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Local school officials react to new CDC quarantine guidelines

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 8:57 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) -

New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention present the option to shorten quarantine periods to 10 days or even seven depending on the situation.

Each alternative requires the subject to show no symptoms for the entire time period.

Quarantine can end after a 10-day period with no COVID-19 test, and quarantine can end seven days after a negative test.

However, this doesn’t necessarily change quarantine rules in Bay District Schools quite yet.

“I just want parents to understand we are very aware the CDC has come out with new guidelines. We want to follow the guidelines but we can’t do it until we are comfortable the Department of Health has said yes,” Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said.

School officials said as of now they will still be following the original CDC guidelines of a 14-day quarantine period after exposure.

“I want to do whatever gets everybody back in school in a reasonable timeframe in a safe way,” Bay District Schools Supervisory Nurse Lyndsey Jackson said.

School officials said they’re relying on word from the Florida Department of Health and Department of Education, as well as our own local health department.

”What the CDC says is they want individual territories to work with their local health authority based on circumstances in that community about rates of transmission and hospitalizations and things like that in order to determine the best way to go about the quarantine,” Jackson said.

Bay County Health officials released a statement about the new COVID-19 guidelines:

“The Florida Department of Health (Department) is aware of the update in CDC Quarantine options that was released Wednesday. The CDC still recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. The Department is working quickly to review and identify if and how Florida should implement any of the options based on circumstances and resources. In Bay County, COVID-19 case numbers are currently increasing. The Department will update the public if there are any new options available for quarantine.

Quarantine is used to separate someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 and may develop illness away from other people. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they have the virus. CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus.”

”We want our students in classrooms, we want them thriving and learning. We want to do it in a safe way,” Jackson said.

School officials also said most of the COVID-19 transmission is not happening in the classroom, but rather at social gatherings and sports events.

At North Bay Haven Charter Academy, all extracurricular activities have been suspended until December 14.

No North Bay Haven school officials were available to comment.

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