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Southwest Ohio County Wants Option To Keep Kids Exposed To COVID In School

Masked students sit in a classroom at Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus in March 2021.
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Masked students sit in a classroom at Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus in March 2021.

A southwest Ohio county that’s been dealing with hundreds of COVID cases in its schools wants a new option for kids who’ve been exposed besides staying at home.

Ten school districts in Warren County sent a letterasking the state to set up a testing program for kids who haven’t been vaccinated or masked but have been exposed to COVID – rather than requiring them to quarantine at home for 10 days.

The superintendents write in the letter that the proposal would provide stability for families and keep students safe in school in this "new reality which requires all of us to learn to live with COVID-19". They add: "COVID-19 isn't going away. It is evolving. We need to do the same.

Gov. Mike DeWine likes the idea.

“The schools will then be able to keep that child in school, the child would have to wear a mask, child who had been exposed, for a limited period of time and then that child would be tested on two different occasions," DeWine said.

Under the plan, if they have no symptoms, they could come to school but wear a mask for 10 days, or they could take a rapid test on day 5 and if it’s negative and their school doesn’t require a mask, they wouldn’t have to wear one. Kids on quarantine could return with a negative COVID test starting on day 5.

There were more than 200 COVID cases in Warren County schools last week.

The request comes as some school districts have closed and others are considering their options for remote learning. Other districts that didn't implement mask mandates are now requiring them.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.