ADPH changes tool kit guidelines, less students and staff to quarantine

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 3:46 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Every week schools around the Wiregrass are having to send students and staff home to quarantine after coming into contact with Covid-19.

But that is now changing based on the new guidelines set by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The Alabama Department of Public Health’s original tool kit stated anyone within close contact of a symptomatic student or teacher needed to be sent home to quarantine for two weeks but now that is no longer the case.

“More accurately narrow down specific symptoms such as a loss of taste or smell will certainly reduce, it should reduce the number of children and faculty members that we have to send home," Dennis Coe, acting Dothan City School superintendent said.

Those experiencing Covid-19 symptoms will still be sent home and be isolated.

But those who are considered a close contact will not be required to quarantine unless the symptomatic individual tests positive for the virus or has a loss of taste or smell.

Another tool kit change includes students or staff who have tested positive and are re-exposed.

“If those teachers have had the Covid-19 swab or the positive within the 90 days, they will no longer have to quarantine or if they’re in close contact with a student or someone from the community. So it will help some of those teachers we’ve had that unfortunately that have had the covid-19 virus, they can now stay at school to continue to teach the students," Caitlin Thomas, lead nurse for Houston County Schools said.

As a proponent of traditional learning, superintendent David Sewell is in favor of the new changes.

“It’s extremely important. Again, the student has to be in school in order to learn. We’re not requiring him or her to go home and do virtual, it helps keep them on a routine," David Sewell, Houston County superintendent said.

Two key changes that could help factor the future.

“To have enough substitutes to fill classrooms so when you have to consolidate classrooms you then get away from your ability to social distance. That’s some of the decisions that go into effect whether or not we keep schools open or closed,” Coe said.

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