Return to Headlines

New COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance Helps More Students and Staff Stay in School.

 

1.11.21



Dear Parents and Guardians, 

 

On Thursday, January 7, 2021, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued new guidance on quarantining of close contacts during the school day based on exposure to an individual who tests positive for COVID-19. In addition, Summit County Public Health also issued a Classroom Based Exposure Quarantine Update that follows the ODH guidance. This new guidance is based on a study of data from a sample of Ohio school districts that indicated there was little or no increased potential of school spread of the virus in the classroom setting by close contact if safety protocols were in place. This new study and the subsequent guidelines will reduce the instructional time out of school for students and staff due to close contact.

 

Our district data indicates and supports the findings of the data collected in the study in other Ohio districts.

 

While the definition of close contact has remained the same, under the new guidance, if the exposure occurred outside of 3 feet, the individual (another student or a staff member) within close contact parameters is no longer required to stay home from school for 14 days. This assumes that the exposure occurred within a classroom environment or school bus, and that the infected and exposed individuals were wearing face coverings at all times.

 

Please note that the above guidelines only apply to the school and classroom environment. Students should not attend in-person school if they were exposed to COVID-19 outside of the school day (i.e. while participating in sports or other activities, or if exposed at home). 

 

Close contacts who continue to attend in person instruction should also follow normal protocols for quarantine when outside the PreK-12 classroom environment, including staying at home and, if possible, staying away from people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. During this 14 day time period, students may not participate in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom environment, such as practices, games, or in-person performances. Individuals who are close contacts of positive cases outside of the school environment (e.g., family gatherings or events) are still required to quarantine for 14 days.

 

In summary, we will continue the following:

 

  • Contact tracing and reporting, and notifying parents and staff of positive cases and close contacts;
  • Close contacts in the classroom environment and/or school bus may now continue to attend in-person instruction if the exposure occurred outside of 3 feet with masks on;
  • Athletes identified as close contacts in the classroom environment or school bus may continue to attend in-person instruction if the exposure occurred outside of 3 feet, but will not be able to participate in sports practices or games for 14 days.
  • Close contacts identified outside of the school environment must stay home and can return to school after 14 days.
  • Students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home for 10 days unless they have a doctor’s permission to return to school; and 
  • A positive case may still return to in-person instruction after 10 days from the symptom onset if they are symptom free.

 

We understand that changing guidance can be confusing and challenging. We will continue to review our learning models as we go forward. Our intention is to have all students in school as much as possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.