NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH)–A local superintendent is urging the state to consider revising its quarantine policy for k through 12 students.
This is after the New Albany Plains Local Schools superintendent said they’ve had hundreds of quarantines, but few resulting in positive COVID cases.
Superintendent Michael Sawyers said he’s made this request to the governor and top officials with the state for one big reason, and that’s keeping kids in school.
“I’m advocating for change in the quarantine requirements based upon the fact that I’ve sent 526 kids home to quarantine to follow the health and safety guidelines,” he explained.
Of that group of quarantines, Superintendent Michael Sawyers said 26 kids tested positive for COVID-19 after close contact. That’s about 5 percent of the total quarantines.
ODH requires students to quarantine if they are a close contact and are not vaccinated or not masked but can return after a negative antigen test after several days.
“If you’re 5,6, or 7 years old and you’re in kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade it’s really hard for you to not at school because you need that direct math and literacy instruction that would take place on a daily basis,” said Sawyers.
Sawyers worries about the learning opportunities lost for all students in that situation.
Kids under the age of 12 are currently not eligible for the vaccine.
“The virus itself as it is changing is going to point us in the right direction,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the Director of Ohio Department of Health.
They are actively talking about revising the policy.
“I can assure you not only is the Ohio Department of Health and the epidemiological team very carefully examining this question in partnership with local health departments,” said Dr. Vanderhoff.
Sawyers said 90 percent of high school is vaccinated and they’re in the high 70 percent range for 7th and 8th graders.
He hoped to be part ‘test to stay program’ which allows students to stay in school with testing and masking requirements if they don’t show symptoms.
“I respect the fact that they localized it just to Warren county but as soon as they’re able to expand the new opportunity to my families were ready to rock and roll,” said Sawyers talking about the pilot.
Sawyers added if this test to stay program would be approved statewide. He has a supply of 2 thousand antigen tests for parents who would want this option.
New Albany Plain Local Schools does have a mask mandate in place up to October 25th for students pre-K through 6th grade.