Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021
Management structure for school screening
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) provides guidance and shares knowledge with local health departments and the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE). NDHHS is collaborating with NDE to build a long-lasting surveillance system for absenteeism due to illness to monitor for potential outbreak situations and to provide infection prevention and control (IPC) training for school staff where requested. Guidance is provided to NDE and LHDs who in turn work with the individual local schools in their jurisdiction to encourage best practices.
If a school requests testing, they will contact their local health department first. NDHHS will then provide the testing, including providing staff, supplies, lab costs, and other resources to support the implementation. Types of supplies NDHHS will be providing include:
- Child-sized masks: NDHHS will provide these directly to families via the schools, with a focus to increase access to those families who choose to have their children use masks at school.
- Tissues/Kleenex: although schools have requested parents to provide this item, better utilization of tissues will contribute to decreased spread of germs.
- Rapid antigen tests to be provided either directly to schools or to the response team
- HEPA Filter Machines & Replacement HEPA Filters will be available to schools, either directly through the NDHHS or through the local health departments
- Filters for existing HVAC systems will also be available to schools, either directly through the NDHHS or through the local health departments
Support provided to school districts
Schools will, at their discretion, evaluate the need for outbreak testing. NDHHS will provide ongoing guidance as to when community transmission levels of COVID-19 reach outbreak levels. Ultimately it is the decision of the school or school district when to utilize funds for outbreak screening testing. Using data collected from the Absenteeism Surveillance Survey, NDHHS will notify local health departments if a school reports absenteeism above 10% due to illness. If there are high enough numbers, schools may request outbreak testing.