COVID-19 Information

SCHOOL
Buford Elementary
Buford Academy
Buford Senior Academy
Buford Middle School
Buford High School
District/Daycare
Totals

We have been very encouraged by the downward trend in our post-winter break COVID-19 numbers (Omicron) from a high of 45 (.0075%) positive in early January down to a single lab-positive case this past Friday, Feb 11th.  Undoubtedly we are on the backside of the most recent surge in COVID-19 cases in our county and state. These numbers also pale compared to our Delta surge that reached 102 (.017%) positives in the district on September 3rd.

We want to thank our community and our amazing staff for all you have done up to this point to ensure as normal of a school year as possible. Your efforts have enabled us to keep the doors open and our students thriving. With that said, we are making some slight adjustments to our protocols to reflect our improving status.

After a recent comprehensive review of Buford City Schools (BCS) Covid-19 Protocols, the following changes to current guidelines have been made and are effective Monday, February 21, 2022:

Starting on Monday, February 21, 2022, we will adjust our transportation protocols to align with our school-based protocol. Masking on busses will be strongly encouraged but will become optional.

Buford City Schools will move to a color-coded, tiered system to identify the level of transmission and subsequent mitigation strategies at each school.  

   Green--less than 1% of the school population is positive = NO contact tracing

   Yellow--1%-4% of the school population is positive = return to contact tracing protocols that include Alternative Quarantine Policy

    Red--5% or more of the school population is positive = initiate protocols in place at the beginning of the pandemic (contact tracing, spacing, lunch in classrooms, etc.)

  • Buford City Schools will contact trace only if a school is in the “yellow or red phase,” which means more than 1% of the total student and staff population is COVID-19 positive. Contact tracing is the process of identifying students who may have been exposed to the infection (within 3 feet for 15 minutes or more.)
  • While in the “green phase,” BCS will monitor confirmed lab-positive students only.

If a school documents an increase in COVID-19 cases and moves into the “yellow phase,” all prior system quarantine guidelines apply, and protocols remain unchanged for students who test positive for COVID-19. 

The positive numbers on Friday will determine the tier for each school for the following week.  The superintendent's office will email each principal on Fridays to notify them of the following week's status, and the website will be updated with the current phase. We will no longer be reporting exact numbers by school on the website (starting next week-we will do both this week.)

Yours Respectfully,

 

Mrs. Melanie Reed

Superintendent Buford City Schools 

 

BCS Family,

 

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a chance to relax and recharge during our holiday break.  We are so looking forward to seeing everyone back at school on January 5th.

 

As many of us have gathered with family over the break, I am certain you have heard of a spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the nation due, in large part, to the new Omicron variant.  You may have also heard that the CDC has released new Isolation and Quarantine protocols for asymptomatic people.

 

“Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.” https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html

 

So as we start the New Year, I think it is an excellent time to review best practices and outline the new COVID-19 protocols.

 

If you are sick, STAY HOME- I may have mentioned this a time or two before, but it is more important than ever. Just as important, the flu and stomach viruses are also contagious, so please stay home if you have symptoms of any of these illnesses.  Additionally, if you take a Covid-19 test, please stay home until results are back.

 

Our top two priorities for a safe return to school have not changed:

  1. Vaccination is still the #1 tool to combat the COVID-19 virus. Everyone 5 years and older has plentiful access to the vaccination.
  2. If you are sick, stay home! Students and staff must not come to school with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher and must not come to school until they have been fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours.

We are not reporting holiday break COVID-19 numbers to the Department of Public Health (DPH). However, our nurses and administrators will need this information to prepare for second semester. Please email your school nurse if your student has tested positive for COVID-19 over the break or if he or she has been deemed a close contact by DPH guidelines.  

 

Per CDC/DPH guidance:

 

“You may discontinue home isolation if you had symptoms when:

  • At least 5 days* have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved

 

You may discontinue home isolation if you did NOT have symptoms when:

  • At least 5 days have passed since the positive laboratory test and you remain asymptomatic
  • Note, if you later develop symptoms, you should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.
 
