Earlier this week, the Ohio Department of Health released modified procedures for when a student or staff member is a close-contact of a positive case of COVID-19 in the school setting (during the school day or during a school activity). This is a result of data that points toward a low number of individuals testing positive after being a close-contact in the school setting. Hancock Public Health will follow this procedure and I want to pass the details along.
Attending School ("Mask to Stay")
If a student or staff member is a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case in the school setting:
- The asymptomatic close-contact can remain in school, wearing a mask (except when eating/drinking) for 14 days (calendar days, not school days) OR
- The asymptomatic close-contact can remain in school, wear a mask (except when eating/drinking) and test between days 5-7 after exposure. If the test is negative, then the contact can stop wearing a mask on day 8 OR
- The close contact can quarantine at home for 14 days.
Extra-Curricular Activities ("Test to Play")
Students who participate in extracurricular activities may “test to play” – the asymptomatic close-contact should take a COVID test as soon as first notified of exposure. If negative, they should still mask when possible (on transportation, in the locker room, etc) for 14 days. They should test again between days 5-7 post-exposure to discontinue normal quarantine procedures on day 8 as long as they remain negative and have no symptoms.
For the tests referenced above, Hancock Public Health has provided home tests that use telehealth to confirm the test result - which is free of charge. Those tests are available upon request from Mrs. Jamison, our school nurse. There was some question about the home tests provided by Hancock Public Health. They do have an expiration date that is past. The health department is aware of that and shared this letter from the manufacturer extending the expiration date of these tests.
If your child is a close-contact of a positive COVID-19 case outside of school or school activities, then the 14-day at-home quarantine is still in place for those instances, although a negative test can shorten the length.
If your child is not identified as a close contact, our mask policy remains the same - masks and face coverings are highly recommended indoors. In the case a student or staff member is identified as a close contact, Hancock Public Health is furnishing us a letter that will provide families their options for quarantine alternatives as listed above.
We're happy that our students can remain in school when identified as a close contact as that's our ultimate goal - keeping kids in class. We appreciate everyone's cooperation and patience with this - while it keeps kids in school, it adds complexity to the process. In cases where the health department order is not followed (not quarantining or wearing the mask if returning as a close contact), we are obligated to report those instances to Hancock Public Health.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or our nurse, Mrs. Jamison.
Jenni Jameson, nurse