Today the Ohio Department of Health released new quarantine guidelines that prompted me to recommend, and the school board to approve, rescinding the requirements that all who enter Nordonia Hills City School District buildings wear masks. This new protocol takes effect immediately.
The goal of the mask mandate always was to keep kids in school. To this point in the school year, 82 students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Because close contacts who wore masks were permitted to stay in school, only 67 students were placed in quarantine. That is an incredible rate of success.
The new quarantine guidelines released today allow kids to stay in school even without mask-wearing, subject to the following conditions:
- Those who are close contacts of someone who tests positive outside of a school setting must continue to follow guidelines of being quarantined away from school.
- Those who are close contacts of someone who tests positive inside a school setting may stay in school if they:
- Wear a mask for 14 days
- Monitor themselves for symptoms
- Isolate and get tested if symptoms develop
- These contacts may be released from quarantine (i.e., unmask) on day 8 if they experience no symptoms and have a negative test between days 5-7. The test must be a proctored PCR or antigen test. It may not be an over-the-counter test that is given without a proctor.
- Those that do not want to wear a mask must quarantine at home.
- Those who are close contacts of someone who tests positive inside a school setting may stay continue to participate in extracurricular activities if they:
- Wear a mask when able: in school, on buses, in locker rooms, and whenever not participating.
- Get tested on the initial notification of exposure.
- Get tested again between days 5-7.
- If the tests are both negative, the student may be released from quarantine on day 8.
- The tests must be proctored PCR or antigen tests.
- Vaccinated students may participate in extracurricular activities and are not required to wear masks, even if they are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person.
- Masks are still required on buses for all riders.
- Masks are still highly recommended and permitted at school. Cold and flu season is here, and masks still provide a layer of protection against the spread of germs.
- Vaccinations are still highly encouraged as the most effective deterrent of COVID-19.
- The vaccine for 5-11 year-olds is expected to be available to Nordonia kids early in November.
I know this can be confusing. Please follow this link for the guidance document from the Ohio Department of Health: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/schools/k-12-schools-quarantine-alternative.pdf