Along with updating the list of symptoms in the Challis School District’s COVID-19 response plan, school board members chose to shorten the time students who test positive for the virus must quarantine from 14 days to 10.
After the board’s Dec. 8 meeting, the plan reads, “If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 or was directed by a healthcare provider or Eastern Idaho Public Health to stay home, we ask that you do not send your child to school until your child has isolated for at least 10 days from symptom onset and at least 3 days have passed since symptoms have improved.”
Superintendent Lani Rembelksi explained to board members the change is due to both Eastern Idaho Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials changing their metrics for quarantining. Earlier this month, CDC officials chose to shorten the length required for isolating because of the impact lengthy quarantines can have.
“We continue to refine our guidance to prevent transmission and protect Americans,” Dr. Henry Walke with the CDC said at the time. “Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to follow critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time.”
Board members unanimously approved the changes. Beyond them, the plan stays the same. If a student has had contact with a person testing positive for COVID-19, district officials still ask they quarantine for 14 days and experience no COVID-19 symptoms before returning to school. These symptoms include a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, congestion, nausea, body aches, headache, sore throat or recent lost of taste or smell, according to the Challis plan.
The district also remains in the yellow phase of its reopening plan, with face masks and physical distancing strongly encouraged.
School board members and district staff followed their own guidelines at the meeting. They capped attendance to 10 people, which was met by parents and teachers who mostly wore masks. The only board member who attended in person without a mask was Board Chairman Brett Plummer, but he maintained physical distance at the board table thanks to Trustees Trish Farr, Janiel Parkinson and Kate Taylor calling into the meeting.