Health Dept. offers guidelines to keep students in the classroom

Press Staff Writer

        As the school year begins, the Wood County Health Department has released guidelines for keeping children in the classroom this year.
        Wood County is reporting high community transmission of COVID-19 with 113.14 cases per 100,000 people. As cases rise, the probability of encountering someone who has COVID in the community or at school also increases, Wood County Health Commissioner Benjamin Robison, said.
        WCHD is stressing the importance of the partnership among parents and guardians, students, schools, and public health to achieve the common goal of keeping students in school.
        WCHD recommends the following prevention measures:
        Vaccination against COVID remains the best way to protect students and staff while limiting the impacts of the disease within the school community. Currently, individuals 12 years old and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people significantly reduce their risk of developing disease and may stay in school after exposure, as long as they follow public health guidelines. In the rare event that they get sick, the risk of severe disease is reduced by more than 90%, Robison said.
        In addition to encouraging vaccinations, the following prevention measures maximize students’ opportunity to attend school in person:
        • Everyone wearing masks in schools. Masked individuals who are exposed in the classroom may stay in school as long as they don’t develop symptoms.
        • Maintaining as much distancing as possible—three or more feet in the classroom and on school transportation, and six or more feet in the lunchroom and in other venues where activities are related to additional risk of spread.
        • Staying home when sick and testing for anyone who could have COVID.
        • Identifying exposed individuals and staying home while at risk for becoming ill.
        • Regularly washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, maximizing ventilation and cleaning and disinfecting.
        WCHD is working with state and national partners to soon offer voluntary COVID-19 surveillance testing for interested schools. Students, with consent from a parent or guardian, can volunteer to be tested regularly so that schools can take early steps to prevent the spread of disease.
        “We know that in-person schooling is the best way to provide the educational, developmental, social, psychological and nutritional resources our students need,” Robison said. “Implementing these prevention measures offers our best opportunity keep kids in school.”
        Visit and click on “Information on COVID-19” for additional details and resources.


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