The 2020-2021 school year will start next week for Atchison County students. Classes start Monday, August 24, for Fairfax R-3 School and Tarkio R-I School, and Wednesday, August 26, for Rock Port R-II School.

With the start of a new school year beginning in the next week, a school algorithm (below) has been approved by the Atchison County Medical Director for Atchison County Schools. The algorithm details steps to follow if students are exposed to COVID-19 or display symptoms of the virus.

• High risk symptoms include: any new cough, difficulty breathing, and loss of taste or smell.

• Low risk symptoms include: fever (>100.4), congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, headache, and myalgia (muscle aches and pains).

With students heading back to school, there comes a risk of COVID-19 transmission. If you have a child going to college and living in a dorm, have them pack an emergency COVID-19 bag in case they test positive and have to quarantine. The possibility exists that your child may test positive and have to leave his or her dorm for a quarantine location. It would be so much easier to ask a roommate to grab this specific bag versus trying to figure out what he or she will want/need for two weeks.

Some suggestions of what to pack in this COVID-19 quarantine bag include:

• List of important contacts’ names and phone numbers written out

• List of any allergies

• Multiple changes of clothing

• Blanket and pillow

• Hygiene products such as toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, deodorant, hair brush, hair ties

• Towel or wash cloths

• Thermometer

• Medical supplies such as cough drops, Tylenol and cold medicine, prescription medications, tissues

• Face masks

• Snacks

• Extra cell phone charger

• Books, deck of cards, crossword puzzles, etc.