Outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools can occur but, according to the CDC, multiple studies have found that transmission of COVID-19 in schools is typically lower than, or similar to, the levels of community transmission, when prevention strategies are implemented in schools. Schools with fewer prevention strategies in place are at increased risk for outbreaks of COVID-19.
One service offered by the DHS K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program is help with outbreak testing at schools, through your school’s vendor.
What is an outbreak: A suspected outbreak of COVID-19 in a school is defined as the presence of at least two confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in the same school building, with onset dates within 14 days.
Both suspected and confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 in a school must be reported to the local or tribal health department as soon as they are confirmed.
What’s next: In coordination with the school, public health staff should investigate suspected and confirmed outbreaks to determine if the illnesses are related, how they may have been acquired, and if they are part of a larger outbreak. Specific infection control measures should be implemented at a facility where an outbreak occurs to prevent further transmission and keep children and staff safe.
Updated links for COVID Connect training: DHS recently moved to Zoom for Government and the links for the weekly COVID Connect training have been updated.
These virtual training sessions are still offered at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Thursday. There is no registration required.
To join the training, use these links:
10 a.m. training: https://dhswi.zoomgov.com/j/1601118923
2 p.m. training: https://dhswi.zoomgov.com/j/1601499641
Cold weather and holiday dates: With cold weather arriving, schools MUST provide indoor spaces for vendors to conduct testing, unless the vendor has made other arrangements. Vendor personnel need to be safe and comfortable to best perform their jobs and get testing completed in an efficient manner.
School personnel should also be sure to communicate with vendors about their testing needs during Thanksgiving and winter break time well in advance of the time off school.
Biohazard waste disposal: Schools are responsible for safely disposing of waste. Program vendors who support testing in schools may provide waste disposal. Other options include the use of biohazard bags, hard-sided biohazard containers for used swabs, and/or the use of a medical biohazard disposal service. For additional information, see CDC Waste Management Guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 Point-of-Care Testing.