WHEELING – Changes in the Centers for Disease Control policy have prompted Ohio County Schools to adjust its COVID protocol.
The latest change is that students and staff who have direct contact with a COVID-positive person while in school will no longer be quarantined, according to Amy Minch, attendance director for Ohio County Schools.
“If the contact happens in school, we will deal with it,” she explained.
Out-of-school contact is subject to Ohio County Health Department guidelines.
“(CDC) research showed that students who were contacts at school were less likely to have COVID than if they were contacts at home,” she explained. “We no longer have to follow those guidelines.
“We no longer quarantine contact persons at the school. We still contact parents and keep an eye on symptoms.”
And those infected with the virus should now not be quarantined for that long, Minch added.
The quarantine period – which at one time was as long as 15 days – is now only five days, she said.
This week, Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones informed board members that there would be “a slight change in the course of action” regarding school district policy.
In late December, the board adopted a proposal that allows students and their parents to decide whether to wear masks in the classroom. Students and staff were still required to wear masks when the county was designated as orange or red on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 alert card, but in recent weeks, Ohio County has been listed as yellow or green.
The board move in December also set the quarantine period to 10 days, and now Ohio County Schools has received notice from the State Department of Education that the CDC recommends five days.
“They changed their recommendations, and the state’s recommendations were less restrictive than what our compromise came to,” Jones told board members. “We do not want to have any policies that are more restrictive than what the state recommends.
“To sum up, there is no mask protocol at our schools. No masks (required). There is contact tracking to the extent we only inform the parents. All those things are over, according to state guidance,” he said.