Procedure for When Someone is Positive

Cora Bennett, Co-Editor In Chief

After nearly a 6-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bellevue Public School district has decided to return back to school at full capacity. While some members of the community are worried about a potential increase in the spread of the virus, the school administration has developed a system to try and contain the spread.

If a student or staff member suspects that they have been exposed or have tested positive they are to let the principal know immediately. Senior Kathryn Cunningham was one of the people who happened to catch the virus. 

My dad tested positive first, so we told the school. Soon after I got my positive tests back too, so we had to call them again,” Cunningham said.  “Wagner called me and asked some questions about who I was around during lunch and who I was driving with.”

 When the administration is notified that a student or staff member is confirmed positive with COVID-19, there are multiple steps that take place. School administration begins contract tracing. They go through seating charts and class rosters, and try to identify who has been near that person and how long they have been together.

“We send all of the contact tracing information to a district person who communicates with the Sarpy County Health Department who makes that determination and also who quarantines, etc.,” Wagner said.

 An email will be sent out to students and their parents notifying them that there was a positive case at the school. Due to privacy reasons, the identity of the person who tested positive will be kept a secret. 

“I personally do not care if I’m not told who tested positive,” senior Luke Webster said. “I would, however, like to be told if there was someone in my class who had the virus, just so I can more closely monitor my own health,” senior Luke Webster said.

The distance from each other and whether or not the individuals were wearing a mask also has an impact on if they are considered low risk or high risk. According to the BPS Return to School plan, to be deemed low risk, the individual must be within 6 feet of the positive person for fifteen minutes or more. 

“Generally so far, low risk is in the same room, masks worn by both parties.  High risk is within 6 feet, one or both not wearing masks, 15 minutes or longer.  That is the pattern it has followed so far,” Wagner said.

If a student is experiencing any symptoms they will be asked to quarantine. They will receive an email from Dr.Wagner and the school nurse asking about the symptoms. Wagner will also send information about COVID-19 testing sites in the metro area. Once a negative test has been shown to the school, the student will be allowed to return.