2021 Practices, Guidelines, COVID-19 Info

BHCS Approach to Covid 2021-22
Posted on 08/19/2021
The pandemic, while decreased, is still present in the lives of many in our community. As of Aug. 18 the Siouxland District Health Department reported three people hospitalized in Woodbury County due to Covid. They continue to monitor and report numbers.

Following the same approach as last year, BHCS leaders continue to seek the professional guidance of Siouxland District Health, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Iowa Department of Education, the Governor of Iowa, the Diocese of Sioux City and the Centers for Disease Control. 

We are grateful for patience and understanding as we continually reassess conditions in Siouxland.

BHCS approach to Covid: 2021-22 school year: 
• Mask wearing is recommended for unvaccinated individuals as it is one of the layered prevention strategies to keep students healthy. Parents should determine what is best for their child(ren), and also discuss the importance of respecting the face-covering decisions of others. 

• Daily and regular cleaning of classrooms, desks, tables, chairs, doorknobs, railings, etc. will remain a high priority for our custodial staff, teachers and students.

• Any student, faculty or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19 MUST contact your school office and alert them of your test results and remain home for a 10-day quarantine. 

• A student or person exposed to someone with COVID-19 should closely monitor for symptoms and are not required to quarantine unless they become symptomatic. 

• BHCS will offer remote/virtual learning for only those students sick with COVID or in quarantine due to a family/household member testing positive for COVID-19.
• Water bottles will continue to be used. 

• Travel inside and outside of the country is available to the extent of current travel restrictions.

• Volunteers and visitors will be permitted inside schools. Those who have tested positive for COVID need to follow isolation requirements and may not come on site for a minimum of 10 days. 

• All protocol decisions will be continually monitored and reviewed if new information is released by Siouxland District Health, the Iowa Departments of Public Health and Education, the Governor of Iowa, the Diocese of Sioux City and the Centers for Disease Control. 

Local and state guidance will most likely drive our decisions as opposed to national information. This is how we operated in 2020-2021 and found it to be successful. 

Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools is extremely proud of our 2020-2021 school year where all our classrooms and buildings were open and education occurred every day. We also consider ourselves blessed to have had such low infection rates amongst our students, teachers and staff, even those who might have been more vulnerable.

We thank parents  for your continued support of our schools.

Information following the Iowa Department of Health Guidelines and Recommendations:

Vaccination - While not required, vaccination for those eligible continues to be the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and stop it’s spread. 

Testing - Individuals (including students, teachers and other staff) can seek testing through their normal healthcare channels or through other sites that provide testing services. 

School Illness Reporting - IDPH continues to ask K-12 schools to report when greater than 10% of students are absent due to illness. Public health will contact the school to provide best practices and support tailored to the specific types of illnesses being reported. 

Masks and Cloth Face Coverings - HF847, signed by Governor Reynolds on May 20, 2021, prohibits a school district from adopting or enforcing a policy that requires employees, students or the public to wear a mask while on school property. As such, masks must be optional for students, teachers and visitors. In addition, HF 889, signed by Governor Reynolds on May 20, 2021, prohibits the mandatory disclosure of whether a person has received a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry. 

COVID-19 positive persons can return to normal activities after: 
• 10 days since symptoms first appeared and 
• 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and 
• Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving* * Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation. 

Additional information released on August 6, 2021 by Siouxland District Health states: “Contact Tracing and Care Investigations: Public health departments are no longer doing contact tracing. 
Positive cases are still reported to public health, but we are not calling them to find out where they go to school or who else they may have been in close contact with.
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