COVID-19 Exposure Guidelines

Staff and student safety has always been a top priority for WDMCS, and we are being extra vigilant this year in the face of COVID-19. Steps we’re taking to protect students, staff, and families include:

  • Daily wellness checks before school
  • Daily staff wellness check-ins at school
  • Closely monitoring potential and confirmed exposures to COVID-19

Please review the COVID-19 exposure flowchart, with links to WDMCS and CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies at WDMCS

Remember, we use the CDC definition of close contact—within 6 ft of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for 15 or more minutes.

If you think you have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or that you have COVID-19:

  • Contact your principal and school nurse as soon as possible.
  • Include specifics related to your case, referencing the exposure document.
  • Share any updates with your principal and school nurse.

We appreciate the partnership of our WDMCS families as we work together to limit the spread of COVID-19. We are here to support you and encourage you to use the resources available to you through WDMCS at this time.

New Information Changes Quarantine Rules (Oct. 1)

WDMCS works with Polk County Health Department to complete close contact tracing for positive COVID-19 cases. Under current guidelines, we have been using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of close contacts to determine who may need to quarantine for 14 days.

Close contact is defined by the CDC as within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, regardless of personal protective equipment.

Based on new guidance from Iowa health agencies, we want to share new quarantine information that could affect you as a WDMCS employee or student.

Who made the changes?
Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced in a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 29, the changes for Iowa schools.

New: IDPH COVID-19 Response: When to Quarantine (Sept. 29, 2020)

What are the changes?

  • A close contact no longer needs to quarantine for 14 days IF the close contact AND the person who tested positive for COVID-19 were properly wearing face masks during the time of exposure. The close contact must also monitor for symptoms and not return if symptoms start.
  • This new change ONLY applies if both people were wearing face masks. Gaiters or face shields are no longer considered equally as safe. This means if one or both of the people were wearing a gaiter or face shield, the 14-day quarantine would still apply.

Does this mean everyone is now required to wear face masks instead of gaiters or face shields?

  • Because of the new guidance, we strongly encourage all students and staff to wear face masks. However, if someone chooses to wear a gaiter or face shield, they need to understand they will need to quarantine for 14 days if they are ever identified as a close contact.
  • We still require a face covering (face masks, gaiter, or face shield) for all students and staff. The only difference is we are strongly encouraging people to change to face masks but will not require that change at this time.

CDC: How to Select, Wear, and Clean Your Mask

What does this mean for people who are in quarantine now?

  • School nurses and Human Resources staff are contacting anyone who is currently quarantined to confirm if face masks were worn at the time of exposure. If they were AND are not experiencing any symptoms, they can immediately return to school.

How will I know if I’m a close contact and need to quarantine?

WDMCS will continue to send messages and PCHD guidance to WDMCS students and staff considered close contacts of a district-related case. This will include whether or not close contacts need to quarantine. COVID-19 information will continue to be updated each weekday on the WDMCS website, but we will no longer email families or staff who are not close contacts to announce positive COVID-19 cases at buildings.

District leadership and the Board of Education will be sent daily summaries of any cases across the district. We will also communicate with building staff and families if there is ever a need for a class or building temporary transition to online learning.