
Update from week of August 24th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of August 17th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of August 10th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of August 3rd (English | Spanish)
Update from week of July 27th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of July 20th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of July 13th (English | Spanish)
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Update from week of June 1st (English | Spanish)
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Update from week of May 17th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 11th (English | Spanish)
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Update from week of April 27th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of April 20th (English | Spanish)

 


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