Quarantine protocols for the Douglas County School District have changed again during the COVID-19 pandemic under new state guidance. The district will now ask people exposed to the virus to …
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Quarantine protocols for the Douglas County School District have changed again during the COVID-19 pandemic under new state guidance.
The district will now ask people exposed to the virus to quarantine for 10 days instead of 14, according to a Jan. 12 announcement.
Although students and staff could end quarantine at 10 days, the district is asking people to continue monitoring themselves for symptoms for a full two weeks, in line with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation.
Interim Superintendent Corey Wise has previously urged shrinking quarantines to 10 days and told board directors at previous meetings he was hopeful that would relieve some operational pressures on the district.
Hybrid and in-person learning grew difficult during the fall semester, Wise has said, partly because quarantines kept more teachers out of classrooms than there were available substitutes.
Another change looked imminent, Wise said during a Jan. 5 board meeting, as the district was working to implement a way for students and staff to test out of quarantines.
Moving forward, parents can choose to get their quarantined children tested for COVID-19.
A student should not test sooner than five days after they were exposed and can stop quarantining after seven days if results are negative and they remain asymptomatic.
There might still be a delay between the end of a student's quarantine and when they can resume in-person learning. That depends on when the class and teacher are able to return, according to the announcement.
The new protocols also apply to district staff.
The district listed a number of ways students and staff could reduce their risk of exposure.
Students should wear face coverings at all times, unless outdoors or eating. Staff, including teachers, could wear a mask and a clear face shield or goggles at the same time.
Both groups should keep six feet away from others when possible, regularly wash hands and stay home when sick, according to the district.
Douglas County Federation President Kallie Leyba said that part of the announcement stood out to her. The local teachers union leader also encouraged teachers to consider wearing both a KN95 mask and shield.
For elementary school teachers, who work around the district's youngest learners, it can also be difficult to keep children socially distanced throughout their day, she said. Those teachers should try to maintain six feet from students if they can't consistently keep students six feet from one another, she said.
"It's unrealistic to expect kids to sit in their seat and not move around for six hours a day,” she said.
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