EMMETT — The Emmett School District board of trustees reduced the quarantine time for students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 from 14 to five days, which contradicts guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trustees on Monday voted 5-0 to reduce the quarantine time due to, “a growing number of quarantined students, which equates to fewer students in the classroom for face-to-face learning,” according to a district press release.
The Emmett School District said Tuesday it has 147 students and staff members who are in quarantine due to direct exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Superintendent Craig Woods said the change in COVID-19 quarantine was a risk, and told the trustees they could reevaluate their decision as more data came in. He noted the longer quarantine period was causing friction.
“The emotional drain on students and parents is simply too much for some families and families are objecting,” Woods said in a statement. “A couple of students have been on back-to-back quarantine periods. That’s not beneficial for our students who really should be back in the classroom where we know it’s the best learning environment.”
In order to return to school after the five day quarantine, students would have to test negative for COVID-19. They’d also be required to wear a mask in school for another five days.
“Students who don’t wish to test or comply with the temperature and mask expectations will be expected to complete the 14-day CDC recommended quarantine,” the press release said.
Trustees said their new quarantine format shortens the number of missed school days and “is intended to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and reduce the number of face-to-face instruction days missed by quarantined students who have tested negative,” the release states.
The district does not require masking in most cases while it is in the yellow school reopening category.
Southwest District Health on Oct. 1 moved Gem County, where Emmett is, from a yellow to an orange health alert level because of an increases of cases during the period of Sept. 13-26. The county as of Oct. 1 had a daily incidence rate of 2.41 daily cases per 10,000 people and a hospitalization rate of 15.38% for COVID-19 patents.