Dear Parents/Guardians and Junior/Senior High Students,
We would like to share some recent important updates concerning COVID-19 and the new variants that are now being seen in Kansas, including Shawnee County.
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. It is a type of coronavirus. These viruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Variants are mutations, or changes, of the virus that have been emerging throughout the world since the COVID-19 pandemic started. These variants or types of virus seem to be spreading more easily and may cause increased likelihood for severe disease. Because of this, there is an increased concern as we work to slow down transmission of the virus in our schools.
Even though the vaccines have proven effective in offering protection against both variants, it is still a major concern. The B.1.1.7 variant specifically, is reason for concern. It can cause more severe symptoms in children, an increased risk of severe disease and death compared to other variant viruses. Also, it is highly contagious and so is spreading so much easier, and the effectiveness of treatments against this variant may be reduced.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recommends that close contacts of persons infected with VARIANTS of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, observe the FULL 14 DAY QUARANTINE starting from the day after the most recent exposure to the contagious person. Fully vaccinated (two weeks after last dose of vaccine regimen) individuals do not need to quarantine.
It is important that you continue to monitor your child/children DAILY for any possible symptoms of COVID-19. If they show one or more signs; (i.e. chills, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of taste or smell, cough, shortness of breath, a measured fever over 100.4, or difficulty breathing), PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CHILD’S MEDICAL PROVIDER TO BE SEEN AND/OR FOR COVID-19 TESTING.
According to USD 321 guidelines, if a student or staff member has one or more symptoms of COVID-19, they will need to provide the school office with a note from their healthcare provider stating an alternate medical diagnosis after being seen by the doctor, or results of the COVID-19 test before they can return to school.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
USD 321 School Nurses