Sioux Falls School Board amends COVID-19 close contacts policy
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A change has been made to the Sioux Falls Return to Learn plan. At a school board meeting Wednesday night, members voted to amend the COVID-19 close contacts policy reducing the restrictions.
In the revised Return To Learn plan, if a staff member or student is potentially exposed to COVID-19 as a close contact, they will still be allowed to return to school if both people were wearing masks when that close contact happened. The close contact would be recommended to quarantine for a 14-day period but would no longer be required to.
“That’s very, very limited to that school setting. If there’s still a case in the home, the quarantine would still apply. If both parties were not in masks, the quarantine would still apply. If anyone is symptomatic, the quarantine applies and so this is a very narrow piece of this guidance,” said Jane Stavem, Sioux Falls School District Superintendent.
Many parents expressed support for the change.
“Having a child in high school impacted the way that she was as my example. She’s had two separate direct contact issues and has missed so much school. My daughter is at 15 days and that’s not acceptable. So they did the right thing,” said Alice Wilson, an SFSD Parent.
Some parents hope this change will help lessen their child’s anxieties over possibly missing school and getting behind.
“He missed three tests, he missed a couple of physics labs and he takes Spanish 4, which really does require to be in class, to do your presentations,” said Summer Hoffman, an SFSD Parent.
For this change to be effective the Sioux Falls Education Association believes another change now needs to be made.
“Masks be required, not just expected,” said Tim Eckart, Sioux Falls Education Association President.
“So that way it’s easier to discern whether a student stays at school or goes home.”
Right now, masks are only expected to be worn.
The COVID-19 close contact policy change goes into effect on October 1.
The Sioux Falls School Board has passed an amendment to its Return to Learn plan and its policy regarding close contacts.
The amendment passed Wednesday allows close contacts to return to school if masks were worn by both parties during the potential exposure.
Previously, the RTL policy outlined that individuals who are considered close contacts had to quarantine for 14 days from exposure. Now, the school district is allowing close contacts to still quarantine for 14 days or return to school while monitoring for symptoms and following these guidelines:
- In a setting where everyone is wearing face coverings, any asymptomatic student or staff member who had close contact may return and monitor for symptoms in lieu of quarantine at home.
- In a setting where the initial positive case is not wearing face coverings, the initial positive case will isolate at home, and any student and staff member who had close contact will quarantine at home.
- In a setting where the initial positive case is wearing a face covering, but others are not, the initial positive case will isolate at home. Those close contacts not wearing a face covering will quarantine at home; those close contacts wearing face coverings may return and monitor for symptoms in lieu of quarantine at home.
- In a setting where no person was wearing a face covering, the initial positive case will isolate at home, and any student or staff member who had close contact with the initial positive case will quarantine at home
If symptoms begin to appear within the 14-day period the student or staff must isolate at home.
The new policy goes into effect Thursday.
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