COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has issued new contact tracing recommendations, including allowing schools to stop universal contact tracing.
In a letter to Ohio’s schools and local health departments Wednesday, ODH Director Bruce Vanderhoff said schools will be expected to help local health departments with contact tracing related to COVID-19 outbreaks in the schools.
The letter states schools should continue to follow the Mask to Stay, Test to Play protocol, meaning any student who has had contact with someone who has contracted the virus wears a mask for 10 days and monitors for symptoms, among other recommendations.
Starting Friday, Feb. 4, schools will be required to report any positive student and staff cases to their local health departments on a weekly basis — by the end of business on Fridays.
In addition to schools, ODH is recommending local health departments switch to “cluster- or outbreak-based” tracing, shifting the contact tracing focus to high-risk settings, which ODH defines as congregate residential settings (shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, etc.) or for outbreaks or clusters in relation to a possible new variant.
A spokesperson for Columbus City Schools said the district will continue to follow its current COVID-19 contact tracing and notification process.