Ohio’s health department sets guidelines for COVID-19 quarantines


FILE – In this July 14, 2020, file photo, amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, Aiden Trabucco, right, wears a mask as he raises his hand to answer a question behind Anthony Gonzales during a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas. School districts that plan to reopen classrooms in the fall are wrestling with whether to require teachers and students to wear face masks — an issue that has divided urban and rural schools and yielded widely varying guidance. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio’s Department of Health has updated its guidelines for when to quarantine students or staff members if there’s a COVID-19 case in the classroom.

“In-person learning is very important for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of our children,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the state’s chief medical officer. “Developing guidelines that will allow well-protected students to be able to remain in the classroom as much as possible – even if there has been an exposure to COVID-19 – help facilitate that important in-person learning this year.”

Under the guidelines, released Thursday, quarantining is recommended only if an unvaccinated person is exposed to a person with COVID-19, was not consistently wearing a mask, if there was not at least three feet of space between desks, and if other prevention measures were not in place.

It is recommended such a person not attend school or participate in extracurricular activities. They could return after seven days with a negative test performed at least five days after the exposure. If the person tests positive, then they should isolate for at least 10 days.

The Department of Health is recommending that everyone in schools wear masks regardless of whether they have been vaccinated and that there is at least three feet between desks, among other safety and sanitary measures.

Ohio school districts have the authority to set their own mask guidelines, with some mandating them for at least certain grade levels, and others leaving masks optional.

An overview of the state guidelines can be found here.

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