 
*To determine when 5 days have passed, you can consider that day 0 of isolation defined as either the date your symptoms started, if symptomatic, or the date of your first positive test, if asymptomatic. If leaving isolation earlier than 10 days, you should continue to wear a mask around others for the remainder of the 10 days.”

 

Below you will find the dates a student may return if he or she has a positive COVID-19 test or is a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case.

 

Positive Cases:

 

Test Date or Symptom Onset (whichever is first)

Return Date

(wear a mask for 5 days upon return)

December 30

January 5

December 31

January 6

January 1

January 7

January 2

January 10

January 3

January 10

January 4

January 10

 

 

BCS has instituted an Alternative Quarantine Policy (AQP) this year that prioritized in person learning. The CDC’s new quarantine guidance mirrors our AQP in many ways. As such, we will continue to use our current Alternative Quarantine Policy requiring mask use for 10 days after exposure (and a signed parent form).  The only adaptation we will make relates close contact within the household (they currently must stay home for 7/10 days). They will be able to return after 5 days home quarantine and then wear a mask for the remaining 5 days.

 

Close Contacts: 

Date of last exposure: AQP-wear a mask for 10 days (Close Contact within a household can return after 5 days and wear a mask for the remaining 5 days)

 

Date of Last Exposure

Required to Mask until

December 26

January 6

December 27

January 7

December 28

January 10

December 29, 30

January 10

December 31

January 11

January 1

January 12

January 2

January 13

January 3

January 14

January 4

January 15

 

 

(Close Contact within a household can return after 5 days and wear a mask for the remaining 5 days)

 

Thank you for your continued support and flexibility as we navigate this New Year. We are all very excited to have everyone back in the buildings (as I am sure you are) and making great choices in 2022!

Go Wolves!

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Robert Downs
Superintendent
Buford City Schools

 
 
Dear Buford Community,
 
The Buford City School System plans for a safe return for our students in the next two weeks. We have outlined below the classroom priorities, mitigation strategies, protocols, and practices for the upcoming school year regarding COVID-19.

We believe the details below prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff, and community while still keeping academic success as our top objective.

You can also download a summary of these safety protocols by clicking here.

Our top two priorities for a safe return to the classroom are:

1. Vaccination is the #1 tool to combat the COVID-19 virus. Everyone 12 years and older has plentiful access to the vaccination.

2. If you are sick, stay home! Students and staff must not come to school with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher and must not come to school until they have been fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours.

Mitigation Strategies:

We strongly recommend that non-vaccinated students and teachers wear a cloth face covering when they are at school. However, masking is optional at BCS. Students will be required to wear cloth face coverings on BCS school buses (Federal mandate). Face coverings should be a solid color or one that has the BCS logo on it.
 
Social Distancing will be encouraged indoors and where appropriate. The CDC recommendation of 3 feet distance will be adhered to when possible.

Quarantine & Isolation:

While we are attempting to return to something resembling normal, COVID-19 has not entirely gone away. The requirement to contact trace is not a Buford City Schools’ invention. According to the Department of Public Health, contact tracing must occur anytime an infectious disease is reported to us. Anyone who is fully vaccinated is not subject to quarantining (unless symptomatic).

As we did last year, any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate in accordance with the isolation guidelines from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

• If you are fully vaccinated (14 days after last shot) or if you have recovered from the virus in the past 90 days (and provide lab results/vaccination card to school nurse), you will NOT be subject to quarantine after contact tracing.
• The CDC also adjusted their contact trace definition to limit the need for quarantine when both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks.
 
We have, with careful consideration, revisited and updated our approach to immediately quarantining large groups of students, and a more systematic and intentional procedure will be put in place regarding close contacts quarantine this fall.

Cleaning Protocols:

BCS will continue to provide hand sanitizer in all classrooms, common areas, and school buses. Further, while we recognize that the data shows surface-level contact does not pose a high risk for COVID-19 transmission, daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces in school buildings and on school buses will continue.

If a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed in a classroom, building, or school bus, additional disinfecting will occur the same day.

The water fountains in each school are operational. However, BCS highly recommends students continue the use of clear, personal water bottles.

