With the number of students and staff members that have been quarantined, I am sharing the way isolations and quarantines are counted by the County Health Department to ease frustrations and aid in everyone’s understanding.
ISOLATION: An Order of Isolation is due to a positive COVID test result. The isolation period is TEN (10) days for a person who has tested positive for COVID. The isolation period starts with a day ZERO (0) from the date of first symptoms. The isolated individuals are able to return to normal activities after TEN (10) days. NOTE: Once identified as a positive, there is a NINETY (90) day period (including isolation) in which exempts the individual from being quarantined because they have developed an immunity to the virus that last approximately ninety days.
QUARANTINE: An Order of Quarantine is due to close contact with an individual that tested positive within the first TEN (10) days of symptoms. The quarantine period starts with a day ZERO (0) from the date of close contact . The quarantined individuals are able to return to normal activities after FOURTEEN (14) days. See the CDC link for details on When to Quarantine. You can also review the Science of the 14 Day Quarantine to better understand the quarantine period.
Sharing this information is important so that our community understands why some individuals are able to return to normal activities sooner than others.
In addition, the District would like to thank all of the parents, community members teachers and staff that have been diligent in staying home when they have symptoms of COVID. Taking immediate action when symptoms arise provides the best possible way to limit COVID exposure to others. Oftentimes it takes several days for the County Health Department to get information from its medical sources in order to take actions to isolate individuals would have tested positive for COVID. After isolation has taken place, the County Health works with the School District to gather contact tracing information so appropriate individuals can be quarantined to limit possible exposure.
Most times the School District has been very fortunate to have parents come forward and share information about a family member’s positive test results. This allows the District to take immediate action and notify County Health so they can begin the quarantine process. County Health communicates quarantine measures and timelines to those who have been identified as a COVID contact. The School District works closely with County Health in the identification process.
The identification of COVID contacts is only as good as the honesty provided by those whom County Health interviews. There have been situations where individuals have said they only have had limited contact with an identified positive case, only to have County Health or the School District find out through other sources that there was significant contact. At that point, County Health still quarantines the individual, but in the meantime, limited exposure has been circumvented by a lack of truth.
No one wants to be quarantined. No one wants to get sick. Everyone expects consistency and continuity in our decision-making processes, especially at our school and governmental institutions. Here at Colstrip Public Schools we are doing our best to identify and follow through with COVID procedures shared with us by the County Health Department. If you have maintained social distance and wear a mask, then your chances of avoiding a quarantine greatly improve; however, there are other factors of time and space that are taken into consideration by County Health. The County Health Department has the final say. Investigations are a process; as information is collected, decisions may be adjusted to limit student and staff’s exposure.
If you have any questions please call at 406-748-4699 extension 3400.
Information has been and will be shared through the following venues, if you are not receiving correspondence through these venues, please call the number above.