COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance for state schools Monday.  

State health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff laid out two scenarios, called “mask to stay” and “test to play.”

  • “Mask to stay” allows a student to remain in the classroom after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case as long as they wear a mask for 14 days, with the option to stop wearing the mask after seven days if the student shows no symptoms and tests negative between the fifth and seventh days.
  • “Test to play” refers to participation in extracurricular activities. To continue to participate, a student must show no symptoms and wear a mask when possible, such as on buses. In addition, the student must test immediately to prove they do not have COVID-19, and then again between the fifth and seventh days.

Vanderhoff said either a PCR or antigen test is acceptable, but tests administered at home are not.

“Vaccination remains our best protection,” he said. “Nevertheless, the updated quarantine guidelines we’re sharing today will allow for as much in-school learning as possible even as we continue our effort to battle COVID-19.”

In Ohio, 99.8% of public school students are in school five days a week as of last Thursday, according to data from the Department of Education. Only one school district is fully remote.

Districts are allowed to set their own mask policies. Just over 56% of students are in a district that requires masks for all students, and 13% learn where masks are required for some students. That leaves just over 3 in 10 Ohio public school students who go to school with masks optional.

Ohio’s K-12 schools continue to see a decline of COVID-19 cases among their students and staff.