BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Schools staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 may only have to isolate for five days. In addition, anyone who is exposed to COVID but is symptom-free is not required to quarantine, according to new protocols issued by the West Virginia Department of Education.
On Jan. 31, 2022, the WVDE issued updated COVID-19 protocols which they said follow information under the authority of the state Bureau for Public Health.
Matthew Sisk, Upshur County Schools director of school safety and emergency preparedness, said the updated protocols were posted on the Upshur County Schools app and the Upshur County Schools West Virginia Facebook page.
A copy of the COVID-19 protocols issued by the West Virginia Department of Education is available here.
Highlights of the new protocols include:
- Changes including the length of time for quarantine following an exposure
- Changes in guidelines for those who have symptoms of COVID-19
The protocols say when a student or staff tests positive for COVID-19, they should stay home for at least five days and isolate from others. It says staff and students may return to school if they isolate for five full days, if they are fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications, and if they are improving. It also says those who were severely ill or immunocompromised should stay home and isolate for 10 days.
Upon returning to school, the person should wear a well-fitted mask for days six through 10 and if they are unable to wear a mask, they should remain in isolation for the full 10 days.
The protocols also detail that those exposed to COVID-19 are allowed to continue with in-person learning in schools with a universal mask policy as long as the student is symptom-free. Additionally, contact tracing is no longer required. The protocols remind parents and guardians that the student needs to stay home and get tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms.
In a phone interview with My Buckhannon, Sisk said the protocols were issued by the state Department of Education and most changes in the protocols are in the quarantine guidelines.
“We are still taking a lot of mitigation efforts to fight the disease and we continue to do extra cleaning in all of our facilities,” Sisk said. “We are still using the same mask mandate and asking students and staff to practice social distancing as much as possible.”
Sisk reported that currently, COVID-19 numbers in Upshur County and Upshur County Schools are continuing to drop. Upshur County Schools requires students and staff to wear a mask depending on the DHHR map color and Sisk said currently, the map has Upshur County listed as gold.
“We firmly believe our students belong in school,” Sisk said. “The new protocols were received into the Upshur County Schools on Monday, and we issued them on Tuesday afternoon after reviewing the policy.”
Folks who have any questions regarding the protocols for COVID-19 in Upshur County Schools can contact Sisk by calling 304-472-5480 ext. 1019 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.