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COVID Safety/Testing/Exclusion Protocols

USD Forward: COVID Safety/Testing/Exclusion Protocols Header

To view this as a .pdf in both English and Spanish, click HERE.


A Layered Approach to Keeping Students Safely In School

Per CDC and KDHE guidance, the USD 470 health team ultimately recommends the district maintain a layered approach to protecting students, staff, and the community. This layered approach includes masks, physical distancing, appropriate ventilation, hand hygiene, and encouraging vaccinations for those who are eligible.


Physical Distancing

USD 470 will encourage individuals to try to maintain at least 3 ft. of distance between themselves and others.



  • USD 470 will encourage and facilitate regular hand washing breaks and reminders on effective hand washing.
  • USD 470 will encourage good respiratory etiquette.
  • USD 470 will encourage cleaning and disinfecting practices.


Appropriate Ventilation

  • USD 470 will continue to use MERV 13 filters.
  • USD 470 HVAC systems will continue to allow for maximum outside air exchange.



  • USD 470 will follow this mask gating criteria:
  • The district will adopt a 14-calendar day mask mandate by building should that building’s total positive cases and close contacts percentage reach 10%. 
  • During times of masking ALL staff, students, and visitors would be required to wear masks indoors.
  • USD 470 will make this decision based on each building’s COVID data at 10 a.m. each day (to go into effect the following day).
  • COVID-19 impact percentages will be reflected on the USD 470 COVID Dashboard, here:
  • CORRECT mask-wearing will be encouraged (i.e. mask snugly over nose and mouth).
  • Masks WILL be mandatory for an individual who exhibits COVID-like symptoms until they are no longer on school property.
  • Masks are required to be worn by all students/staff members while riding in a school bus or other district vehicle.
  • Mask requirements are subject to change based on community and school transmission and in line with recommendations from federal, state, and local health authorities.
  • Outdoor mask breaks will be encouraged.



  • USD 470 will follow KDHE’s Test to Stay guidelines. 
  • If a fully vaccinated individual is considered a close contact, that person does not need to quarantine following exposure. This also applies to an individual that has tested positive for COVID within six months. They will need to provide the school nurse with proof of vaccination status OR proof they received a positive COVID test within six months. They will also be required to wear a mask for 14 days from the date of exposure.
  • If an individual is considered a close contact, they will be tested with an antigen (rapid) test daily (for up to 10 days) and will be allowed to continue in-person learning as long as the test is negative. Test to Stay only applies to close contacts of a school/school activity-related exposure. Those who are exposed at home will need to follow the quarantine guidance listed in the “Exclusion From School” section below.
  • If the close contact does NOT wish to be tested, they will need to follow quarantine guidance listed in the “Exclusion From School” section below.
  • Antigen (rapid) testing will be staggered throughout the day provided by USD 470 at specified times each school day. 
  • Parent/guardian consent will be required prior to testing a student. Consent can be given via paper form or via an electronic form on PowerSchool.

Exclusion From School (Click HERE to learn more about our exclusion procedure)

  • Individuals who test positive must follow this isolation/quarantine guidance prior to returning to school:
  • Stay home and limit contact with others (as much as possible) for 10 full days OR until they have been fever-free for 72 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) - whichever is LONGER.
  • USD 470 will educate and send regular reminders to staff and students' families about when they should stay home due to illness and when they can return to school.
  • Students with COVID-like symptoms should stay home and inform the school. They should not return until they test negative for COVID, receive an alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider, or complete the required quarantine protocols.
  • Staff members that have COVID symptoms should stay home, inform their administrator/school nurse, and arrange for a test at school or with their healthcare provider.



  • COVID vaccinations are not required for students or staff members, except for those included in the federal requirement. 
  • USD 470 will encourage staff and eligible students to discuss the COVID vaccine with their healthcare provider and to be immunized unless it is medically contraindicated.
  • USD 470 will continue to provide COVID and Influenza vaccination opportunities to eligible students and staff.


This plan was developed based on CDC and KDHE guidance and approved by the USD 470 Board of Education on September 27, 2021. Protocols are subject to change based on updated guidance from national, state, and local health officials.