October 26, 2021
Dear NELSD Families,
Schools across Ohio received some exciting news from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) yesterday! As we know, students learn better when they can be at school in a face-to-face environment, and the previous quarantine guidance had the unintended consequence of reducing in-school learning.
Yesterday, ODH provided Ohio schools with an in-school alternative to quarantining students and staff with the addition of new quarantine options, “Mask to Stay” and “Test to Play.” These new quarantine guidelines incorporate mask-wearing and testing to reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading within school settings and provide a safe alternative to quarantines.
It is important for our families to understand that these new guidelines are for in-school exposures only (classroom or other school settings). Exposures that happen outside of school-related activities will still need to follow the standard quarantine guidelines. Additionally, this will not pertain to students with a mask exemption since they are not permitted to wear a mask due to medical or religious reasons.
Here are the guidelines for the “Mask to Stay” and “Test to Play” options:
Mask To Stay
Direct contacts in a school environment, regardless of vaccination or masking status, may remain in the classroom environment if they do the following:
Wear a mask for 14 days after their last date of exposure.
Self-monitor, or parent-monitor, for symptoms of COVID-19.
Isolate and get tested if they start to experience symptoms associated with COVID-19 (regardless of level of severity).
Consistent with guidance for others quarantining in lower-risk environments, students and staff may discontinue these quarantine procedures after seven days — if they meet two basic criteria: one – they don’t develop symptoms, and two – they test negative between days 5-7.
While parents and students are responsible for symptom monitoring, if school staff or school nurses see a child exhibiting symptoms they should act accordingly.
Test to Play
Asymptomatic contacts in a school environment may continue to participate in extracurricular activities if they do the following:
Wear a mask when able. (This includes wearing a mask during transportation, such as traveling on a team bus to and from games; while in locker rooms; while sitting or standing on the sidelines; and any time the mask will not interfere with breathing, the activity in which they are participating, or create a safety hazard.)
Test on initial notification of exposure to COVID-19.
Test again between days 5-7 following exposure to COVID-19. If they are negative at this time, they will test out of quarantine after day 7 and can resume normal activities.
Please Note: Per ODH, the tests referenced above are SARS-CoV-2 viral (PCR or antigen) tests. They should be proctored/observed by someone and cannot be an over-the-counter, at-home test that was self-administered without a proctor.
ODH is also recommending that school districts consider administering same-day testing for athletics competitions where this is the potential of school-to-school exposure.
Northeastern Local School District (NELSD) will implement the new “Mask to Stay” and “Test to Play” quarantine options starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Those who are fully vaccinated, as well as those who consistently wear masks in school, can already remain in the classroom if exposed to COVID-19 in a school setting. Additionally, we are continuing to strongly encourage anyone to wear a face-covering while inside a NELSD building.
Thank you for your continued support of our teachers, staff, and our students. We will continue to make decisions based on the interest of our students to ensure we are providing them with the best opportunities for success.
John P. Kronour, Ph.D.
Superintendent Northeastern Local Schools