PSD COVID-19 Response Teams and Larimer County work together
Each PSD department and school has a COVID-19 Response Team that works in partnership with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. Every COVID-19 case investigation is unique and may require slightly varied responses.
- Enhanced contact tracing: For consistency of educational delivery, all students in a classroom will shift to remote education for 10 days from the date of exposure: they will also receive quarantine orders from LCDHE. Staff members (homeroom teachers, paraprofessionals, etc.) identified as close contacts will also shift remote; those staff who didn't have close contact aren't shifted remote. This type of contact tracing is permitted by the state health department for some younger grades.
- Targeted contact tracing: PSD COVID-19 Response Teams investigate and identify possible close contacts (zero to X number); LCDHE issues orders to quarantine. Contact tracing happens in a classroom but also extends into lunchrooms, buses, athletics and other school-specific spaces.
PSD is following the state health department's requirements for COVID-19 case response for summer 2021.
- Preschool/kindergarten: Using enhanced contact tracing, all students in a classroom/program may receive quarantine orders from LCDHE.
- Grades 1-12: Using targeted contact tracing, PSD and LCDHE will identify close contacts, who may receive quarantine orders from LCDHE. Individuals who are 12 years old and up who are vaccinated will likely NOT be considered close contacts and not receive quarantine orders.
- Depending on your student’s program, close contacts may shift to remote for 10 days from the date of exposure or not attend the program for a period of time if a remote option is not available.
- Only parents/guardians of students who are impacted by a case (i.e. single classroom or group) will receive communications. The program/school will NOT communicate to all parents/guardians in a program or school for every case.
- As allowed by county and state public health guidance, PSD staff and students can voluntarily end their quarantines early if they meet strict criteria and are approved by PSD COVID-19 Response Teams to do so.
Contact tracing background
What is contact tracing?
Disease investigations are an important way that public health officials can help prevent the spread of disease in a community. When someone tests positive for a reportable condition, such as COVID-19, that test result is reported to state or local public health officials. Local public health staff receive that report and work with the patient to identify any close contacts (those who were within six feet for more than 15 minutes with a case) who may have been exposed to the disease and could become ill. This process is known as contact tracing. Learn more on the LCDHE website >>
Public health staff then notify exposed individuals (contacts) of their potential exposure as rapidly and sensitively as possible. Contacts are provided with education, information and support to:
- Understand their risk and monitor themselves for illness
- Separate themselves from others who have not been exposed.
- Understand they could spread the infection to others even if they do not feel ill.
Who is a close contact?
- Less than six feet for more than 15 minutes
- Maintaining six feet or more of distance is not always possible within some PSD schools due to space constraints that are difficult to reconcile with educating more students more of the time.
- Recognizing this challenge, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment allows schools to seat students between three to six feet apart.
- PSD will maximize social distancing whenever possible
LCDHE, PSD and confidentiality
- Answer the call: It’s imperative that families, students and staff answer the health department’s call and share timely, accurate information to help minimize outbreaks in our community. LCDHE and PSD maintain confidentiality.
- Sharing student information with LCDHE for contact tracing investigations: PSD may need to share some student information requested by LCDHE staff completing contact tracing investigations that includes but isn't limited to parent/guardian name, parent/guardian phone number(s), student name, student grade, student school of attendance, and student date of birth. PSD will never share parent/guardian or student social security numbers. All disclosures are made in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
- District Policy JRA/JRC - Student Records / Release of Information on Students states PSD may disclose student education records or personally identifiable information without written consent of the parent/guardian or eligible students under several circumstances, including if the disclosure is in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of the information disclosed is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
- Additionally, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, “Schools are required to disclose names of people with COVID-19 to public health authorities. Schools should not disclose the name(s) of students, teachers or staff members with COVID-19 to other teachers, staff, students, parents, the media, or anyone outside public health. Public health staff are trained in how to manage health information in order to protect your privacy. They will never share your information without your permission, and they store records securely and keep them safe.”
- The district continues to train and build the capacity of school and department COVID-19 Response Teams. We work collectively to provide only the necessary information to support a contact tracing investigation, which includes parent/guardian contact information and the student information listed above. The health department uses this information to issue quarantine orders to those individuals identified as close contacts, as a result of the investigation. LCDHE quarantine orders are always issued in the name of either the confirmed case or identified close contacts. They are not issued in someone else’s name (even if they are a minor) because they apply only to the directly impacted individual.
Communications and data transparency
- Evaluating on a case-by-case basis, PSD works with LCDHE to communicate important information to targeted staff and/or parents and guardians (i.e. LCDHE directly notifies people if they are identified as close contacts and need to quarantine). Case communications will not be sent to the entire school community each time; instead, we will work to communicate directly with impacted groups.
- PSD and LCDHE staff keep the identity of students and staff who test positive for or are believed to be exposed to COVID-19 confidential.
- Data transparency: PSD's COVID-19 data dashboards display data entered by COVID-19 response teams and are kept up to date as possible on the PSD COVID-19 Data and School Information web page.
- PSD works with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to track outbreaks at schools. PSD and LCDHE follow the state health department's definitions for outbreaks, and school outbreak statuses are posted on the PSD COVID-19 Data and School Information web page. Individual letters are not sent to parents/guardians when there is an outbreak.