As we have said from the beginning of the school year, our goal is to keep our students safely in school to receive in-person instruction from our outstanding staff. We cannot thank our students, staff, and community enough for their continued cooperation and support as we continue to adjust to the pandemic.
The Ohio Department of Health recently released their “Mask to Stay/Test to Play” (link updated December 30, 2021) recommendations for public schools. This guidance offers an alternative to excluding students and staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the school environment. These new guidelines make great strides in keeping our students in school and out of quarantine while being able to participate in school-related activities.
Eligibility to participate in Mask to Stay/Test to Play is contingent on the exposure being in the school setting or school-related activities. This does not apply to household exposures or exposures outside of the school setting or school-related activities.
Below is a summary of how we will proceed with our COVID mitigation strategies.
Mask To Stay
Bexley City Schools has mandated masks from the beginning of the year, so there isn’t much impact on our current approach for staff and students. Identified close contacts will be permitted to remain in school if they continue to wear their mask, monitor for symptoms, and then isolate and get tested if they begin to show COVID-19 symptoms.
Unless a county health department issues a quarantine order to your child, your child will be permitted to stay in school.
Direct contacts, regardless of vaccination or masking status, may remain in the classroom environment if they do the following:
- Wear a mask for 10 days after their last date of exposure.
- Self-monitor, or parent-monitor, for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Isolate and get tested if they start to experience symptoms associated with COVID-19 (regardless of level of severity).
Universal masking is required for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in our school settings except for while eating lunch or at outdoor physical education class or outdoor recess. We still encourage masks to be worn during these times.
Additionally, we’ve created plans for each building to offer a space for identified close contacts to eat lunch safely.
Test To Play
The district will begin following the new health department "Test to Play" protocols with the winter sports season. We continue to work with our local health departments and athletic trainers to ensure we are implementing best practices to keep our students safe.
Under the new health department guidance, identified close contacts will be permitted to continue participating in extracurricular activities if they are not showing COVID symptoms and wear a mask anytime it does not create a safety hazard and/or interfere with their breathing. (i.e., riding on buses, sitting/standing on the sidelines, and while in locker rooms.)
We are also implementing ODH’s recommended testing protocols for athletes and other extracurricular activity participants identified as a close contact:
- Test on initial notification of exposure to COVID-19.
- Test again between days 5-7. If they are negative at this time, they will test out of the quarantine after day 7.
- Those who test positive or begin to show COVID symptoms will be excluded from the activity.
- BCS has test kits available and can be provided upon request.
The testing of close contacts is not only for the sake of their own health and safety but also for the good of their team and the well-being of their fellow classmates.
The district will continue to monitor our local health data and follow the procedures that keep our students safely in school. We will be sure to share with you any additional guidance from health officials that impacts our current health and safety protocols.
Updated December 31, 2021