Protocols

University School of Milwaukee works closely with the North Shore Health Department to follow their COVID-19 guidance, as well as the guidance of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the school works with other area health departments as needed, as it serves students from nearly 60 different ZIP codes in Southeastern Wisconsin.

The exact steps taken by USM with any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in our school community will vary and be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the following high-level examples provide information about what families can expect in the event of positive COVID-19 cases in our community. Although written in the first person, these actions for each scenario also apply to a family’s minor children.

  • Stay home.
  • Contact your doctor to discuss testing options, or seek testing from a community testing site.
  • If testing is performed and the result is positive for COVID-19, you must stay isolated for 10 days from the first day or symptoms, and all immediate family members and close contacts must quarantine (see Quarantine Protocol Options section below).
  • If polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is performed and the result is negative for COVID-19, you may return to work/school when any fever has subsided for at least 24 hours and you are feeling better following your non-COVID-19 illness.
  • If testing is performed and the result is negative for COVID-19, family members do not need to quarantine.
  • Begin your quarantine period (see Quarantine Protocol Options section below), staying home and limiting contact with others, including household family members.
  • Contact your doctor to discuss testing recommendations.
  • If testing is performed and the result is positive for COVID-19, you must stay isolated for 10 days from the time of the positive test, regardless of how long you have already been in quarantine.
  • You must remain in quarantine for your entire quarantine period, even if the result is negative for COVID-19.

USM will also share its current data on the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine by division, for students, as well as for the school’s faculty/staff daycare children, and all staff. This will be published at the end of each school day on the home page of this site.

If a USM student is found to have been in close contact (defined as 15 or more minutes within 6 feet or less in any 24-hour period) with an individual who we have been notified has received a positive COVID-19 test, someone from the USM Nurse Clinic will attempt to contact that family by phone and/or email, and a hard-copy letter will also be sent to the family.

Quarantine Protocol Options

In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance for individuals having close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. With the approval of the North Shore Health Department, USM now follows the new 7- and 10-day quarantine period guidance. It is important to understand how the two periods differ, and how they will work in practice here at school.

7-Day Quarantine Option

  • Quarantine period of 7 calendar days, with return to campus on day 8 (or later)
  • Quarantined individual must be tested (rapid antigen or PCR test) on day 6 and receive/share negative test result prior to return
  • Individual must be COVID-19 symptom-free during entire quarantine period and at time of return to campus

10-Day Quarantine Option

  • Quarantine period of 10 calendar days, with return to campus on day 11 (or later)
  • Quarantined individual does NOT need to be tested prior to return, although USM and/or physician may still recommend testing
  • Individual must be COVID-19 symptom-free prior to return

14-Day Quarantine

  • Still the “gold standard” option.
  • Quarantined individual does NOT need to be tested prior to return, although USM and/or a physician may still recommend testing
  • Individual must be COVID-19 symptom-free prior to return

The science of the COVID-19 incubation period (2–14 days) has not changed; therefore, individuals must still observe themselves for 14 days despite the shortened 7- and 10-day quarantine options.

Families—in consultation with our nurse clinic, their local health department, and/or their physician or another medical professional—will be able to follow either of the 7- or 10-day quarantine options, depending on their situation, and this decision (or any changes to it) must be communicated to the USM nurse clinic. In certain situations, it is possible that USM may choose to make the decision to still require a longer (14-day individual or 24-day family) quarantine, again following CDC guidance and the recommendations of the school’s medical team.