The Athens City School District will be participating in a statewide study related to the spread of Covid-19 in Public Schools who have in-person contact with students. The study will begin this week as per the guidelines and description of the project provided below:
Ohio School COVID-19 Evaluation (OSCE)
An important evaluation of COVID-19 is starting in your school. Please read this sheet to learn about the Ohio COVID-19 School Evaluation.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, sometimes called the coronavirus, is an illness caused by a virus, SARS-CoV-2. If someone gets COVID-19, they usually become ill and have fever, chills, cough, and they may feel like it is hard to breathe. Some people need to go to the hospital and many people have died.
What is the purpose of the Ohio School COVID-19 Evaluation (OSCE)?
Since COVID-19 was first discovered in late 2019, we have learned a lot about the virus. And we keep learning more about it.
When someone has COVID-19, they are asked to stay home to protect others. This process is called isolation. In addition, people that have been close to the person with COVID-19 are also asked to stay home. These people are called close contacts and the process of staying home is called quarantine. A close contact for COVID-19 is usually based on being within 6 feet (or sometimes 3 feet) for at least 15 minutes. Even if the person with COVID-19 and the close contact are both wearing masks correctly, anyone who is within 6 feet for 15 minutes is still considered a close contact.
When the people involved are school children, the close contact children are asked to stay home from school. These children can miss a lot of school.
The goal of the evaluation is to see if close contact children need to stay home and miss school even if both the close contacts and the child with COVID-19 were wearing masks correctly.
What will happen during the Ohio School COVID-19 Evaluation (OSCE)?
School will continue as usual during the evaluation. If a child has COVID-19 during the evaluation, the child will have to stay home for at least 10 days. The school and the local health department will find the children who are close contacts of the child with COVID-19.
In your school, every child who is a close contact will be asked to stay home, even if both children were wearing a mask. They will not participate in any school activities. But to see if these close contact children have COVID-19, they will be asked to come to a testing location twice a week for two weeks to get a test for COVID-19. The test uses a swab that is put in the front part of the nose for a few seconds. The test is described more below.
Some children in the school who are not close contacts will also be asked to have tests for COVID-19.
High school student in the evaluation will be asked to answer a short survey about their activities. The survey takes about 15 minutes.
Parents of children who are close contacts or are selected to be a part of the testing program will be asked to give consent for their child’s participation. They will also be asked to do a short survey about their children’s activities. The survey takes about 15 minutes.
How does the COVID-19 test work?
The test being used is called the “BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card”. It is made by Abbot Laboratories. The test detects tiny pieces of the coronavirus called proteins. The test can be performed quickly with results in about 20 minutes.
The test is performed using a swab that is put in the nose. The swab looks a typical cotton swab (Q-tip). It is put up a nostril no more than one inch, rotated 5 times, and then repeated in the other nostril. The swab is then put on the test card. The person collecting the swab will be a trained health professional.
How often will the children be tested?
If a child is a close contact, the child will be tested two times a week (Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday) for two weeks. So, they will be tested four times. Children who are close contacts and are staying home will need to be brought to the school briefly to be tested.
If a child is chosen to be tested who is not a close contact, the child will be tested once a week at school for two weeks. So, they will be tested twice.
Will I get the results of any tests performed on my child?
If your child is tested, you will get your child’s test result if they are tested. Your child’s test results will not be shared with any other parents or students.
What will happen if my child has a positive coronavirus test?
If your child has a positive test, the child will need to stay home from school because they are very likely to have COVID-19. You will need to plan to keep your child isolated and away from other children and other family members as much as possible. And you’ll need to wear a mask to protect yourself when you are close to with your child. Usually, a child has to stay home for 10 days after a positive COVID-19 test. The local health department will give you more information if this happens. Children with a positive COVID-19 test will not be allowed to participate in any school activities while in isolation.
What will happen if my child is a close contact and has a negative coronavirus test?
If your child is a close contact and has a negative coronavirus test, they must still quarantine at home. A negative test does not release a child from quarantine.
How long will this evaluation last?
This full evaluation will last several weeks. If your child is asked to participate, they will participate for two weeks. If you are asked to complete a survey, the survey will take about 15 minutes.
What are the benefits of this evaluation?
The biggest benefit to this evaluation is that we will learn about the appropriate procedures for schools to follow when they have COVID-19 cases in their school. We will learn whether children who are close contacts need to stay home if they and the case wore masks properly in school.
If your child is included in the testing portion of this evaluation, the benefit is learning whether your child has COVID-19. Knowing your child has COVID-19 can allow you to protect your family members and you by taking the appropriate steps in the home.
What are the risks of this evaluation?
Children who get a swab test may be uncomfortable, but this is uncommon.
Who is sponsoring this evaluation?
This evaluation is a collaboration between the State of Ohio Governor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Medicaid, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Insurance, and school districts throughout the state.
Who is managing this evaluation?
This evaluation is being run by The Ohio State University with assistance from Wright State University, Ohio University, and PARTT.
What will be done with the information from this evaluation?
The results of this evaluation will be shared with the State of Ohio Governor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Medicaid, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Insurance, and the participating school districts.
Additional Covid-19 Study Details: Parent Consent
- The District is notified of a positive test result.
- The District works with the Health Dept. to identify close contacts and issue quarantine orders.
- OSU Medical Center works with the Building Principal to identify 8 or more close contacts who will be offered the opportunity to be tested, free of charge, 4 times over a two week period. They will also identify a "control group" of 8 or more students from the general school population who may be tested 2 times over the two week period. As the primary group of students would be isolated from school (and possibly under quarantine from the Health Dept.), the parent would need to bring the student to an identified location for testing. This will likely be in Chauncey. As the parent must bring the child to a location for testing, parent consent for the testing will be given at the time of testing. The control group of students may be tested at the school. While OSU indicates that parent consent is automatic if the family sends the student to school in person, our protocol will be to call the parents of any student in the control group to get verbal permission to proceed with any test.
- Before a test is administered, the child must be comfortable with the test. If a child does not want to be tested, regardless of parent consent, the medical professional assigned to complete the testing will not proceed.
- Parents will receive specific test results for their child.