Springs Symptom Reminders & A Word from APH

Susie Demarest & Bridget Brown
We know this time of year brings many normal colds, allergies, and sore throats along with the potential for strep, the flu, and more, plus the day-to-day younger child issues of teething, food sensitivities causing mucus, and so on. This year, we also have COVID-19 symptoms to contend with.
Dear Springs Families, 

We know this time of year brings many normal colds, allergies, and sore throats along with the potential for strep, the flu, and more, plus the day-to-day younger child issues of teething, food sensitivities causing mucus, and so on. This year, we also have COVID-19 symptoms to contend with. And as you are all very aware, these illnesses share many common symptoms, so we wanted to re-share our guidance around how we handle students with symptoms. Below is a brief key points summary, as well as a full message if you have time to read.

Key Points Summary: 

  • Austin is currently in Stage 5. While numbers are leveling out, Preschool aged children have a high positivity rate of 12% according to Dr. Mark Escott.
  • If your child is experiencing ANY symptom of COVID-19, please do not send your child to school. 
  • For students who experience regular recurring allergy, asthma, or baseline symptoms like runny nose and cough will be permitted to attend school with a doctor’s note outlining their non-COVID diagnosis.
  • Our goal is to keep the school open and operating with a healthy community. Your diligence will help us stay open.

Full Message: 

Runny Noses and Other Symptoms

This week there has been an uptick in runny noses and congestion. As you well know with the Magnus App COVID-19 Screening, there are questions about various symptoms, including: “New congestion or runny nose (for students with chronic allergies, a change in their congestion or runny nose from baseline).” But the question also rises, what if my child didn’t experience allergies before but their symptoms seem similar to allergies? Or, “Is this a normal cold?”

According to our COVID-19 Addendum, “For students who experience regular recurring allergy, asthma, or baseline symptoms like runny nose and cough will be permitted to attend school with a doctor’s note outlining their symptoms.” WIth very young students, we know that this season may be the first year that they are experiencing symptoms related to allergies. That makes it the perfect time to take your child to their primary care provider to follow up. 

If your primary care provider suggests a COVID-19 test, that means they believe there is a chance that their symptoms are related to COVID-19, which means your child should be kept home from school until you receive their test results. 

If your child is experiencing any one of these symptoms of COVID-19, they should not come to school:
  • Fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Chills  
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of Breath* 
  • Loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore Throat    
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Congestion or Runny Nose  
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain

Notes from Austin Public Health

Austin Public Health has asked us to be especially diligent with all COVID symptoms given the widespread transmission levels, even understanding that runny noses are prevalent for our population at this time. Your hard work and diligence is not going unnoticed. There have been record-low absenteeism and illnesses being spread in the classroom to students and guides. We know that it’s hard when you have a sick child at home, but your care for the community is very much seen. Your diligence is keeping us open, even in Stage 5. Below is a chart that Mark Escott presented last week (video here | slides here). The biggest takeaway is that the positivity rate is 12% for Preschool-aged children in Austin, which is an increase from 10% last week. It is more important than ever to follow our protocols closely.
 

How to Return To Campus After Experiencing a Symptom/s

When your child is out due to a symptom or symptoms, we ask that you reach out to your physician for telemedicine or an appointment. If you explain symptoms and your doctor requests COVID-19 testing, that is a good indicator that they are concerned that it could be COVID-19. 

We also want to acknowledge that we know this is more of a burden on your family. But your care will allow us to stay open and protect our guides from illness. 

What’s Required to Return
Contact your doctor/healthcare provider for guidance, including isolation and/or testing. 
A return to school note from your doctor/healthcare provider with details on when your child is able to return.
  • If your doctor prescribes testing, a negative TR-PCR test result will allow a student to come back sooner from isolation. We will not accept a negative rapid test.

Items to Note:
  • Alternative Diagnosis from Doctor
    • If your doctor gives an alternative diagnosis, your child may return to school as long as they are fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving (this is our standard policy).
  • Siblings
    • Siblings not showing symptoms may attend school as normal.
      • However, if your child who is experiencing symptoms tests positive, any siblings, household members, or others who fit the description of a close contact must quarantine for 10 days without testing OR 7 days with a negative test.
  • Doctor’s Note
    • There is not an official format for notes pertaining to COVID-19, but the Texas Medical Association has developed a COVID-19 Physician Return to School Letter for Students (linked here) as a resource for physicians.
We appreciate your help in keeping our community safe. You can read more about our school policies here in the COVID 19 Addendum in the Student & Family Handbook. And if you have questions, please reach out. 

Thank you again, 
Susie & Bridget

Susie Demarest
Early Childhood Director
s.demarest@headwaters.org
Bridget Brown
Springs Campus Manager
b.brown@headwaters.org
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Springs Campus

18 months to Pre-K
6305 Menchaca Rd.
Austin, TX 78745
Phone: 512-443-8843

Creek Campus

Elementary School
9607 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX 78748
Phone: 512-804-2708
Fax: 512-628-4810

River Campus

Middle & High School
807 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-480-8142
Fax: 512-480-0278