Reporting COVID Positive Results and Response to a Positive Case:
Reporting COVID Positive Results
Any member of the Portland Public Schools community (staff, students and families) should report positive cases immediately to a school or district administrator or a school nurse immediately upon confirmation of a positive test. Reporting promptly during nights or weekends is critical, as timely communication will be key to reducing spread. Any report made to an administrator will be immediately reported to Xavier Botana or Aaron Townsend who will coordinate with nurse supervisor Tina Vellieux. Staff and families can call 207-874-8110 after school hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Positive / presumptive Cases
ReSPONSE TO A COVID POSITIVE CASE
The CDC will initiate an investigation when it learns of a confirmed case of COVID 19 within a school. If the school learns before the CDC, the school nurse and/or administrator will alert the superintendent and the Maine DOE school nurse consultant, who is the primary contact for schools to Maine CDC.
Positive cases will be evaluated on a case by case basis following guidelines from the DOE Standard Operating Procedure and with consultation with the CDC as needed.
Specials, recess, cafeteria exposure will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the school nurse and administrators with consultation with the CDC as needed.
Bus exposures will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Maine CDC. If a positive case is on the bus fewer than 15 minutes, no one else on the bus is considered to be a close contact.
After-school and extra-curricular activities will be assessed by the CDC. Recommendations will be based on the nature of the activity, set up and the mitigation strategies in place.
School staff (teachers, nurses, bus drivers, etc.) are considered essential workers. For school staff who are close contacts of confirmed cases in a school, the school staff may return to work while in quarantine so long as (1) there are no substitute school staff members available, (2) the school staff members take appropriate infection control precautions, including the use of PPE, and (3) the staff remain in quarantine outside of work.
Infectious Period: Please note that the infectious period of COVID-19 is 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. Recommendations for quarantines and classroom closures will be decided based on possible exposures during the infectious period. In the hybrid model, it is possible a student who tests positive for COVID 19 will not have attended school for the 48 hours previous to the onset of illness and therefore not exposed anyone at school.
Cleaning: Per updated U.S. CDC guidelines, if less than 24 hours have passed since a person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in a space, the space will be cleaned and disinfected. If more than 24 hours have passed since a person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in a space, cleaning is enough. If more than 3 days have passed since a person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in a space, no additional cleaning (beyond regular cleaning practice) is needed.
Testing: PPS and Maine CDC are partnering with local agencies to provide testing for students and staff after a positive case. Every school nurse has information about the district’s testing capacity. Additionally, testing can be procured through a primary care provider.
Vaccines: As of April 7, Maine residents age 16 and above are eligible for COVID -19 vaccination. High school nurses will work with students to provide information and assist with getting vaccination appointments. More information about vaccines can be found here.
OUTBREAK STATUS AND CLOSURE CRITERIA
The CDC evaluates a school for an outbreak when there are 3 or more positive cases from different households that meet CDC criteria for investigation. CDC criteria for investigation include the type of COVID test (ie. antigen or PCR), the number of days since the individual was present in school, and any known positive contacts in or out of school. Potential outbreaks are reviewed by the CDC and each case is evaluated on an individual basis. Only the CDC can classify a facility as an outbreak.
Free COVID-19 Testing for Students & Staff
Thanks to our collaboration with Greater Portland Health, the district is able to offer COVID-19 testing free of cost for any students and staff who report COVID symptoms. Testing will be arranged through your school nurse if you call in and report symptoms that meet criteria for testing.
The clinic is located in the lower level of the administration building and is open from 9:30 to 11:00 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In order to preserve staff (and student) confidentiality, all tests will be scheduled so no walk in testing will be available. Test results will normally be available within 24 hours. Staff should not return to work, even if COVID -19 test results are negative, until they are feeling better, respiratory symptoms have improved and they have been free of fever for 24 hours (without taking fever reducing medicine). Anyone who is ill should contact their healthcare provider.
We are happy to provide this service. Please note that staff can choose to go to another testing location arranged through their primary care provider or another testing site. If you select to do that, please be aware that if you let them know that you are a school employee which is considered an essential service, your test results should be prioritized. Local testing sites can be found here https://get-tested-covid19.org. Our school testing site is not available evenings or weekends.
Also, if an employee tests positive or is presumed positive by their physician, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services provides support for isolation and quarantine if living arrangements are not conducive to mitigating the risk of spreading the virus. Because these services do not kick in until a presumed or positive result, we will also consider supporting short term housing alternatives through our Families in Crisis Fund. To access that benefit, contact Maureen Clancy at the Multilingual and Multicultural Center, email@example.com.
At-home Covid-19 tests are available for purchase. While these tests are useful to self- monitor, please be aware these tests are not accepted at school if testing is required for travel, exposure, or symptoms. If you or your student needs a COVID test, check out: https://get-tested-covid19.org or ask your school nurse about our PPS testing clinic for students and staff.
POOLED TESTING- PPS is investigating pooled testing as a strategy to minimize risk of COVID-19 in schools. We may implement this in the fall in some grade levels in accordance with local and state recommendations at that time.