Columbus, Ohio – During a COVID briefing on Wednesday Ohio Governor Mike DeWine rescinded the State of Ohio guidance suggesting students quarantine after being in close contact with other COVID-positive students in school and the classroom.
“Today we are changing our guidance,” said DeWine. “I know that there’s been a great deal of pain – students not being able to do things because they are in quarantine. I fully understand that and I’m sorry that happened, but we had to follow the CDC guidance.”
The Governor said the decision was based on an evaluation of Ohio students, a CDC report involving students in Mississippi, and priority the Governor has given to teachers and staff to receive the COVID vaccine.
The evaluation of Ohio students was conducted by the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team – a conglomerate of researchers from Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, The Ohio State University, Wright State University, Ohio University and the Post-Acute Rapid Response Team.
Ohio Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff explained the Ohio evaluation: “involved the testing of 728 children in seven school districts between November 10 – December 18.”
Now, among the students were 524 students who, while in a school classroom, were noted to be in close contact (under the current CDC guidelines) with someone with COVID-19.
The others in the study were either further away in that same classroom or outside that classroom but in the same grade.
And here’s what the researchers found: there was no discernable difference in the incidence rate among the exposed students and the students who weren’t exposed. The rate for both groups hoovered right around three percent.
Now, it’s important to note, this involved students in classrooms, not extracurricular, community or home settings.
According to Vanderhoff, the CDC study from Mississippi that released on December 18 “shows that the close contacts of children with COVID-19 were more likely to be family members and less likely to be classmates. Importantly, attending school in person or during the two weeks before being tested was not associated with increased likelihood of a positive COVID test.”
DeWine said, “One of the main goals of our COVID-19 vaccination plan is to get K-12 kids back in school – for all parents who want their child back in school and for all districts that want to be back in school, we want them to have the ability to do that.”
The Governor’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney, in an email exchange with The Ohio Star, wrote “I would note that exposure is different than a positive test. Positive COVID tests are still subject to isolation.”
CDC revised guidelines for isolation state that a COVID-positive person can be around others 10 days after symptom onset, 24-hours without no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement in other COVID symptoms.
People with severe COVID symptoms may have to quarantine longer, while COVID-positive folks who didn’t experience symptoms can come out of lockdown 10 days after their first positive RT-PCR test.
Ohio State Senator Andrew Brenner (R-19) is Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee and talked with The Star after DeWine’s 2 o’clock briefing.
“We are moving in the right direction. The studies clearly show that the risks to students are minimal and spread of Covid19 in schools is not happening.” Brenner continued, “While many students can work remotely, due to learning styles as well as appropriate one-on-one support from teachers, it is important that students return to regular classrooms in order to continue their education in a proper setting.”
The entire press conference can be viewed below. You can watch the segment on the rescinded guidance 10:50min, ending at the 26-minute mark.
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