Journey back to “normal”:

Our lunchrooms are returning to normal service. However, the USDA has extended no-cost meal service for breakfast and lunch to all students through the 2021-2022 school year.

Although meals will be offered at no cost, families are encouraged to complete the free and reduced application for qualifying students to be eligible for other opportunities or discounted services, including fee waivers for college applications, SAT, ACT, and AP exams.

Visitation and volunteer opportunities will be phased back in this school year. Principals will guide parents and guardians about visitation in their buildings.

Buford City Schools will offer athletics and extracurricular activities for the 2021-2022 school year. Current plans are for events to be open to spectators at full capacity per Georgia High School Association guidance. GO WOLVES!

Communication:

Each school will provide appropriate communication when there is a positive case of COVID-19 in their buildings and a need to contact students who may have been in close contact with the infected individual.

To review the updated document about determining and reporting COVID-19 exposures, please Click here for PDF.
 
Lastly, I want to assure you our BCS nurses are highly trained and incredibly compassionate about the health and safety of all students. They will continue to be the school’s main COVID-19 point of contact.
 
I trust their judgment and empower them to make the appropriate medical assessments to maintain the correct safety standards.

If a student exhibits COVID-19 related symptoms while in the school clinic, the nurse has the discretion to request the student wear a mask or be isolated while in the clinic. No child will be forced to wear a mask while in the clinic; rather, an asymptomatic child who does not want to wear a mask will be isolated until the parent/guardian arrives to take them home.

We are still in weekly contact with our local Department of Public Health officials, and if community transmission data or BCS-specific data justifies a need to change any of the above safety protocols, we will make the appropriate adjustments.

Thank you for your continued support and flexibility as we navigate our new normal. We are all very excited to have everyone back in the buildings and making great choices this school year.
Go Wolves!

Sincerely,
 
Dr. Robert Downs
Superintendent
Buford City Schools
 
 
Click HERE for information from the Department of Public Health.

Good afternoon BCS Family,  Congratulations on the first FULL WEEK with students. Don’t let anyone tell you last week wasn’t a full week also but 5 days in front of kids I know is exhausting. You all have earned a weekend.

 

As I have mentioned numerous times- We are very focused on our local data. I assure you, our nursing staff, administrators, and school leadership teams are prepared to pivot if and when necessary.- that sounds ominous- really just a small tweak to our new Alternate Quarantine Protocol.  I will be sending this to the community later today:

 

Based on our local data, we are making a slight change to our Alternative Quarantine Protocol effective Monday August 16, 2021.

 

Several of our positives have originated in the home and spread through unavoidable close contact. 

 

If you report a positive in the family where contact tracing originated outside the school, you will be required to quarantine at home per our quarantine guidelines.

 

Alternative Quarantine Protocol will be an option for those persons contact traced in the school setting only. 

 

Students or staff identified as close contacts to a positive COVID-19 case at home will quarantine by DPH guidelines.

 

Option 1: 7 Day Quarantine with a Negative COVID-19 Test

  • The student must have a negative COVID-19 lab test within 72 hours of his/her return to school date above AND have no COVID-19 symptoms during the quarantine period.  
  • Upon return to school, the student must present a copy of his/her negative COVID-19 lab test results to the school nurse.

 

Option 2: 10 Day Quarantine--No COVID-19 Test Required

  • The student may return to school after 10 days if he/she has no symptoms while in quarantine.

 

Students or staff identified as close contacts to a COVID-19 case at school may return to school and follow our Alternate Quarantine Policy for the duration of the monitoring period.

Option 1: Alternative Quarantine Protocol and Agreement

  • Student remains in school but must be in compliance with the following procedures:

o    Parent must sign the Alternative Quarantine Agreement Form

o    Check temperature twice a day for duration of the quarantine period

o    Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

o    Wear a mask for the duration of the quarantine period

o    Notify school nurse immediately if student exhibits symptoms

 

Your child is NOT required to quarantine if he/she has received a positive COVID-19 test result within the last 90 days or has been fully vaccinated; however, appropriate documentation must be provided to school administration (COVID-19 test result). 

 

Unvaccinated students and unvaccinated staff members who live in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 should quarantine in accordance with DPH guidelines.