STEM to Implement Test-to-Stay Program

Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Families,

We first want to start by saying thank you to our entire community for their patience and understanding over the last few weeks since we’ve come back from winter break. We understand that this has been a challenging time and we appreciate the trust that you’ve placed in us that we are following all the guidance, guidelines and procedures set forth by CDC, CDPHE, DCHD and DCSD.

Our School Nurse, Mallory Jimenez, works each day with the lead epidemiologist at Jogan Health, which is the contracted health agency of the Douglas County Health Department, to report and also review our cases. Jogan Health then provides her with the next steps that we must follow and then that information is communicated with our families.

We know that some of these guidelines are very restrictive to some students in our community and we’ve shared that feedback with the Health Agency in the hopes that they can provide us with additional options.

One option that is available to us is what DCSD is calling Test to Stay. If a school is in Outbreak Status, they can utilize this option for students who are unvaccinated. Details are outlined below (see this graphic for more information).

If you have been identified as a close contact, or someone who has been exposed to COVID and are unvaccinated, and have no symptoms, you can:

Option 1: Test to Stay

  • School approved test on Day 5 while still attending in-person, and
  • Wear a mask for 10 days while monitoring for symptoms, and
  • If symptoms begin, seek testing and isolate immediately.
  • Families can voluntarily submit their student’s negative test result using this form.
  • If your student does test positive, you should email our school nurse at nurse@stemk12.org.

Option 2: Quarantine (parent must call attendance line indicating their student is in quarantine)

  • Students will quarantine for five days and
  • Wear a mask for 10 days and
  • Test on day 5 and
  • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days and
  • If symptoms begin, seek testing and isolate immediately.

A school-approved test can be a test that the parents obtain on their own or by visiting a community testing site. While we do have an on-site testing program on Tuesdays, families should not rely on this option as the number of open spots available for testing fills up quickly each week. Symptomatic students and staff should never enter the school for any reason including getting a Covid test.

If you have been identified as a close contact, have been exposed to COVID and are vaccinated, and/or had COVID in the past 90 days and are recovered, you can:

  • Self-monitor:
    • Wear a Mask for 10 days, while still attending in-person and
    • Test on day 5 and
    • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days and
    • If symptoms begin, seek testing and isolate immediately.

Extracurricular Activities: Previously, all extracurricular activities were considered high risk. However, now with the Test to Stay program, students will not need to quarantine but rather follow the testing recommendations per Test to Stay. If testing cannot be found then the alternative is that the student should quarantine.

We are striving to do everything that we can to remain in person as safe as possible, while also still staying compliant with all of the federal, state and local guidelines that are in place. We will continue to keep you informed of any and all changes as they come through.

Thank you to our entire community for cooperating with the complexities of compliance. Each day STEM can offer in-person learning is a victory for our students.

Thank you again,
Your STEM Leadership Team

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