CLARK COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Following the announcement of The Ohio Department of Health’s “Mask to Stay, Test to Play” guidelines, many schools across Ohio are experiencing positive impacts.
The ODH guidelines suggest that those exposed to COVID-19 can still attend school and extra-curricular activities if they mask up and get tested against the virus.
In Clark County, schools like Global Impact STEM Academy are keeping more students in the classroom due to the guidelines, even if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
“With the new guidance, if a student is in close contact in school they’re permitted to remain in school. But then they need the mask at that time for 14 days and monitor symptoms,” said Global Impact STEM Academy Founding Director Joshua Jennings. “After days 5 through 7, they’re not required to wear that mask again…or any more if they receive a negative test at that point.”
Emily Moore’s daughter is a 10th grader at Global Impact STEM Academy. Although she’s fully vaccinated, More said her daughter was recently exposed to the virus.
“She was given the option to mask up and continue in-person learning. I think every parent wants their child to be in-person learning for sure. So, I was very thankful that we at least had that opportunity,” said Moore.
Clark Shawnee Local School District Superintendent Brian Kuhn says their district is also benefiting from the ODH guidelines, like the ability to close learning gaps.
“If you were a close contact to a positive case in a school setting, we saw hardly anyone convert to a positive result, a positive test. The data showed that school was just not a place of transmission. This keeps kids in school, and helps prevent the spread,” said Superintendent Kuhn.
Clark County’s Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson says, for those who are exposed to COVID-19 or any virus, masking up will significantly reduce the spread.
“There is some protection from the masked person who is not yet ill, but the person who has COVID or developed COVID it’s certainly gonna keep those particles closer to the face with less spread if we have a mask on,” said Patterson. “Only 1 to 3 percent of kids exposed in school environments to a positive case developed covid19 as we know it and became a confirmed case.”
Both Jennings and Superintendent Kuhn say while their schools aren’t requiring masking up, it is recommended. Jennings and Kuhn also say that they continuously work with their teams assessing the COVID-19 case numbers, meaning the mask policies are always subject to change.
Click here for a list of The Clark County Combined Health District’s vaccine clinics.