COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– The Ohio Department of Health released its COVID-19 quarantine guidelines for school districts on Thursday.
The guidance for exposure in K-12 classrooms is dependent on the school’s preventative measures, including the masking and vaccination status of the student, teacher or staff member in contact.
“In-person learning is very important for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of our children,” said Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “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.”
“While children are less likely than adults to get severely ill from COVID-19, they are not invincible and most certainly can, and do, become ill,” Vanderhoff said in a news release on Thursday. “Just like adults, when children become sick from COVID-19, they spread it to others, and can suffer severe health outcomes, or even death. Young children who aren’t yet eligible for vaccines, and those who haven’t yet chosen to be vaccinated, should wear masks indoors, including in schools. For those ages 12 and up, vaccines remain our best protection against COVID-19.”
The state health department also included a flow chart for quarantine after schoolroom exposure. According to the chart, a vaccinated person who is exposed to the virus can remain safely in the classroom and participate in extracurricular activities if they have no symptoms. They should also continue to wear a mask indoors.
A contact who is not vaccinated, but wore a mask and has no symptoms can also remain in the classroom. Masking indoors is also recommended.
An individual who is not vaccinated and did not consistently wear a mask should not attend school or sports. They can return after seven days if they have a negative viral test performed at least five days after exposure, the state health department said.