Governor Mike DeWine on Wednesday announced a change to the coronavirus quarantine guidance at Ohio schools.
Now, students and teachers exposed to a COVID-positive person in school are no longer required to quarantine as long as the exposure occurred in a classroom setting and everyone was wearing masks and following other appropriate protocols. This is a departure from CDC guidelines which say anyone exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for two weeks.
“Ultimately, this will be one more step to keeps kids inside the classroom, which is where we know we want them to be,” DeWine said.
The change comes following an evaluation of virus spread in Ohio Schools conducted by researches with the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team.
“Their results support what we’ve been seeing and hearing anecdotally in our schools,” said DeWine. “And that is, as long as students in the classroom wear a mask, as long as they are mask compliant, and do the best they can with socially distance, they do not have an increased risk of catching COVID-19 from a nearby student who may have had it.”
Dr. Doctor Bruce Vanderhoff, state medical director, said the Ohio research involved the testing of 728 students in seven school districts. Preliminary results showed, that “there was no discernible difference in incidence rate among the exposed students and the students who weren’t exposed,” he said.
The rates for both groups were around 3 percent.
Vanderhoff added that it was important to note that this involved students in classroom settings, not extracurricular or other settings.
“Our schools have been doing a tremendous job of implementing robust safety measures,” said Vanderhoff. “When they’re applied daily across the state, our schools represent the safest place for most of our students.”
He added that in addition to being the best place for academic and social progress, there is now data that show schools are also the safest place.
“This evaluation confirms for us that Ohio’s classrooms are a safe place for our students and that the commitment our schools have made to keeping kids safe in the classroom is working,” said Governor DeWine.
Ohio’s guidelines will say that schools should continue to require quarantines for exposed students in situations where masking and distancing protocols were not followed. The updated quarantine guidance does not apply to after-school activities, including sports.
As another way to get students throughout the state back to in-person learning, DeWine also announced that in the next phase of vaccines, adults that work in school settings will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He added that there is no start date as of yet.
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