Carlisle Superintendent David Vail said it was great to see the students back in schools and believes the three to five days off helped students.
Vail said the district had a few positive COVID-19 cases last week and about 105 students in quarantine. He said students were absent also for various seasonal illnesses such allergies, colds and strep throat.
“I’m seeing a lot more masks being worn today,” he said. “More students are wearing masks and modeling the example being set by staff and administrators.”
Masks remain optional for students and staff in the school building. However, bus drivers and students on the bus are required to wear them during transportation.
Vail said COVID-19 test kits have been delivered to the district from the Ohio Department of Health.
Warren County school superintendents received a nod from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to try a pilot program proposed by them to relax some of the state quarantine guidelines to keep more students in the classrooms.
Warren County ESC Superintendent Tom Isaacs said DeWine and Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, state health director, agreed to the pilot project, but Vanderhoff added a testing component that would require a COVID-19 test on the third day after exposure, and a second test in days five through seven.
The proposed pilot program would allow unvaccinated students exposed to coronavirus at schools without a mask mandate to remain in class.
Warren County’s 10 school superintendents recently sent a letter seeking to implement a pilot program to keep kids in school who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but are healthy and exhibit no symptoms.
Under ODH guidelines, students exposed to coronavirus should be required to be quarantined at home if they’re not vaccinated and their school doesn’t require face masks, social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention policies.
ODH shipped COVID-19 test kits last week and the Warren County Education Services Center distributed test kits to the local districts.
The multi-tiered plan provides when an unvaccinated student, who is not wearing a mask, is identified as a close contact, the following three options would be given to families:
- Traditional quarantine: Ten days at home or return to schools on day seven with proof of a negative test result on day five, six, or seven.
- Mandatory mask quarantine: If the student is symptom-free, he/she is allowed to return to school wearing a mask for 10 days.
- Modified mask and testing quarantine: If the student is symptom-free, they are allowed to return to school wearing a mask. On day five, they will have the option to take a rapid test at school. If the test results are negative, they will continue to follow the current mask status for their specific school and grade level.
However, if a student has symptoms, they need to stay home.
In the letter, school officials stated that because they’ve been quarantining healthy students at home, it harms students’ mental health, hurts educators’ ability to teach, sows “distrust and anger” in the community and financially hurts students’ parents and caretakers.