On Monday, the Indiana State Department of Health released this new guidance document. The Centers for Disease Control also issued general guidance this week.
Here are a few major changes from previous guidance:
- Any student or staff member who is excluded from school due to symptoms may now return as soon as 72 hours after exclusion with a negative COVID-19 test result. This result must be provided in order to return to school.
- The length of some quarantines has changed if isolation at home is not possible. If a student becomes symptomatic, all siblings must immediately go home. The family must remain home until a test result is received. If the test result is positive, all family members will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If the positive case can be isolated in the home, the length of quarantine for the rest of the family is 14 days. If the positive cannot be isolated, the 14-day quarantine cannot begin until Day 9 of symptoms, or Day 14 if the positive is asymptomatic. This means a quarantine for a sick family member may last as long as 28 days in the event isolation is not possible. These are ISDH requirements. Our district may not vary from these protocols.
- At Governor Holcomb's press conference this week, ISDH officials announced a new system for evaluating when schools should close. A formula has been created to determine on a county-by-county basis whether COVID-19 spread in across one county warrants all schools in that county to be open, hybrid, or fully virtual. We expect additional guidance from ISDH with details on this plan next week.
We want to stress that these protocols come from health officials at the federal, state, and local levels. These decisions are not made by district or building level administrators. We understand these rules are changing frequently and we appreciate your patience and cooperation as our district makes adjustments to our plans to remain in compliance with these requirements.