Rockingham County Public Schools adopts new CDC isolation/quarantine guidance

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 9:41 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Rockingham County school board heard a COVID-19 update on Monday night on how the division will move ahead with new isolation and quarantine guidance.

This change comes after the CDC and Virginia Department of Health updated the isolation and quarantine guidance, reducing the timeframe in some circumstances. The CDC recommends quarantine if someone was exposed to COVID-19, and recommends isolation if someone is sick or tests positive.

The update reduces isolation from 10 to five days, but only if symptoms have resolved or have significantly improved, but the schools will make the final decision. The quarantine timeframe is also reduced from 10 to five days, but only if someone is showing no COVID-19 symptoms.

Superintendent Dr. Oskar Scheikl pointed out that these shorter timeframes require a consistent commitment to mitigation strategies, like continued mask-wearing.

“Getting rid of the masks would simply not be feasible. First, there is that additional benefit to it, but you also have to consider what happens if the students wouldn’t wear masks,” Scheikl said. “Right now, we can have all kids in school because they are fully masked and at a 3-foot distance.”

He said this is especially important after students return to school from a five-day isolation or quarantine period. For days six through 10, students will be required to wear masks during athletic activity and outside.

“Schools certainly have the authority to say, if a student is not wearing their mask appropriately, then it has to be the 10-day quarantine,” Scheikl said.

Athletes who test positive can return to non-contact practice on day eight and can compete or participate in contact practice after 10 days. Athletes in quarantine with no symptoms may return after five days.

“For athletic activities, masks are not required, but until those 10 days are up, they would still not be able to compete and participate in contact practice for 10 days and they would have to be fully masked,” Scheikl said.

Some students would be exempt from quarantine, but not isolation, including fully vaccinated 5 to 17-year-olds, and 18-year-olds who are fully vaccinated and have also received their booster.

These new policies go into effect for Rockingham County Public Schools on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

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