Ohio changes guidance for schools quarantining students exposed to COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine continued to emphasize the importance of having children learning in school buildings during his news conference on Wednesday.

The governor said that’s why the next phase of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan includes adults working in schools where there are children. These adults, whether they are teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers or other support staff, will have the option to get the vaccine.

“We want them to be able to get vaccinated so we have the opportunity for parents and the opportunity for schools to get kids back in schools,” DeWine said.

There is not an exact date for this phase yet. The current vaccination phase involves health care workers, first responders, and staff and residents at long-term care facilities.

DeWine asked school districts to come up with a number of those needing the vaccine.

The governor also said the Ohio Department of Health is changing its guidance for quarantining students. Earlier this year, the state promised to examine coronavirus transmission rates in school. The team found if students are masked and distanced in class, they did not not have an increased risk of catching the virus from a nearby positive student.

“Because of the data we now have, we’re changing our guidance and are no longer recommending that students who have been exposed to another COVID-positive student quarantine as long as all students have been wearing masks and the exposure took place in a classroom setting,” DeWine said.

Schools should continue to quarantine exposed students if masking and distancing protocols were not followed. This change does not apply to after school activities like sports.

“Ultimately, this is one more step to keep our kids in the classroom, which is where we want them to be,” DeWine said.

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