San Diego Unified's Nursing and Wellness Department Offers Q&A for La Jolla COVID-19 Case, Parent Recommendations

Posted: Saturday, March 21st 2020


SAN DIEGO - Earlier this week, San Diego Unified was informed by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency that a person(s) connected with several schools in the La Jolla community tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The schools impacted by this announcement are Bird Rock Elementary, La Jolla Elementary and La Jolla High School.

The district knows how concerning this news is, and we want to provide you with as much information as possible. However, because of privacy restrictions, no additional details about the individual(s) can be released. San Diego Unified is notifying individuals who may have been exposed.

Our nursing and wellness department developed these Questions & Answers are based on inquiries we have read on social media and emails sent to school principals. 

Q. Regarding the person(s) who tested positive for COVID-19 on a school campus, parents need to know how much time this person spent on campus and in what capacity. 

A, San Diego HHSA (the local public health department) defines what constitutes a potential contact with a known COVID-19 positive individual. That decision is based on the CDC’s estimation that a few minutes within 6 feet of that individual is enough to transmit the virus. In a situation where there may have been several days of interaction with one or more known positive cases, public health department directed our school district to recommend that the entire school community (students and staff) consider themselves to be possible contacts. 

Q. We need to know when this (COVID-19 positive) person first started showing symptoms and when this person was tested. 

A. Symptoms of infected person(s) began on March 2, 2020 and lasted at least two weeks. The public health department notified the school district of positive testing on Tuesday March 17, 2020. 

Q. We need to know how this person was interacting with students and faculty. 

A. San Diego HHSA (the public health department) conducts all investigations by interviewing contacts of those people identified to have a positive COVID-19, including how this person was interacting with students and faculty. Although the details of that investigation are not given in detail to the school, the actions to take as a result of that investigation are. Based on the CDC’s estimation that a few minutes within 6 feet of a person known to have COVID-19, is how San Diego HHSA directed school officials to define who is a contact. 

Q. Why isn’t there a contact tracing effort underway? Are you suggesting that everybody at these three schools is expected to become infected? 

A. It is not expected that everyone at these three schools will become infected because they may have or did have contact at school with COVID-19 positive individuals. Even household contacts of known COVID-19 positive individuals do not all become infected, and chances of infection are even smaller for community contact, such as in a school setting. Nevertheless, the chances of contracting COVID-19 may be higher than they would be without a known COVID-19 person in their midst. That is why people in those three schools may be more likely to become eligible for the COVID-19 test, than persons with no known potential contact with a COVID-19 individual. 

Nursing and Wellness also provided the below Q&A in response to COVID-19 and quarantine concerns: 

Q. For those students who are at home, what would you suggest for parents to do to keep them active? 

A. Parents should consider making and posting on the kitchen fridge, a daily schedule of activities.  Without any structure, children will get bored more quickly.  As children age, the activities can be longer in duration (1-2 hours for an adolescent, but only 15 to 20 minutes for a preschooler, for example).  

For parents with access to the Internet, make sure that not all activities are “on-line”, as too much screen time is not healthy for the brain. Some online activities are educational (e.g., there are virtual tours of museums -- with many museums all over the world that offer these).  Again, these activities are great, but should be limited in time. 

Non-screen time activities can include (depending on the age group):  games like “hide and seek” (hiding oneself) or Hiding Toys (“getting warmer”), reading (any age); writing a book or comic book about one’s situation;  building temporary doll houses out of books or other such household supplies; making a “domino” effect using books;  a fashion show; Camping in the living room (and all the planning in advance).

Q. Should students play outside? Play with a friend? 

A. We recommend any activity that does not involve contact (i.e., within 6 feet) with any new person. By a “new person”, anyone who does not live in the same home as a student. So playing with a sibling or other family member who lives in the same household is fine. 

Q. Playing outdoors, versus indoors?

A. This depends on individual circumstances. If playing outdoors means that a child will be mingling with (or even tempted to mingle with) other children in the neighborhood, then that location outdoors should be avoided. However, if there is a more private area or where the temptation for two children to mingle does not exist (a balcony, a backyard, a neighborhood with very few people on the streets), that is okay.  Some cities have closed public parks, because they are worried that children will mingle there, inadvertently spreading the virus. 

Q. What kind of healthy foods can parents make that would help children/students boost their immune system and stay strong? 

A. Just because you are home all day near a fridge, does not make it a good idea to snack all day.  Eating 3 solid meals and if desired, a healthy snack is recommended.  As with activities, structure is important for food and beverage intake. The best beverage between meals is water.  It is always good to stay hydrated.  A serving or two of fruit and/or vegetables at each meal is important.  

Q. If a parent or members of a family get the coronavirus, and a child/student does not, how can said person or persons prevent the child or other family members from getting the virus? 

A. If a person in a student’s household has symptoms, and that person is known to have or may have coronavirus, try to maintain distance. All in the household should wash hands and surfaces with some frequency.  It has been shown that not all household members will get the virus, it is just an increased likelihood.  

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