Outbreaks in School Settings

COVID-19 in Virginia:

 

As a reminder: All data are preliminary and subject to change.

Dashboard Updated: Weekly on Friday

Rationale: This dashboard meets the requirements of HB5048 and SB5081 of the 2020 Virginia General Assembly Special Session Number One that are specific to schools. It helps inform local communities about the impact of COVID-19 in K-12 schools to aid in making decisions that support the health and safety of students and school staff in Virginia. Additional outbreak settings that are listed in these bills will be added soon.

Dashboard Information:

This dashboard lists public and private K-12 schools that are currently experiencing or have experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. Only distinct outbreaks investigated by the local health department and associated cases and deaths related to the school are included. Transmission must occur within the school facility or at a school-sponsored event among students, faculty, staff, or visitors to be classified as a school-associated outbreak.

K-12 schools are defined in this dashboard as public or private primary and secondary schools that provide kindergarten through 12th grade education instruction. K-12 school outbreaks may include pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) students if Pre-K instruction occurs at a K-12 school. 

The presence of an outbreak at a school does not reflect a school's ability to educate its students or to protect the health and safety of its school community. Schools and local health departments work together to identify best practices to prevent and control COVID-19 in schools and to promote a healthy learning environment for students and staff.  

To find out more about an outbreak or the measures in place to protect students, staff, and visitors, please contact the school.

Data Systems Used by VDH for Outbreak Data Monitoring:

VDH uses data from the Virginia Outbreak Surveillance System (VOSS) and the Virginia Electronic Disease Surveillance System (VEDSS). VOSS manages reported outbreaks, while VEDSS manages laboratory data and case investigations. The two systems complement each other but do not contain the same data.

Outbreak-Related Definitions:

  • An outbreak in a school is defined as at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 where persons are linked by a common exposure to an ill person, setting, event, and time period. VDH uses the national outbreak definition. This dashboard reports confirmed outbreaks and associated cases and deaths. Outbreaks reported may involve staff only, students only, or students, staff, and visitors and occur at the school or a school-sponsored event.
  • Outbreaks are labeled as Outbreak in Progress” when the outbreak is ongoing and cases are still being reported and investigated.
  • Outbreaks are labeled as “Pending Closure” if 28 days have passed without a documented new case and the outbreak has not yet been closed in VOSS. There may be delays in confirming the outbreak is closed because the health department has to collect and process the data. This only refers to the outbreak pending closure in VOSS and not at the school.
  • Outbreaks are labeled as “Closed” when two incubation periods (28 days) have passed without onset of new illness and the health district has closed the outbreak in VOSS.

Case Definitions:

VDH follows the CDC COVID-19 Case Definitions for classifying “confirmed” and “probable” cases.

Important Notes about Outbreak-Related Data:

  • Outbreaks on this dashboard represent specific, identifiable outbreak events. A COVID-19 outbreak is considered school-associated when transmission occurs within the school setting or at a school-sponsored event between students, staff, or visitors. For this reason, a school may report that a student or staff who attends their school is positive for COVID-19, but that does not necessarily indicate that a school-associated outbreak has occurred, and the school may not be listed on this dashboard. 
  • The numbers listed only include cases and deaths that are linked to a K-12 outbreak and do not represent the total number of cases that may have occurred within a school community  over the entire pandemic. For example, a student or staff member at a school may test positive for COVID-19 but their exposure to the virus was outside of the school setting, and they did not pass the virus on to anyone at the school; this case will not be counted on this dashboard.
  • Active or recovered cases are not reported. Due to different reporting requirements and case classifications, reporting timelines, and other factors, the data a school reports on its website will likely be different from the data reported by VDH.
  • Some schools may have more than one COVID-19 outbreak occurring at the same time in different settings or may have multiple COVID-19 outbreaks over the course of the year. If this happens, the school name will appear with more than one outbreak associated with it shown by different notification dates on the dashboard. An example of this would be an outbreak in a sports team and an outbreak in a club at the school. Due to confidentiality concerns, this dashboard reports outbreaks at the school level, and not setting. 
  • Any student, staff, or visitor identified as a part of an outbreak during the local health department investigation are included in the number of cases or deaths reported for that outbreak. 
  • The numbers of cases or deaths associated with each outbreak represent both students, staff, and visitors and are based on the information in VOSS and VEDSS. Cases and deaths listed per school are cumulative (total) counts for that specific outbreak. 
  • To help protect anonymity of cases, if fewer than 5 cases or between 0 and 5 deaths are associated with a school outbreak, the counts will be represented by an asterisk (*). Outbreaks are only reported for schools that have at least 30 enrolled students and staff. 
  • Facilities on this dashboard may include public, private, charter, and parochial schools.