On October 25, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released new quarantine alternative guidance, referred to as “Mask to Stay/Test to Play,” to Ohio school districts. After a comprehensive review of statewide data, a pilot in Warren County and experience shared by local health departments, ODH is offering an in-school alternative to quarantining students and school staff who have been exposed to COVID-19.
In summary, direct contacts, regardless of vaccination or masking status, may remain in the classroom environment if they wear a mask for 14 days after their last date of exposure and remain symptom free during this time.
Additionally, asymptomatic students involved in extracurriculars may continue to participate if they receive a negative test result upon initial notification of contact and mask when able (transportation; locker rooms; sitting/standing on the sidelines; and anytime the mask will not interfere with breathing, the activity, or create a safety hazard).
For complete details on the alternative quarantine guidance, please visit: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/schools/k-12-schools-quarantine-alternative.pdf
This guidance 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. Please note that this quarantine structure is also optional for families.
Since the onset of the pandemic, our highest priority has remained the health and safety of our students; and, our goal – to provide in-person instruction. This alternative quarantine guidance now removes the effect of masking status on quarantine requirements. As such, beginning Monday, November 1, we will transition to a mask optional policy. We will also implement “Mask to Stay/Test to Play” as an alternative quarantine option.
We encourage and support our families and students who elect to continue wearing masks. We are dedicated to maintaining a culture that is accepting of our differences, including each other’s choice to mask or not.
As we have done since the onset of the pandemic, we will continue to monitor the status of the virus, evaluate guidance and make decisions that are in the best interest of our students, staff and community. Additionally, the district has established a metric-based system to serve as a safeguard against potential rapid spread. Wooster City Schools will require masking on an individual building basis if a building reaches a total active positive case count (students that are isolated from school due to a positive COVID-19 test) equal to 3% or higher of the building’s total student enrollment.
The Superintendent will initiate a mask mandate for all staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) of the particular school, during school hours, for the following two weeks of school and until active cases are below the 3% threshold.
A manageable threshold to prevent rapid spread was determined as 3%. The likelihood of transmission becomes substantially higher as percentages increase.
The Superintendent will update the District COVID-19 Dashboard weekly on Fridays and indicate which building(s) will have a mask mandate for all staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) for the following two weeks of school and/or indicate which buildings no longer require a mask mandate.
Extracurricular activities and events outside of the school day will follow the masking protocol of the respective building. For example, if Edgewood Middle School moved to a mask requirement due to COVID cases being above 3 percent, masks would be required at after school events at Edgewood until the requirement was lifted.
We understand that these rapid changes are difficult for parents and caregivers. As always, we strive to remain transparent and communicative as soon as new information becomes available. Should you have any questions regarding these policy changes, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself, your child’s building principal or a central office administrator. Thank you for the continued support of our school district.