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Warren County Schools Propose Pilot Program To Keep Students Exposed To COVID In Classroom

Masked students sit in a classroom at Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus in March 2021.
Dan Konik
Ohio Public Radio
Masked students sit in a classroom at Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus in March 2021.

A southwest Ohio county that’s been dealing with hundreds of COVID cases in its schools wants a new option for students who’ve been exposed besides staying at home.

Ten school districts in Warren County sent a letterasking the state to set up a testing program for kids who haven’t been vaccinated or masked but have been exposed to COVID, rather than requiring them to quarantine at home for 10 days.

The superintendents wrote in the letter that the proposal would provide stability for families and keep students safe in school in this "new reality which requires all of us to learn to live with COVID-19." They added that "COVID-19 isn't going away. It is evolving. We need to do the same."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine likes the idea.

“The schools will then be able to keep that child in school, the child would have to wear a mask, child who had been exposed, for a limited period of time and then that child would be tested on two different occasions," DeWine said.

Under the plan, if they have no symptoms, they could come to school but wear a mask for 10 days, or they could take a rapid test on the fifth day after the exposure and if it’s negative and their school doesn’t require a mask, they wouldn’t have to wear one. Kids on quarantine could return with a negative COVID test starting on the fifth day after exposure.

There were more than 200 COVID cases in Warren County schools two weeks ago.

The request comes as some school districts have closed and others are considering their options for remote learning. Other districts that didn't implement mask mandates are now requiring them.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.