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School Board Set To Vote On New Covid-19 Protocols

The updated protocols change when infected and "close-contact" students and staff can return to school.

District students and staff either infected or in close contact with someone who is infected with the coronavirus would be able to return to school sooner, but with more restrictions, under updated Covid-19 protocols set to be voted on by the Board of Education at its January 27 meeting.

The updated protocols come amid ever-increasing numbers of students and staff testing positive for the virus.

As of January 24, the latest date for which numbers are available, a total of 651 students and staff had tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the school year, with 330 cases in January alone. That includes 423 students, 217 staff members and 11 vendors, according to district statistics.

Under the current protocol, students and staff who tested positive for the virus were to isolate for 10 days. The proposed changes leave that requirement in place for Pre-K students.

The new protocol calls for all others who tested positive – with or without symptoms and those who have not been tested for Covid-19 – to isolate themselves for five days. Those who remain symptom-free, or whose symptoms have resolved, can return to school on day 6.

From days 6 to 10, they must follow additional guidelines, including:

  • wearing masks indoors and outdoors
  • practice social distancing at lunch to the extent possible
  • wear masks for gym, music and dance classes
  • wear masks during extra-curricular activities
  • not participate in athletics or the CARE program.

Those who tested positive and who have either developed symptoms or whose symptoms have not resolved cannot return to school on day 6.

Currently, those who were in close contact with a Covid-19-positive person, and who had not been fully vaccinated, have to quarantine for 10 days, although some were allowed to return to school on day 8 if they tested negative. Those who were in close contact with a Covid-19-positive person and who had been fully vaccinated were not required to isolate, but had to keep an eye on symptoms.

The new protocol removes the quarantine requirement for those who do not have symptoms and who are:

  • are at least 12 years old, are fully vaccinated and up to date on any booster doses that they are eligible for or;
  • those who are 5 to 11 years old and are fully vaccinated or
  • those who have had Covid in the past 90 days.

They do have to have a Covid test and must follow the return to school guidelines listed for those who tested positive.

Those who are in close contact with a positive person and who don’t meet the criteria above, or those who do meet the criteria but have symptoms, must quarantine for five days. They can return to school for days 6 through 10 if they have no symptoms and test negative for the virus, but they, too, must follow the back-to-school guidelines during that time.

The district has created flow charts to illustrate the proposed changes. They can be accessed here.

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