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Understanding new Mercer County School isolation and quarantine guidelines

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 5:49 PM EST
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MERCER COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Many parents have been left confused by the new guidelines from Mercer County Schools. Leaving some parents wondering why their child who recently tested positive for COVID is only isolated during lunch and breakfast times. According to the school system this happens because students are unmasked during this time compared to all other times during the school day.

According to the school system everyone who has tested positive regardless of vaccination status must either isolate for ten days or they have the option to reduce isolation by returning to school on day six if they have improved symptoms and agree to wear a well fitting mask and physically distance during breakfast and lunch.

These guidelines are meant to be more relaxed than previous guidelines given out. This still raises the question why students in extra-curricular activities who recently tested positive can participate in these activities soon after.

This is due to the “Test to Play” guideline that has been implemented. Individuals partaking in these activities who have tested positive must either isolate for ten days or test negative after day five. Once this happens if the activity requires any aerobic activities then the individual can partake in the event without a mask. They are still required to be masked when in areas like locker rooms or sitting on the bench.

Another question being raised is why parents aren’t notified if their child comes into contact with a COVID positive student. This is because if a masked, COVID positive student comes into contact with a masked, non-positive student then that child is not considered exposed. Meaning they will not be notified. A student is only considered exposed if they are around a non-masked, positive student for 15 minutes or more.

Data and Information Specialist, Amy Harrison says she understands parents may be confused and disgruntled about the guidelines.

“We don’t want our children being excluded. However a school system is responsible for all students. And when all students are together in a school system. We want to make sure we do everything we can.” said Harrison.

Harrison added that the system has no control over the guidelines and they come straight from the West Virginia Department of Education.

If you have concerns about the guidelines, Harrison says you can reach out to school principals or to the school board.

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