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BDS changes quarantine policy after state update

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - COVID protocols are ever-changing at Bay District Schools.

Wednesday, the Florida surgeon general released an update to the emergency rule affecting protocols for COVID in schools, leading to another change.

“This rule states that schools shall allow parents or legal guardians the authority to choose how their child receives education after having direct contact with an individual that is positive for COVID-19,” Supervisory School Nurse Lyndsey Jackson said.

Now, parents have two options effective immediately.

“Allow the student to attend school, school-sponsored activities or be on school property without restrictions or disparate treatment, so long as the student remains asymptomatic,” said Jackson.

Or they can choose to quarantine their student for a period of time no longer than seven days from the date of the last direct contact with the positive individual. Jackson said student COVID cases were down by nearly 52% and staff cases were down roughly 42%.

“That means even without changing the quarantine policy, we’re keeping more students in the classrooms, less students are sick and so overall that’s very promising to me,” said Jackson.

As of Tuesday, there are almost 2,700 students and staff in quarantine. The district is working with the Bay County Department of Health on implementing this new guideline.

“We are working to determine how this will impact our contact tracing and notification efforts. We will still notify parents and guardians every time there is a confirmed COVID-19 case that impacts their student,” said Jackson.

Impacts that the district hopes will only benefit the students and staff in the long run.

This guidance has not changed anything that impacts students who have tested positive or showed symptoms of COVID. COVID positive students can only return to school if they complete 10 days of quarantine, receive negative test results, or receive written permission from a medical provider.

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