This week, Berrien County Health Department officials shared with The Herald-Palladium some best practices for students and their families as they return to in-person learning for the start of the new school year. Below are some recommendations, tips and resources:

  • It’s imperative for parents to screen their child for symptoms of illness before each school day. Those symptoms include a temperature of 100.4 or signs of fever (chills/sweating); a sore throat; a new uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing; diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain; and/or new onset of a severe headache.
  • Schools are required to have an isolation room and isolate any student or staff member showing COVID-19 symptoms. They may then be sent home from school.
  • Teachers should be informed if a student has seasonal allergies or any other condition in which the student would be coughing or sneezing in the classroom.
  • Any face covering is better than none, to stop respiratory droplets. Students should have one that fits them, is breathable and tolerable for several hours at a time.
  • Face covering exemptions must be signed by a doctor.
  • Exercise is one of the exemptions for wearing a mask, so each school district will determine mask requirements for gym and recess. If students are outside and socially distanced, a mask is less necessary.
  • Immunizations are still required for students returning to the classroom. This season the flu shot is recommended even more to prevent a burden on the local health care system, as well as to keep schools open.
  • Families will be notified by their school district if someone in the school tests positive. Contact tracers from the health department will then be in contact with families if their child was exposed.
  • Current COVID-19 testing recommendations extend to children and school employees. People should only seek a COVID-19 test if they have symptoms or had close personal contact with someone who tested positive.
  • Close contact is within 6 feet for 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman