SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — As the State of Missouri continues to fight off the spread of COVID-19, schools are still determining what should and shouldn’t require a student to quarantine.
On Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, Missouri Governor Mike Parson provided some updated guidance on that front.
According to Parson, if two individuals at a school come in contact with one another while one is positive for COVID-19, the other person shouldn’t be required to quarantine if both they and the infected person were properly wearing masks.
The Governor still encourages you to monitor for symptoms and wear a mask at all times, if you came into contact with an infected person. The person who tests positive for COVID-19 is still required to quarantine.
“Schools that are consistently implementing COVID-19 mitigation strategies remain among the safest places for our students,” Gov. Parson said. “We believe this change will lead to more schools encouraging proper mask usage, helping to further protect students and educators from the spread of the virus.”
STATE MODIFIES GUIDANCE ON CLOSE CONTACT QUARANTINES
JOPLIN, MO November 12, 2020 – The Governor has just announced that because extraordinary numbers of students are being quarantined, DESE and the Department of Health have been examining options to safely reduce this number and increase the number of students who can receive onsite instruction. As of November 12, guidance on close contacts and quarantining has been modified to include the following:
- The school has a mask mandate, and
- All parties in a close contact event were properly masked, and
- The local health department has approved the policy,
- Parties identified as a close contact will not be required to quarantine if they are not symptomatic.
- The guidance applies only to school contacts.
- Expectations – Continued good public health practices
- Social distancing is being enforced (we don’t expect to see cafeterias and gyms crammed full of people)
- Hygiene practices (handwashing, hand sanitizer) are being enforced
DESE has been in contact with a number of other states who have implemented this policy. Those states have not seen an increase in cases subsequent to implementation.
This policy should reduce teacher workload in many cases by reducing or eliminating the number of students who must be instructed at a distance in addition to those taught onsite.
Based on this guidance from DESE Joplin Schools will be amending their Re-Entry plan and mask policy immediately to follow these recommendations. Students and staff will be expected to wear a mask at all times, where social distancing cannot be maintained. When both parties are masked in the school setting, quarantining will not be required.