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Schools, families get new COVID-19 guidelines as school year starts

Ohio map of COVID-19 community level infection rates per county.
Ohio map of COVID-19 community level infection rates per county.

The Ohio Department of Health updated its guidelines for COVID-19 ahead of the upcoming school year. Those safety guidelines are now more flexible for both students and parents.

Schools will no longer need to follow the Ohio Department of Health’s Mask to Stay and Test to Play school guidelines for quarantining after COVID exposures.

Now the state health department recommends an exposed person stay home and monitor their symptoms.

Dan Suffoletto, a spokesperson for Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County, said the Ohio Department of Health and CDC now recommend precautions based on a community's transmission rate.

“They're tying it to what the community level is in your particular area,” Suffoletto said. “So they still have the low, medium and high levels, and they're looking at these as broad recommendations that will fluctuate as the levels may change in your community.”

It is now up to an individual school district whether to require masks or not, even if the high community transmission level is high, according to Suffoletto.

The best precautions are to stay up-to-date on vaccines and stay home in case any symptoms come up, he said.

“All of these things together are a layered approach. So there's not one particular thing that in and of itself is going to stop the spread of COVID or keep you 100% safe. Nothing's 100%,” he said. “But the more things you can do, all of these things layered together will keep you as safe as possible. “

Champaign, Clark and Miami countiesare now at a medium community transmission rate. The rest of the counties in our area remain at high transmission rate.

Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming

Email: afigueroa@wyso.org
Phone: 937-917-5943