COVID-19 Resources for K-12 Schools and Daycares

Resources

Q&A

 

Q: If we have Plexiglas barriers between students or between students and teachers or speech therapists etc., do they need to wear masks? What about using a face shield instead of a cloth face covering? 

A: At this time, the level of protection provided by Plexiglas barriers is unknown (though they likely provide some level of protection or reduced transmission), so their presence wouldn’t allow for someone to be eliminated as a close contact, especially considering the potential for aerosol transmission.

In addition, CDC’s latest statement on face shields does not recommend them as a substitute for a cloth face covering. One influenza study does show that face shields can provide some level of source control and protection (more for larger aerosols), but similar to CDC, the authors conclude that they should not be used as a substitute for respiratory protection.

DHS currently does not have any guidance that addresses the use of equipment such as Plexiglas barriers or face shields in lieu of cloth face coverings, in schools or otherwise. While it might be helpful, there’s no data to support how effective that equipment would be in preventing transmission. Because DHS doesn't have the data, they still recommend cloth face coverings in all circumstances.

 

Q: Will the time that a child is sent home from school to quarantine be counted towards truancy? 

A: In Wisconsin, according to state statute, each school district sets its own attendance policy. Wis. Stat. se. 118.15(3)(c) states that a parent can pre-excuse their student in advance of an absence (i.e., vacation) for up to 10 days without a medical excuse, and Wis. Stat. sec. 118.15(3)(a) allows for a 30 day medical excuse. The statute does not state that the excuse cannot be extended, which is common procedure for students with health conditions that may require multiple absences. DPI guidance for reopening schools recommends school districts do not require medical excuses for students staying home due to COVID-19 symptoms or quarantine. This guidance further states districts need to be prepared to offer (and therefore should offer) virtual learning opportunities to students who are self-quarantined and feeling well enough to participate in school.

 

Q: Do students need to provide documentation to prove they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a cloth face covering in public?

A: Under Emergency Order #1, students do not need to provide documentation of a medical exemption. However, schools are permitted to implement stricter rules or policies that go above and beyond the statewide order if they so choose. School districts should consult with their legal counsel if they would like to implement a stricter policy regarding requesting or collecting medical information to assess whether a particular student qualifies for a medical exemption. The state cannot advise schools on the legality or enforcement options for policies stricter than the statewide order.

 

Q: Should the exclusion from work criteria for other health care professionals be used for school nurses and school health aides?

A: The exclusion from work criteria for other health care professionals should be used for school nurses and school health aides. Under this criteria, recommendations for excluding staff from work depend on whether the exposure is considered high, medium, or low-risk. Schools are encouraged to exclude exposed staff when possible. Decisions to allow exposed HCWs to continue to work while asymptomatic should be made after a systematic review of the school’s staffing and other resources and in consultation with their local health department. DHS does not recommend requiring a negative COVID-19 test for exposed staff prior to returning to work. For more information, reference:

 

Q: Is there a specific type of technology recommended for performing temperature checks?

A: There are currently no specific recommendations from the CDC for temperature checking technology. Based on their recommendations for temperature checking procedure, those that can check from a distance of 6 feet or more, and those that are easily able to be rapidly sanitized are preferred. The CDC is indiscriminate regarding method, which includes thermometer guns and heat-detection cameras, some of which can be paired with facial-recognition software that security officials can use to track and identify suspected unwell individuals.

 

Q: Are some types of technology more effective than others at performing temperature checks?

A: There is no specific recommendation from the CDC on the effectiveness of the technology or the process of temperature checks. In all of their guidance, there is still a heavy emphasis on physical distancing. There are notable flaws with not only the temperature screening technology, with the potential for hardware error and unreliability, but also with the process of temperature screening. Some of these flaws may include:

  • Temperature can go up from exercise, overeating, stress, excitement, flu, hot room
  • Asymptomatic (or symptomatic) spread without fever
  • Potential for discrimination, social consequences
  • Screenings lead to long lines, bottlenecks at entrances
  • Screenings may make employees feel a false sense of security - so they may not wear masks as much, adhere to physical distancing, etc.