January 2021 COVID-19 Update

January 2, 2021

The following is a letter sent to families electronically from Superintendent Jennifer Allerding.

Dear Galion City Schools Families,

On Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, Governor DeWine released new guidance to Ohio school districts regarding the current accepted practice for student quarantine. After a comprehensive review of statewide data, health professionals are no longer recommending that students or staff who have been exposed to COVID-positive individuals must quarantine. This guidance is only for cases where all students have been wearing masks and the potential exposure took place in a classroom setting. It does not apply to contact in outside settings, including after school activities and athletics.

Currently, it has been our accepted practice to immediately quarantine all students who have come into contact with any COVID-positive individual. Additionally, the district (in collaboration with local boards of health) has assisted in efforts to establish appropriate measures of contact tracing to ensure the health and safety of all who have potentially come into contact with an individual who has tested positive for the virus.

While this guidance is a great departure from our current practice, we will respect the data that has been provided to us by local and state health officials. Additionally, the Galion City Schools has been collecting our own data related to positive cases and incidents of quarantine.  Currently, 2% of staff and students have tested positive or have been deemed a probable case. In analyzing our data further, we have implemented a total of 574 quarantines.  Of the 574 incidents of quarantine, approximately 1% have developed symptoms and have tested or been considered probable for COVID-19.  It is important to note that the majority of these cases have been tied to extra-curricular or other scenarios where masking was not in place.

Beginning January 4, 2021, we will no longer require those who meet the above criteria to quarantine away from the school setting. We are encouraged that this new guidance will allow our students to remain in the classroom while maintaining their health and safety.

Finally, in response to feedback received from families in our most recent survey, we will be adjusting how we report out positive cases in the District.  We will continue to send building and classroom notifications via email as well as update our dashboard on the District website. Email notifications will be sent and the District dashboard will be updated as we are notified of cases. The District dashboard can be accessed at the following link: /reopening-schools/covid-19-dashboard.  Additionally, I will send out a phone message each Thursday to provide an update on cases, to provide information about the plan for the following week, and to provide other District updates and information. 

We understand that these rapid changes are difficult for parents and caregivers. As always, we strive to remain transparent and communicative as soon as new information becomes available. Since the onset of the pandemic, the health and safety of our students have remained our highest priority, and we will continue to follow the best practice guidelines of health officials. Should you have any questions regarding these policy changes, please contact feel free to contact me or your child’s building principal.

Sincerely,

Jen Allerding

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