Below find important information on the temporary suspension of screening testing requirements for student-athletes and staff; an update on the reduction in the length of quarantines; updates on vaccination approval and appointments for ages 5 - 11; and, vaccine reminders.
UPDATE ON STUDENT-ATHLETE AND STAFF VACCINES
LCPS announces the suspension of screening testing requirements for non-vaccinated student-athletes and staff indefinitely while we continue to work with the state’s Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program for testing services. We had previously announced the extension of the deadline to later this month.
We have enrolled in the state’s Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program and been paired with a testing vendor, which prioritizes diagnostic take-home tests, staffing and processing over screening tests. While we are providing diagnostic tests on demand for students that are symptomatic or identified as close contacts through this program, the rollout for screening tests is incomplete, largely due to ViSSTA program’s high demand for staffing.
We will continue to monitor the progress of the ViSSTA and other screening testing programs, and keep the community informed of any updates for testing requirements for non-vaccinated student-athletes and staff.
QUARANTINE REDUCED TO 7 DAYS WITH NEGATIVE TEST
LCPS announces that beginning on Monday, November 8, 2021, students and staff that are identified as close contacts of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to school after 7 days if they provide a negative COVID-19 test performed on or after day 5 following exposure and do not have any symptoms. Those who can provide documentation of having COVID-19 in the past three months or have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are not required to quarantine as long as they do not have symptoms. Close contacts should still monitor for symptoms through day 14 and seek testing immediately if they develop any symptoms. Day 0 is the last day of exposure to the person with COVID-19. Antigen, PCR, or verifiable, proctored home tests are all acceptable.
If a student or staff member lives with someone with COVID-19 and is not fully vaccinated or recently recovered, they should begin quarantine after the last sick member of their household ends their 10 day isolation.
If household members are able to be completely separate from the sick person, they should begin quarantine after their last contact with the sick person. Complete separation means having no contact, spending no time together in shared spaces, staying in a separate bedroom, and using a separate bathroom.
LCPS has take-home diagnostic COVID-19 tests available to students and staff that are symptomatic at school or identified as a close contact at school. Test kits are available from the school health office as supplies last. Families and staff may also provide test results from an outside medical provider. Take-home tests are provided through the Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program and are proctored through the ViSSTA vendor. Unproctored tests will not be accepted.
For more information on quarantine: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/protect-yourself/local-exposure
VACCINE NOW RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 5 - 11
CDC and VDH Approval for Children 5-11. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for all children 5 to 11 years of age. This vaccine contains the same active ingredients as the Pfizer vaccine already administered to millions of Americans, but at a lower dose. In addition, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has announced that local health districts may begin offering vaccination appointments to parents and guardians of children ages 5 to 11 years old this week.
Schedule an Appointment Early. On Thursday, November 4, at 9:00 a.m., those interested in having their children vaccinated at the County’s Dulles Town Center site can begin scheduling appointments online at: https://guest.vams.cdc.gov/?jurisdiction=LD.
The first available appointments for this age group will be between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on November 5. When scheduling your 5 to 11-year-old child, you must select the clinic named: “Ages 5-11 COVID-19 Vaccinations – Loudoun.” Please note that appointments made in the 12-and-up clinic will not be honored for the younger age group.
In addition to the initial appointments for 5 to 11-year-olds on Friday, more appointments will become available on Saturday, November 6 between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and during the weeks that follow on the days that the Dulles Town Center site is open for vaccination.
The Health Department also expects that many local pharmacies and medical offices will begin offering COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years in the coming week. You may check with your pediatrician’s office or visit www.vaccines.gov to find other vaccine providers in the community.
As with other medical visits, vaccine appointments are an excused absence.
Demand Expected to be High. The Virginia Department of Health encourages parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. Demand for vaccinations of this age group is expected to be high and vaccine supplies may be limited initially. As a result, appointments may be taken quickly. Keep checking the online appointment system as more appointments will be added to the system as vaccine supplies increase throughout November.
Have a Question? For additional information about COVID-19 vaccination, visit www.loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine. Anyone with questions may call the Health Department's information line at 703-737-8300, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMINDER OF COVID VACCINES
Reminder: While many of our 12-17 year-olds have received COVID-19 vaccinations, with cold weather coming and indoor sports starting, we want to remind anyone who has not received a vaccination yet to make their appointment. Our transmission and rates of COVID-19 remain low and we want to help them stay low. For additional information about COVID-19 vaccination, visit https://www.loudoun.gov/5485/COVID-19-Vaccine.
Thank you for your attention to this.
Scott A. Ziegler, Ed.D.