Explaining ‘Close Contact”

Today, Friday, 17 July, Union High School will have successfully completed our 6th week of on-site education since the reopening of schools. To date, Union High School has, fortunately, not been directly impacted by a confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As the pandemic spreads, planning for the possibility of such a situation has, however, been a top priority and Union would like to take this opportunity to assure our community that in the event that this should happen, strict protocols will be followed, as per the guidelines provided to us by the Department of Education, to ensure the safety of the learners and educators.
Although the school has had no confirmed cases, we have noticed an increase in ‘close contact’ cases within the local community, i.e. people who have been in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for the virus.
The school has protocols in place for ‘close contact’ cases as well and parents are asked to please familiarise themselves with the following information to limit the risk to our school community:
What does being a ‘close contact’ mean?
A ‘close contact’ is defined as someone who has been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, but does not have any symptoms themselves.
‘Close contact’ means that you had face-to-face contact within 1 metre or were in a closed space for more than 15 minutes with a person with COVID-19. This contact happened while the person with COVID-19 was still “infectious”, i.e. from 2 days before to 14 days after their symptoms began. You are not a ‘close contact’ if you’ve had contact with someone considered to be a ‘close contact’, only if you yourself have been in contact with a person with COVID-19.

For example, you may be someone who:

1. Lives in the same household as a person with COVID-19.

2. Works closely in the same environment as a person with COVID-19.

3. Sat in the same classroom as a person with COVID-19.

4. Attended the same gathering as a person with COVID-19.

5. Provided direct care for a person with COVID-19 in a healthcare setting without using the proper personal protective equipment.

6. Sat within two seats (1 metre) in any direction of a person with COVID-19 case in any kind of vehicle including buses, minibus taxis, etc.

If a learner has been identified as being a ‘close contact’ of a confirmed case of COVID-19, they are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days while being monitored for symptoms. They may not attend school. No tests are needed. Just 14 days of self-isolation from last contact if you do not show any symptoms. If you do develop symptoms, you’ll be required to start another 14-days of isolation from start of symptoms.

If you have been around someone who was identified as a ‘close contact’ to a person with COVID-19, you should closely monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. You do not need to self-isolate. Parents must please notify the Headmaster immediately should their child be identified as a ‘close contact’. The Headmaster can be contacted directly on either 049 891 0262 or headmaster@unionschools.co.za

The learners will still be provided with at-home online-based educational support during their time of self-isolation to ensure continuity of education.

Parents are welcome to contact the school if they have any questions in this regard. In closing, we once again want to assure our parents of Union’s continued commitment to the well-being of our learners. We take every precautionary measure possible to ensure that our classrooms, venues and grounds are safe environments for our kids at all times.