SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Health Departments in the Ozarks released new quarantine procedures after Governor Mike Parson announced changes to school guidance plans.
In the Springfield Greene County Health Department’s new guidelines, a K-12 Springfield Public Schools (SPS) student can avoid traditional quarantine if both students are masked during the potential exposure.
A modified quarantine would only allow students to go to their classes. They would not be allowed to do extracurricular or afterschool activities.
“They would be required to wear a mask at all times, as other students are at school, except for when they’re eating and drinking, and during those moments they would be required to be at least six feet apart from anyone else,” said Stephen Hall, chief communications officer at SPS.
If students were not masked during a potential exposure, they will have to quarantine.
Below is a list of requirements a student must have to qualify for modified quarantine:
There are several conditions that must be met for students to be eligible for modified quarantine.
- If at any time, a child was within 6 feet of an infectious individual for more than 15 minutes while either person was unmasked, they would not be eligible for modified quarantine.
- Schools must adopt and enforce a universal mask ordinance for everyone ages 2 and up without a medical exemption.
- Extended direct physical contact with an infectious individual requires standard quarantine.
- Schools must have significant mitigation strategies in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- A procedure for screening for COVID-19 and immediate isolation of anyone with symptoms must be in place.
- Students in classrooms with more than one positive case linked to classroom spread are not eligible for modified quarantine.
Jon Mooney, assistant director of Springfield-Greene County Health Department, said modified quarantine only applies to students.
“This does not include any adults; even if everyone’s masked, they still need to follow the same standard practices for quarantine,” said Mooney. “This is just pertaining to kids, and it’s because there’s a lower risk of transmission.”
Similar to SPS, the Taney County Health Department (TCHD) teamed up with Taney County Schools to create and release new guidelines with modified quarantines for K-12 students.
Below is a list of highlights of the Taney County Schools guidelines provided by the Taney County Health Department:
- Does not exempt close contacts from quarantine but rather modifies their quarantine to permit school-based education
- Only applies to the school-based educational setting
- Is applicable only when both the COVID-19 positive individual and the close contact, as defined by CDC guidance, are wearing face coverings appropriately throughout the duration of the exposure period
- Allows close contacts to attend school as long as they remain symptom-free, appropriately masked at all times, and as long they are closely monitored for symptom development
- Does not include extracurricular activities, activities outside of the school setting, nor to the general public
- Does not apply when the exposure event occurred outside of a school-based educational setting
TCHD said only schools with a face covering requirement will be allowed modified quarantines for students and staff.
More information can be found about Taney County School’s new guidelines on TCHD’s website.