Students wearing masks no longer need quarantine, even with “close contact”


NSSome important absences complicated the return to school in Wayne Township, Indiana: 461 to be exact.

After spending just eight days in the classroom, 37 coronavirus positives occurred in a 16,000 student district on the outskirts of Indianapolis, causing hundreds of student quarantines and young people missing classes and extracurricular lessons. rice field.

Director Jeff Butts knew he had to act quickly. The district launched an optional annual mask in late July. But in early August he came across a solution. It was hidden in a clear view. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just updated its guidance, exempting students from self-isolation if they and infected students are properly masked and at least 3 feet away. Away.

“When the CDC came out and made that change, that was my biggest turning point. I realized that if I put all the kids in the mask … I could isolate fewer kids.”

But not everyone received the message. Guidance does not appear to permeate many other school systems. Most policies remain stricter than the CDC’s requirementsAccording to a recent survey of 100 districts from the University of Washington’s Center for Public Education Reform. One of the reasons for the disconnection is that the CDC rarely tried to sign a policy shift. appendix Case investigations and traces were updated on August 5th.

Deliver important educational news and commentary directly to your inbox. Sign up here For 74 daily newsletters.

Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University who has been tracking school education through a pandemic, told 74. Under the quarantine protocols of many school systems, the infected person spent 15 minutes within a 6-foot radius. For example, an individual sitting next to you in a class can force a student to stay home for up to two weeks. The new exemption allows schools to circumvent that rule if both individuals mask.

School leaders are struggling to total quarantine across the country, Grow to thousands Just weeks after the school opens, the new masking exemption for self-quarantine guidelines may help the district avoid a chaotic reopening in the divided politics surrounding the use of masks.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Last week, New Orleans school districts across the country Isolate more than 3,000 students and staff After 299 COVID cases have been recorded.Mississippi 20,000 students at home for quarantine Officials announced throughout the state.And the Texas district Closed due to outbreak of school staff..Meanwhile, Texas maintains a ban on mask mandates in other states such as Florida, Arkansas, and Arkansas, while school systems like Dallas and Miami do not. Demand a face cover against the ban..

The CDC did not respond to 74 requests to explain why the update was not published more widely. But when Brown’s economist Oster updated the definition of close contact for quarantine, “they didn’t understand how important it was to teaching the school,” so the change was made. He said he may not have broadcast much.

At the very least, it’s clear that the hidden clause gives the district “a great incentive to mask everyone,” Oster said.

As of August 11, all Wayne Township students and faculty members are required to wear face covers. The site leader told Butts that the district was already low on quarantine, but supervisors said the numbers for this week were not yet known.

Related: Thousands of students, teachers quarantined at the beginning of the school year — many states with low immunization rates and mask prevention rules

Wayne Township is not the only place to trigger a face cover in response to the COVID surge. Elsewhere in Indiana, the Greater Clark County School adopted universal masking rules on August 7, after approximately 70 COVID cases. Spurred over 1,100 student quarantines..In Arkansas, Marion’s school supervision almost bans mandatory masks at the state level 20x increase in students absent from class due to COVID exposure In his district.And in Ohio, a Lakota local school on the outskirts of Cincinnati has set up to avoid the fate of mass quarantine. Monday’s last-minute policy change to request a mask, Only two days before the student returned to the classroom.

“Like last year, I wanted to send my kids to middle school all year long, so I decided to move to Mask this weekend,” Matt Miller told 74.

If the school system is free to set rules that cover its own face, “there are too many COVIDs right now, so all these school districts will go to the mask,” co-founded the tracking website Burbio. Said Dennis Roche. Pandemic school policy.

Many students can go home from school when exposed to infected individuals, but few actually get the virus, Oster said. She said it was important to have rules that would allow healthy students to avoid absenteeism from class.

“The quarantine itself is very destructive, so I think having a way to eliminate the need for off-lamps and quarantine after exposure is huge for creating a working school system.”

The ever-increasing number of cases of delta variant COVID does not allow students to come to school without a mask to spread the virus, said Dandomenek, executive director of the School Supervisors Association.

“If you have to quarantine a student because they were exposed to someone because no one was wearing a mask, that’s a problem,” he told 74. Everyone should wear a mask. “

Despite the potential impact on school day-to-day operations, the CDC’s policy changes were “less focused,” Domenech said. This means that many districts may still have a hard time catching up.

Related: Ask your doctor: How can parents protect their young children from COVID this summer and fall with Delta Variant Lampant?

From a public health perspective, the move is consistent with Phil Chan, medical director of the Rhode Island Health Department, saying it is a best practice to prevent the spread of COVID.

“Where are we at the national case transmission rate … I think [masking] He told The 74. That is “the minimum we have to do at this time.”

Still, in his home state, the school’s face-covering policy is “everywhere on the map,” he said.

For example, last week in Georgia, there were four school districts (some of which had a mask option policy). I switched to a virtual instruction day after the beginning of the school year Due to the occurrence of COVID.

When summer is over and students return to Lakota Local School on Wednesday, that’s exactly what Miller wants to avoid.

“I think the social emotional pitfalls of masking are bad enough, but the social emotional pitfalls of staying at home and learning again from home are probably worse.”

Related: Sign up for 74 newsletters