HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock has announced outbreak response protocols to support K-12 schools as they respond to suspected or positive COVID-19 cases and take public health-based measures to minimize the spread and keep students safe and healthy.
“The Outbreak Response Protocols provides guidance requested by school nurses and other education advocates to ensure K-12 schools are responding to COVID-19 consistently and taking measures backed by science,” Gov. Bullock said.
A group of public health experts was brought together to develop the Outbreak Response Protocols after school nurses and education advocates requested guidance.
The response protocols include information on COVID-19 symptoms, when to call for emergency care, determining close contacts, when to quarantine, isolate, and recommend testing, and when to allow students and staff to return to school, according to a news release.
The document includes different protocols for a case with symptoms that are not suspected to be COVID-19, suspected COVID-19 cases, confirmed COVID-19 cases, and close contacts.
For students in athletics and extracurriculars, the guidance recommends hand sanitizing, wearing face coverings when appropriate, and prioritizing activities where physical distancing can be maintained. Other recommendations include minimizing travel, keeping practices or events small, and sanitizing equipment and frequently touched surfaces.
Schools should have plans in place for isolation, treatment, and appropriate transportation for a visiting traveling athlete, extracurricular activity participant, or staff who develops COVID-19 symptoms.