FAQ Regarding COVID-19 Quarantine and ‘Test to Stay’ Procedures

What is a “close contact”?

Close contacts are those who have been within 6’ of a COVID-positive individual for more than 15 minutes. The Bay County Health Department notifies the school district of students who have been identified as close contact while away from school, and the district schools keep track of cases that occur in school buildings.

Who determines the need to quarantine students?

The Bay County Health Department has specific guidelines regarding quarantine and Test to Stay procedures. The district complies with these guidelines by sharing COVID positive and close contact information with the health department.

What is ‘Test to Stay’ and why is Bay City Public Schools participating?

Test to Stay is an optional program for school districts. It involves rapid testing students who have been identified as close contact cases on the morning of days 1-5, 7, and 9 after exposure. Our district has chosen to participate because it allows students to remain in a face-to-face learning environment rather than quarantine. It is also an effective way to find new COVID cases quickly and let COVID-positive students begin isolating.

Who administers the rapid tests?

School staff and district nurses who have been trained on rapid test kits are authorized to administer the test to students whose parent/guardian have opted in to Test to Stay and completed the required paperwork.

Can any student or family member request a rapid test at schools?

No, only students and staff who have been identified as close contact/quarantine cases can receive the test. If you or your child is experiencing COVID symptoms, we recommend utilizing one of the many free test sites throughout the community.

If my child is in school under Test to Stay, can we get tested somewhere else and give those results to our school?

All Test to Stay rapid tests must be administered at the child’s school (or another district testing site). This ensures we have accurate, timely results.

What if my child tested negative but begins experiencing symptoms?

Rapid antigen tests detect the virus in individuals with a high viral load. When testing is done too early after exposure, a false negative is possible (which is why we test multiple days in Test to Stay). If a student is experiencing symptoms after a negative test, we ask that they quarantine and get tested again at another site (free test sites throughout the community).

What if my child tested positive and has no symptoms?

Rapid antigen tests measure proteins which are indicative of COVID-19 in both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons. In very rare instances, this test can give a positive result that is wrong (a false positive result). If you are concerned about this, we advise you to obtain a follow-up PCR test. If the additional test is negative, contact the Bay County Health Department to discuss how this might change the quarantine status.

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