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 (LCDHE). Every COVID-19 case investigation is unique and may require slightly varied responses.
PSD works with the LCDHE to conduct contact tracing investigations when there is a COVID case
- PSD and LCDHE identifies whether anyone had close contact. LCDHE will ask close contacts to quarantine.
- In a routine classroom exposure (i.e. third graders sitting at desks), LCDHE will likely not quarantine individuals if the county’s vaccination rate is greater than 70% among those eligible to be vaccinated.
- PSD will notify families when there is a classroom/cohort exposure, even if no quarantines occur. The entire school community will not be notified.
- Case information is available on the COVID-19 data web page.
You should be exempt from quarantine if you are one of the following:
- Fully vaccinated
- You and others are masked
- Positive for COVID 90 days prior
- Participated in weekly testing
With masks, it's expected that fewer people will be quarantined. Quarantines may still occur due to exposures at lunch (no masks while eating) and high-risk activities (athletics, performing arts). There may be other instances where these may occur.
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 three feet for cumulative 15 minutes in 24 hours
- PSD will maximize social distancing whenever possible
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment allows schools to seat students between three to six feet apart.
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.
- PSD protects the release of student information under The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA .However, PSD can release certain student information to Larimer County Department of Health and Environment or other public health agencies without parental consent if the disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency and the public health agency's knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals, according to FERPA.
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.