Important COVID Update

Important COVID Update: New ODH Quarantine Guidelines & Mask Protocols
Posted on 10/29/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Important COVID Update: New ODH Quarantine Guidelines & Mask ProtocolsThe following update was shared with Lakota parents, students and staff the afternoon of Oct. 29, 2021 regarding a change to the mask requirement in response to the updated ODH guidelines regarding COVID-realted quarantines for in-school close contacts. 

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Dear Lakota Parents, Guardians and Students,

On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released new quarantine guidance for close contacts in a school setting

After careful consideration, the following changes to our COVID protocols will go into effect on Monday, Nov. 1:

As we have done since the start of the pandemic, in addition to reviewing the guidance from ODH, we consulted with local medical experts before making this decision. We have not received any feedback from the Butler County General Health District that opposes these new protocols.

Consistent with the Warren County pilot, Lakota has also seen a very low rate of quarantined close contacts actually contracting COVID (just 3%). Please understand that we will continue to watch our positive numbers closely. If we see a spike in positive cases, we may choose to reinstate the mask requirement at any time

Per ODH, those identified as a close contact in a school setting may now stay in school by following these “Mask to Stay” protocols, regardless of vaccination status:

If a close contact submits a negative COVID test result from day 5-7 to the school, the “Mask to Stay” protocols may end on day eight (8). 

If a close contact refuses to wear a mask, they must stay home for 10 days from the last date of contact. They may return to school on day eight (8) if they submit a negative COVID test result from day 5-7. Mask waivers do not apply under these circumstances.

In order to continue participating in extracurricular activities, close contacts in a school setting must follow these “Test to Play” protocols, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Remain asymptomatic;

  • Wear a mask as much as possible;

  • Test negative for COVID within 24 hours of being identified as a close contact and submit the results to school;

  • Test again between days 5-7. If negative, they may choose to stop wearing a mask on day 8.

In order to qualify, negative test results must be a PCR or antigen test that was observed by a medical professional. Please visit our COVID website for more information about our protocols.

While we understand that parents have very strong feelings on both sides of the mask issue, it has always been our priority to keep kids in school. As such, under the previous quarantine requirements, Lakota’s mask requirement has kept nearly 3,400 students out of quarantine since the start of school. These new quarantine guidelines from the State give us an option to not only keep healthy close contacts learning in the classroom with the added precaution of a mask for the safety of others, but also give families the option to choose whether their child will wear a mask. 

Please understand that, although we will not require masks beginning on Monday, we strongly recommend that our students and staff continue to wear them

Sincerely,

Matthew J. Miller
Superintendent