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Health department changes

school quarantine protocol

 

12-23-2020

 

Following new directives from the health department, both the North and South Sanpete School Districts are changing quarantine protocols for COVID-19, and therefore, allowing more students to stay in the classroom.

Both districts are basing their decision on a study from the Central Utah Public Health District, which monitored school quarantines from August through early December. The data shows that less than 0.5 percent of school quarantines have become positive COVID-19 cases, according to a memo from Ralph Squire, superintendent of the South Sanpete School District.

The North Sanpete District also sent out a similar notice to all their parents and staff, stated Nan Ault, superintendent. In an email response to the Messenger, Ault wrote, “This directive is based on data collected by the health department since school has been in session. It is the steps we will progressively see to keep students in the classroom.”

In a nutshell, Sanpete area students will no longer be required to quarantine from in school COVID exposures when: Proper mask-mask wearing has been observed and the student who was exposed is not symptomatic.

The South Sanpete School District memo stated they will stop the 7-day test and return process as well. “We will continue to contract trace and verify proper face mask-wearing in each instance. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will continue to be quarantined from school as directed by the health department.”

The new quarantine protocols for North Sanpete schools are outlined below: They were adopted based on data showing that proper mask wearing is effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

If the exposure was mask-to-mask (both the positive case and the exposed individual were following proper mask protocols), the exposure is considered low-risk. The exposed individual is not quarantined, but the individual/parent is notified of the exposure and advised to watch for the development of symptoms.

If the exposure was not mask-to-mask, or if masks were not worn properly, then the exposure is considered higher-risk. The exposed individual is quarantined for 10 days without testing, but has the option to test at 7-days and return to school if not symptomatic. The individual/parent is notified of the exposure and the quarantine protocol.

Exposures due to a positive COVID-19 case in the same household will still be required to meet the full 10-day quarantine due to the high-risk nature of the exposure.

Both school districts continue to emphasize that students wear masks, social distance and avoid coming to school with COVID-like symptoms.