Oct 26, 2021

Letter From Supt. Briggs About Quarantine Protocols

Quarantine Protocols Letter from Supt. Briggs image

Dear Pickerington Community,

We appreciate your patience, support, and cooperation as the COVID pandemic journey continues on. The health and safety of our schools and community is our number one priority. As we have expressed over the past 18 months, we have relied on data and our public health partners to help us make COVID-related decisions. The processes outlined by the health department, which we had been using, conflict with the newly-enacted House Bill (HB) 244 provisions that prohibit mandatory vaccinations and discrimination against the unvaccinated in school settings.

The Ohio Department of Health has issued “Mask to Stay/Test to Play Option,” but not specific guidance based upon the enactment of HB 244. However, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) has provided updated procedures for individuals who are deemed as a direct contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. There are no changes for students and staff demonstrating symptoms of, or testing positive, for COVID-19. HB 244 now prohibits school districts in Ohio from discriminating against any student regarding their vaccination status and should not benefit or treat any student differently at school; this includes a student qualifying for modified quarantine status due to their vaccination status. Ohio schools retain the right to exclude any student or staff member demonstrating symptoms or testing positive for the coronavirus. Franklin County Public Health retains the authority to issue isolation and quarantine orders under Ohio law.

Effective on Wednesday, October 27, 2021:

  • Individuals who are identified as a close contact of someone who has a confirmed positive test for COVID-19 will be notified electronically by district staff. The email notification will provide you with detailed information, along with a linked letter from Franklin County Public Health.
  • Unless FCPH issues a quarantine order to your child who was identified as a direct contact, the decision to self-quarantine is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. If you do not self-quarantine and FCPH determines that your child must quarantine, FCPH may issue a quarantine order.
  • If your child does not self-quarantine and returns to school after receiving notice of being a close contact, the district requires the following for a 14-day period following the date of last exposure:

A. The student must not be experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19;

                                                                             AND

B. The student must continue to conduct daily symptom checks at home with their parent/guardian;

                                                                             AND

C. The student must wear a face mask indoors during the school day and during indoor extracurricular activities;

                                                                             AND

D. No mask exemptions will be permitted.

It is recommended that a close contact test for COVID-19 on days 5-7 following the exposure. Free at-home rapid test kits can be provided by the schools to be administered at home by an adult and proctored using the online telehealth service as long as kits are available.

  • A negative test result will end the mask requirement on day 8 from the last exposure.
  • The tests must be SARS-CoV-2 viral (PCR or antigen) tests. They must be proctored with a provider or at home with the online proctor service. Tests cannot be an over the counter, at home test that was self-administered without a proctor.
  • Any student identified as a close contact, who is symptom-free, will now be permitted to attend school daily if he/she chooses not to self-quarantine and is willing to follow the requirements outlined above.
  • Any student who becomes symptomatic will continue to be subject to exclusion from school unless an alternate diagnosis is provided by a medical professional.
  • Any student who tests positive will continue to be excluded from school in accordance with requirements from health officials.
  • Student absences that result from self-isolation or quarantine will be recorded as an excused absence. Exposures outside of school will require documentation from a medical professional or the health department.

In addition, students participating in extracurricular activities may continue to participate in the activities if they do all of the following:

  • Remain free of symptoms associated with COVID-19; and
  • Wear a mask indoors when able (This includes: locker rooms; sitting/standing on the sidelines; and anytime the mask will not interfere with breathing, the activity, or create a safety hazard); and
  • Test on initial notification of exposure to COVID-19; and
  • Test again on days 5-7. If they are negative at this time, they will test out of the mask requirements.
  • The tests must be SARS-CoV-2 viral (PCR or antigen) tests. They must be proctored with a provider or at home with the online proctor service. Tests cannot be an over the counter, at home test that was self- administered without a proctor.

Please note: Eligibility to participate in “Mask to Stay/Test to Play” is contingent on the exposure being in the school setting or school-related activities. This does not apply to household exposures or exposures outside of the school setting or school-related activities.

Thank you for your partnership as we navigate this pandemic together.

Sincerely,

Chris M. Briggs, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools 

* Letter From Supt. Briggs About Quarantine Protocols (pdf)