The City Schools of Decatur (CSD) recently discussed new mitigation strategies for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Dr. Ferhman’s plan can be found here. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued new guidance on this same topic (click here). Discussions surrounding these topics include loss of time in the classroom, student performance, and overall safety in the face of COVID-19.
I am committed to the following principles regarding these issues:
CDC Guidance. Because guidelines can be fluid or rapidly changing, I will continue to seek input from experts in the fields of infectious disease, epidemiology, and the Department of Public Health (DPH) for the latest recommendations.
COVID Vaccine. I encourage everyone eligible for the COVID vaccine to receive it. As a community, we should work to make vaccines easily accessible through mobile centers or other measures.
Mask Policy. Masks should be required for all unvaccinated students, according to CDC guidance.
K-8: Masks for all students under age 12 years until a vaccine is available to them.
High School: Masks should be required to start the school year in order to decrease viral exposures, with a review of the mask policy once the vaccine rate of the students is known.
Mitigation Measures. When - and if - the prevalence of the COVID virus remains low within our school system, mitigation measures should be decreased, one measure at a time.
Quarantine Policy. The current CSD mitigation plan allows for COVID exposed students to quarantine within their classroom. Like many of you, I understand this is concerning. CSD has an obligation to definitively decide when “in-school quarantine” is no longer a safe alternative for our students. As well, CDC Guidance for close contacts has been revised recently; see here. Due to these changes, my hope is that fewer students will be subject to quarantine.
In summary, this is a topic that is ever-changing. However, we must keep the safety of our students, teachers and staff at the forefront of our decision making. Additionally, it is important to get our students back into the classroom. I believe that the current CDC guidance, while not directly addressing changes in quarantine length, will decrease the number of children and families who require quarantine.
If you have questions regarding the details of the plan as it relates to CDC guidance, or my objectives above, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.