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B-A school board approves new health and safety plan

BELLWOOD — Bellwood-Antis School Board members approved an updated health and safety plan after district administrators reviewed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for quarantining students who test positive for COVID-19.

Superintendent Thomas McInroy said the district has “developed a plan to keep kids that are not ill in school.”

The goal is to keep healthy students in school while maintaining protocols to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Board members during Tuesday night’s meeting approved the following changes to the health and safety plan:

– COVID positive — If a person tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, he/she is to isolate (stay home) for five days following the onset of symptoms or a positive test result. If no longer showing symptoms or symptoms are resolving, he/she may return to school while continuing to wear a mask for five additional days.

To return to school, students and employees must have a doctor’s note as per school district attendance policy.

– Close contact (exposure to someone with COVID-19) — An individual determined to be in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 consecutive minutes), regardless of vaccination status, will be expected to mask for 10 days after exposure and continue to closely monitor for symptoms. The CDC recommends all close contacts be tested on day five if possible.

– The district will recognize a positive home test. If a positive result is made with a home test, the district recommends the person verify the result with their doctor.

“Most importantly, we encourage you not to send your child to school if he/she is exhibiting symptoms,” McInroy said.

High school Principal Richard Schreier supports the updated plan.

“Since last week, we had 17 reported positives. We did contact tracing. From what I heard from parents, they didn’t get very sick, some didn’t have symptoms. There were about 32 students who missed one or two days,” Schreier said. “I am a proponent of this plan to keep kids in school.”

Elementary school Principal Matthew Stinson and middle school Principal Donald Wagner also are supportive of the plan.

“We had 52 last week that were contact-traced. I like the fact we can keep students in school,” Stinson said, noting that students who are vaccinated and masked are also contracting COVID-19.

“If we work hard to keep students in school, we are not going to quarantine students who are healthy,” Wagner said.

“I feel comfortable with this plan,” Stinson said.

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