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New Face Mask/Quarantine Guidance from IDPH and Iowa Governor’s Office

October 9, 2020

As of September 29th, new guidelines have been released from the Governor’s office and the Iowa Dept. of Public Health (IDPH), regarding the proper use of face masks and how this may affect quarantine requirements. The guidance states “For non-healthcare, non-residential settings, quarantine is no longer recommended if a potential exposure occurs while BOTH the infectious individual AND the close contacts are wearing face coverings CONSISTENTLY and CORRECTLY.”

Please refer to the attached IDPH graphic, which explains some scenarios that will be considered when public health is determining close contacts to a positive case and the need for quarantine.  It includes what qualifies as a proper face covering as well.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    1. Masks should have two or more layers.
    2. Masks must be worn over your nose and mouth and secured under your chin.
    3. CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields as primary face coverings. Evaluation of these face coverings is on-going but effectiveness is unknown at this time.
  • Household members of a positive case must still quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure to the case, even if they were wearing masks in the home.
  • While the goal of this new guidance is to keep more students in school, please know that there are situations in which your student may still be required to quarantine due to exposure to a positive case.

Muscatine County Public Health and Muscatine Schools strongly encourage CDC guidelines for masks/face coverings to be followed. Many of our students are utilizing gaiters for primary face coverings. While any face covering is better than no face covering, please know that if your child is using a gaiter or a face shield, they will need to quarantine if exposed to a positive case, and anyone around them would need to quarantine if your student is the positive case. 

 Read the CDC Guidelines at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

WHAT CAN YOU DO AT HOME TO HELP YOUR STUDENTS AND OTHER STUDENTS REMAIN SAFEST AT SCHOOL AND IN THE COMMUNITY?

  • Please talk with your students about the importance of wearing their masks. Teach and encourage them to wear it CONSISTENTLY and CORRECTLY.
  • Please know that if your child has been identified as a close contact and is required to quarantine, you will be directly notified by the school nurse or your local public health department.
  • Keep your students home if they are sick. Communicate to your school nurse or physician regarding symptoms your student is having and ask for further instructions for when your student should return.
  • If the nurse or your health care provider recommends your child has a COVID test, it is the school’s protocol to keep all children home until results are available. You will also need to provide a copy of results to the office before return.
  • Teach and practice good handwashing.
  • Practice social distancing as space permits.
  • Comply with public health investigations and contact tracing. Follow isolation and quarantine guidelines when instructed to by public health.
  • Monitor for and report symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, fever, muscle/body aches, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), particularly when you have been exposed to a positive case.
  • Refer to IDPH and CDC guidelines. More information can be found at https://idph.iowa.gov

https://coronavirus.iowa.gov

https://www.cdc.gov

We want to thank you for your assistance and patience as guidance changes. We will continue to communicate guidance from IDPH, CDC, and local public health as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

Muscatine Schools Administrative Team and School Nurses

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