Forest Hills Public Schools Explains What Happens When Someone Tests Positive for COVID-19

forest hills public schools admin building

What Will Happen When a Positive COVID Case is Found?

Forest Hills Superintendent Dan Behn outlines what will happen if a student or staff member tests positive in this video released on Friday, August 14, 2020.

Watch the video announcement below.

After watching this video, it does look like the district will be following the guidelines set out by the Kent County Health Department, meaning that students or staff members could be required to quarantine or isolate for weeks.

After greeting viewers, Behm starts the conversation by defining terms and addressing the big question: What happens when someone test positive for COVID-19?

  • A Close Contact is someone who has spent time with someone who’s turned out to be positive for COVID-19. How much time? At least 15 minutes of time where they’re within six feet of distance of that person (with or without a face covering). close contact
  • Quarantine: Keep away from others and watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from the last date of close contact quarantine
  • Monitoring applies to someone who may not be a close contact but they’re in the vicinity. Those are people that need to watch for symptoms. They don’t need to change their actions but they do need to watch for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Isolation is a term used when someone does test positive. That individual needs to isolate themselves from others to control the ability of the virus to spread. Isolation needs to last for at least 10 days since the onset of symptoms – and it could be longer if individual symptoms of COVID-19 haven’t subsided or a fever persists. You have to be fever-free for at least 24 hours after 10 days have passed, and fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Behm then presented a hypothetical case.

Let’s say one of our students at fifth grade level over the weekend isn’t feeling well and a family chooses to keep that 5th-grade student home.

Let’s say that fifth-grade students name is Sarah and Sarah stays home from school and family contacts their health care provider and they get a test and then it turns out on Tuesday to get the test results even having been home on Monday and Tuesday and they’re positive.

What happens next? We would ask that Sarah’s family contact Sarah’s school to let them know that she’s tested positive and the Kent County Health Department may also be contacting us but we would ask that the family provide that contact to us as well.

At that point in time, we are going to work with the Health Department to figure out who potential close contacts may have been for Sarah the last time she was in school – that would have been the prior week.

FHPS COVID response steps

The health department will determine when it was, based on the onset of symptoms, when it was that she may have been infectious.

While Sarah is isolating the health department is working with the school to find out who those close contacts were.

The school will inform the families of Sarah’s classmates that someone has tested positive. We won’t say the name but we’ll simply ask people to monitor for symptoms.

The Health Department will contact any individuals who are deemed to be close contacts and ask those individuals to quarantine for 14 days.

Both Sarah who’s isolating, and any close contacts we need to quarantine, remain students of that teacher and that teacher would be supplying remote learning opportunities for those students who might have to be out of class for quarantine or for isolating during that time.

What happens if it’s not a student, but it’s a staff member?

The same principles would apply.

We would work with the Health Department to try to figure out who the close contacts were to that staff member. That staff member needs to isolate, and those close contacts would need to quarantine.

Anyone who’s not a close contact, but may be impacted by this, let’s say they ride the same bus if it’s a student, or they are students in a teacher’s classroom but they weren’t close contacts, they’ll be informed and told that they need to monitor for symptoms.

He goes on to talk about cleaning protocols the district will employ.

Back to School • COVID Reopening Plan

FHPS Families Will Choose Virtual or In-Person Learning Plans

While families are given the option to choose virtual or in-person instruction, whatever choice they make is binding until the semester break.

Forest Hills PS Plan

School Resumes: August 31
Plan Highlights: 

  • 4-week in-person learning period to start
  • families choose by Aug 14 – in-person or remote learning

Virtual Option Details

Families that elect the 100% remote learning option will see their students taught by outside companies.

Students in the virtual program will also have access to all FHPS extracurricular activities.

According to Behm’s July 29 email, “Remote learning will be provided each day of the semester by Michigan certified teachers through regional partners such as Kent ISD, Michigan Virtual, and Apex Learning. Daily student participation, attendance, and academic work are required. More information on this option, including how and when to enroll, will be provided next week. ”

In-Person Learning Details

K-6 Students – this includes the district’s elementary schools as well as the 5/6 grade buildings.

K-6 students will go to school every day of the week and be placed in cohorted classrooms.

Students and staff will follow all required safety protocols under Phase 4 of Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap. face masks are required on buses, inside school buildings, and outside during occasions where social distancing is not possible. Outdoor mask breaks will be frequent.

Students will remain in their cohorts during lunch and recess. The district will implement outdoor instruction, activities, and lunch when opportunity permits.

Grades 7-12 – Middle School and High School

The start of the year for 7-12 grade students will be different than the cohort experience at the elementary level.

For the first four weeks of the school, students will follow a hybrid in-person learning plan so as to cut the number of students in the school building in half at any one time. While students are not learning in person at school they will be expected to do remote learning from home.

This is to provide maximum social distancing.

Students will be assigned to one of two groups, based upon a family’s last name.

  • The first group of students will attend in-person learning all day Monday and Thursday.
  • The second group of students will attend in-person learning all day on Tuesday and Friday.
  • Both groups will engage in mandatory remote learning at home all day on Wednesday.
  • When students are not attending school in-person, they will be required to participate in remote learning and complete assignments at home.

District and health officials will closely monitor student and staff member health and keep tabs on the prevalence of the virus in the community.

Near the end of the four-week period, the district will decide if conditions safely allow for students to return for longer periods of in-person learning.

forest hills return to learn

Here is a copy of Superintendent Behm’s email:

Screenshot 2020 07 29T181609.854


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