Covid, school and positive cases: the rules for quarantined classes

Covid, school and positive cases: the rules for quarantined classes
Covid, school and positive cases: the rules for quarantined classes

FLORENCE – What happens at school when an infection occurs? When and for how long is the classroom quarantined? And how the return to class for contacts works. And for the positive case?

The Asl Tuscany center clarifies the rules for quarantined classes in which the timing of diagnosis of a positive case at school is exchanged with “presumed delays” of communication by the ASL to the families.

When quarantine is prescribed

The prescribed quarantine starts fromlast day of contact with the case, which means that in a school, the start day of quarantine is the day of last attendance at school by the positive student. The quarantine start day never coincides with the day of diagnosis of the positive case. The quarantine start date reported in the official protocols must therefore be understood as the date of last contact with the positive case, or the date of last exposure to the risk of infection and not as an “alleged delay” in communication.

An example. If on Monday afternoon a student shows suspicious symptoms, even admitting that he has the result of the swab on Friday, it is not a “delay” of 4 days between the start of quarantine and communication or negligence on the part of the institutions but of the timing inherent in the how to track a Covid case and in the normal timing of diagnosis. In addition, most students with suspicious symptoms do not go to the doctor but wait 24-48-72 hours before requesting the molecular swab and starting the procedure to carry it out, which leads to further diagnostic delays.

We remind you that the Tuscany Region, in light of the diffusion of the delta variant, requires that contact tracing be carried out up to 7 days before the presumed contagion of the positive case, therefore either from the day of the positive swab for asymptomatic cases or from the day of the start of the symptoms for symptomatic cases. Which means that it is almost inevitable that if a Covid case occurs in a class, it must always be quarantined, except for absences of more than one week (very rare) by the positive case.

The search for contacts in the school environment

In the case of a student with a positive swab, the school alerted by the parents, or the Department itself, activates the procedure for finding contacts in the school environment. This research involves an investigation by the school Covid Referent and the subsequent sending to the Prevention Department by the school of the school contact lists. This procedure inevitably requires “a few hours” (and sometimes a few days especially on weekends when the school secretaries are closed) to be carried out. The contact person must verify the absences of the class and collect all the data necessary for sending the quarantines. While waiting for the official quarantine protocols to be sent, the Prevention Department, through the school, sends the families a prior official communication, which gives the first indications for quarantine. This communication from the Department to the Scholastic Institute and the relative request for forwarding to the families, takes place at the latest within a few hours from the news of the positive case at school, even on weekends. As soon as the school sends the lists of close school contacts, the Department of Prevention issues the official quarantine protocols within 24 hours.

The rules for returning to class

For the positive case

The student returns with a certificate of termination of isolation issued by the Department of Prevention in the event of termination of isolation with a negative molecular buffer. On the other hand, in the case of long-term positives (positive after 21 days of isolation), in addition to the Department’s end-of-isolation certificate, a negative molecular or antigenic swab report is required for the return to school. This swab can be carried out both in accredited public and private laboratories, and in accredited pharmacies authorized to issue reports.

The positive case contactsFor positive case contacts, the return is expected after the quarantine period which begins on the day of the last contact with the case and lasts 7 days (if contact with a complete 14-day vaccination cycle) or 10 days (if contact with absent or incomplete vaccination cycle) by performing a molecular or antigenic swab starting from the 7th or 10th day. If the diagnostic test is not performed, the quarantine lasts 14 days from the last contact with the case. Swabs are prescribed by family doctors / pediatricians.

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