Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, said Friday that he was unsure whether the health district has pursued any court orders to enforce quarantine in the 16-month COVID response. He said he did not think that issue had come up at a school.
Suffoletto said they have not yet issued any new COVID safety guidance to schools.
The first set of K-12 schools to start back begin classes Aug. 9-12. Schools could require different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated students until HB 244 goes into effect in October. No area schools have indicated they plan to do so.
Local schools said one big obstacle to overcome last year was students frequently bouncing in and out of quarantine, missing classes and falling behind in their work.
That lessened somewhat after the state said students who were masked and in class when the exposure happened no longer had to quarantine. But if local schools don’t require masks this fall, that could lead the number of quarantine requirements to surge again.
Troy City Schools is among the districts that have already said they plan to have unvaccinated students quarantine if they have close contact with a COVID case while unmasked. Superintendent Chris Piper said that’s the only situation where students would be asked about COVID vaccination status.
For years, families have submitted their students’ vaccination records to schools, but local schools have been hesitant to ask for COVID vaccination records, amid a charged political atmosphere.
Tierney emphasized two points about HB 244. First, the governor’s office hopes the law is moot, saying they expect the FDA to grant the COVID vaccines full approval before the law would take effect in mid-October.
Multiple news agencies reported Friday that the FDA had granted a “priority review” of the Pfizer vaccine. The target date for an FDA decision was listed anywhere from “two months” to “soon” to “January.”
Tierney also reminded the public that HB 244 does not prevent schools from mandating masks and social distancing. The law just means it has to be a one-size-fits-all approach — rather than holding vaccinated and unvaccinated students to different standards.
Tierney called the COVID-19 vaccines “very safe and very effective.”
“Certainly, a business or (school) would have the opportunity to choose, make everybody mitigate by wearing a mask and social distancing if that’s their choice,” Tierney said. “Those choices are up to each entity.”