Since the reopening of schools for in-person learning on October 5, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has implemented a comprehensive process to address positive cases of COVID-19, which includes school investigation and mitigation strategies for the protection of students and employees. To ensure all stakeholders are aware of the process in place, attached is a flow chart providing a visual representation of the M-DCPS’ in-school/site contact investigation/tracing protocols and a list of the most frequently asked questions on this topic. Below is a summary of some of the protocols and procedures.
In the event that a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, M-DCPS follows two different paths of investigation:
• Self-Reported Case
o To report a case, parents should immediately contact their child’s school. After school hours and on weekends, cases should be reported by calling 305-995-3000. M-DCPS employees should self-report cases directly to their supervisor.
o Once a parent/guardian or employee reports a positive case to the principal/site administrator, the principal/site administrator immediately notifies the District School Health Office (DSHO) and initiates the in-school/site contact investigation/tracing.
o The DSHO reports the case to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and both collaborate to support the school principal/site administrator with the in-school/site contact investigation/tracing.
• FDOH Confirmed Case
o When the FDOH confirms a case, it reports it to the DSHO.
o The DSHO notifies the school principal/site administrator of the confirmed case.
o The principal/site administrator initiates the in-school/site contact investigation/tracing with the support of the DSHO and FDOH.
Both types of reporting lead to the following outcomes:
• The DSHO and FDOH will work together to immediately implement mitigation strategies, based on the in-school/site investigation and contact tracing procedures, which include a review of the student/employee schedule(s); whether the student(s) rode the bus, participated in extracurricular activities or athletics; and if there are any other members of the household at other District schools/sites.
• The school building/facility will be thoroughly sanitized.
• The school/site will begin the notification process. Anyone at the school/site identified as having been in close contact with the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 will be contacted directly by the school/site administration. The entire school community, including parents and employees, will also be notified via telephone and/or email. Parents must keep their contact information up-to-date with their schools to ensure they receive these notifications.
• Those individuals who had close contact with the student or employee who tested positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to quarantine for 14 days, even if they do not develop symptoms. Once the quarantine period is over, these individuals may return to school. Siblings of these individuals are not required to quarantine unless they too were in contact with the original individual who tested positive for COVID-19, or if they develop symptoms.
• A student who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine until the FDOH notifies the DSHO that the student is cleared to return to school. The DSHO will notify the school principal who will then notify the student’s parent/guardian.
• While schools or classrooms are closed, students will participate in My School Online, though in some cases, including choice and magnet courses, alternative academic arrangements may be necessary.
Criteria for School Closures
• In many cases, the decision to close a classroom(s) or a school is the result of the close contact investigation. However, these determinations will be made on an individual school-by-school basis due to multiple factors that potentially impact the final decision. These factors include, but are not limited to:
o Number of COVID-19 positive cases of students and staff;
o Potential exposure to other students and employees identified through contact tracing;
o Ability to sanitize the school-site prior to the return of students and staff;
o Potential for outbreak;
o Cases that are linked within the same school; and
o Ability to notify those impacted based on the day of the week and the time the case was reported.
M-DCPS COVID-19 Dashboard
M-DCPS began reporting cases on the COVID-19 dashboard on October 5 – when students returned to in-person learning. Only confirmed cases among students and employees who are physically in school will be reported on the dashboard, which is updated daily. Cases of students who test positive for COVID-19 are entered in the dashboard only after being confirmed by FDOH. In accordance with Board policy, all M-DCPS employees must self-report a positive COVID-19 test result. Self-reported employee cases are uploaded once they have been verified using an internal vetting process.
The school site case numbers reflected in the dashboard are provided by principals and vetted by the DSHO to ensure data quality is maintained. This may result in several days lag for self-reported cases. The confirmation process for student cases and subsequent entry into the system are dependent on test verification from the Florida Department of Health of Miami-Dade County.
Dashboard data entry is separate and apart from the immediate mitigation and contact tracing procedures described above.
The District COVID-19 Dashboard is not intended to be a real-time system for tracking self-reported employee and confirmed student cases. Families and employees should not rely on the dashboard to learn about cases in their school or worksite. They will be notified of self-reported cases at their school or worksite well ahead of that information being populated onto the dashboard, as outlined above. School-specific questions should be directed to the school’s administration.
For the most up-to-date information, please download the Dadeschools mobile app to your iPhone or Android device. Follow us on Twitter @mdcps and @miamisup, on Instagram @miamischools and @miamisup, and on Facebook at MiamiSchools and AlbertoCarvalho
# # #