GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–Parents learned on Thursday, how Greenville County Schools will address COVID-19 this school year.

With classes starting on Monday, there’s some things you should know.

“So COVID is still an issue and we’ve obviously had kids out from the school setting. They’ve not been around their peers, around other potential types of infections,” said Dr. Cedrek McFadden, Board Certified Surgeon. “So even if schools don’t have masking mandates, it’s important that we remind parents and families to pay attention to your child,” he said.

Dr. Cedrek McFadden is one of many Greenville County parents who received a message from the District, which highlighted COVID-19 protocols for the year.

“DHEC has released the latest requirements related to COVID-19 and protocols for the 2022-23 school year. DHEC now requires school districts to report when a cohort (meaning a class, group or team) of more than 5 individuals (students and/or staff) has 20% or more positive cases within 72 hours,” the district’s website said.

“I think the biggest thing I’m seeing is the responsibility of parents to identify if their child has any new or existing symptoms. Whether that be shortness of breath, whether that be a fever or a cough or a change in taste or smell, if those symptoms are present, even without a positive COVID test, you have to talk with your doctor or get a note or a negative COVID test,” Dr. McFadden said.

The district said the following on their website about COVID-19 symptoms:

The following DHEC requirements will continue from last year:

  • If your child is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, with or without fever (100.4 or greater), they must be excluded from school and may return with a negative COVID test OR a doctor’s note clearing return with no further exclusion.
    • New/worsening cough
    • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
    • New loss of taste and smell

“I think that’s important to make sure we’re not exposing more children to COVID,” Dr. McFadden said.

If your child does test positive for COVID, you must report it to the school and they must isolate for five days.

“And at the end of five days, and the child is not taking any medications to suppress the fever, if the child no longer has fever, if the child no longer has symptoms that they once exhibited, they can return to school. But for the next six to 10 days, they then need to wear a mask,” Dr. McFadden said.

The following information is what the District’s website states about returning back to school:

  • If your child tests positive for COVID-19, they may return to school activities, as outlined in the provided guidance, on Day 6 as long as the following DHEC requirements are met:
  • Symptoms are significantly improving and no fever in the past 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication
  • Mask must be worn days 6 through 10

The message to parents also said, “while students may return to in-person school on day #6 as long as DHEC requirements are met, students are not eligible to participate in athletics until after Day 10,” the website said.

Greenville County Schools said it’s required to track positive cases.

“If a cohort that your student participates in (such as a class, team or club) has 20% or more positive cases within 72 hours, GCS will notify DHEC. While not required by DHEC, schools will provide additional notification to families of students that are in a cohort with 20% of more positive cases,” the website said.

Overall, Dr. McFadden said families should remember important practices to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Hand hygiene, keeping distance from people who are ill, and again if your child is ill, don’t send them to school,” Dr. McFadden said.

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