Monroe County Health Department announces changing covid guidelines for schools; Indiana will end contact tracing, shut down testing, and vaccination sites

The Monroe County Health Department issued new Covid-19 guidelines for schools in the county, according to a press release sent Friday.

The MCHD says children who test positive should continue to isolate for six days according to CDC guidelines. But, “Starting on February 23, 2022, IDOH will no longer require schools to do contact tracing or require non-symptomatic close contacts to quarantine if they have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19.”

The Indiana Department of Health also announced the beginning of the closure of state-run testing and vaccination sites across Indiana and said contact tracing in Indiana ends on March 1, 2022.

Editor’s note: People can still get tests and vaccinations through private healthcare providers, etc.

Here is the text of the MCHD press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           CONTACT:  Penny Caudill

February 18, 2022                                                                                            812-349-2068

                                                                                                                      [email protected]                                                                         

INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, CHANGING COVID-19 GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOLS, OTHER

BLOOMINGTON:  The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) is initiating changes to its K-12 school guidance for COVID-19 due to levels of cases declining across the state.  The Indiana Family & Social Services Administration (FSSA) has updated their guidance as well https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/schools-2.17.22.pdf.  

Starting on February 23, 2022, IDOH will no longer require schools to do contact tracing or require non-symptomatic close contacts to quarantine if they have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. 

Per IDOH, children who test positive for COVID-19 should continue to follow current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and isolate for 5 days. They can return to school on day six, providing they are fever free with symptoms resolving and wear a mask from days 6-10. Children who cannot wear a face covering correctly and consistently, including children under two, should stay home for 7 days and can return on day 8 if fever free and symptoms are improved.

While schools may elect to follow the new IDOH guidelines, it is not a requirement. Schools may keep their current COVID-19 practices in place if they choose.

Per Penny Caudill, administrator at the Monroe County Health department, “Schools will need to assess how to best implement the new procedures and it may vary at different schools.  The health department will continue to consult and work with the schools on planning as the pandemic transitions to a new phase. Please be understanding with school officials as they make these shifts.”

Caudill continued, “One thing that will NOT change is that children will still be required to wear a face covering on buses per the federal requirements.  As of now, there are no indications of when this may change”.

IDOH announced that they will begin winding down testing and vaccine sites, including the one at the Indianapolis Speedway.  Residents can visit  https://www.coronavirus.in.gov to check availability of services.  They are also ending its contact tracing program and will stop notifying those with a positive test for COVID-19 on 3/1/2022.  

People who are symptomatic with COVID-19 symptoms should isolate and get tested. If positive, follow current CDC guidelines and notify their close contacts as soon as possible.  If they want to remain anonymous, they can use an app named www.tellyourcontacts.org to send confidential texts or emails to inform their contacts.

                                             -END-“

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