Warren County is partnering with the school districts as the county commissioners approved using federal COVID-19 funds to provide a nurse for each district to help with testing and pilot implementation, Isaacs said..
He said there has been a significant amount of new work for school nurses and they cannot be successful without additional assistance. The funding from the county will allow the Warren County Educational Service Center to employ these nurses on behalf of the school districts, Isaacs said.
“We appreciate having another option that families can choose if their child needs to quarantine due to close contact exposure at school. As we all learn to live with COVID-19, we knew as school districts that we needed a more strategic approach to quarantine. Keeping healthy kids at school and sending sick kids home to get better is better for everyone,” said Mason Superintendent Jonathan Cooper.
Ohio Department Health is providing the participating districts with Abbot BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Professional Test kits and Abbott BinaxNOW At-Home Test kits. School districts may administer professional tests at school to identified close contact students. Additionally, families may opt to test their child at home, and then utilize a telehealth session to oversee test administration and result reporting. All families using the at home test kit should follow the Ohio Department of Health User Guide.
Each test must be negative for the student to remain in school. The student must remain symptom-free to remain in school.
Currently, the pilot only applies to students who are close contacts due to exposure at school, not through a community exposure or school-sponsored activity exposure.
Families whose student has been identified as a close contact will have the option to participate in the pilot to stay in school, or they may quarantine for 10 days at home, or return to school on day eight with proof of a negative test on day five, six or seven. Students who are wearing a face mask or are vaccinated do not need to quarantine.
Students who opt into the pilot program and remain in school, must wear a mask indoors for at least seven days after last exposure and must maintain a minimum of three feet distance from others. The mask must be a multi-layer surgical style mask or equivalent that fits snugly over the nose and mouth. Schools may assist in supplying multi-layer surgical masks to students who opt in.
During the quarantine period, the student cannot participate in extracurricular activities. When the student is not in school, they must quarantine at home, officials said.
Schools will be providing a separate area for students to eat where physical distancing of six feet is maintained for the pilot participant. This will allow the participant to safely unmask while eating.