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Sycamore Schools to Maintain 14-Day Quarantine Periods

Sycamore Community Schools will continue to require a 14-day quarantine period for anyone who is determined to be a close contact of COVID-19 after careful assessment and in consultation with Hamilton County Public Health (HCPH) and Sycamore’s Data Assessment Risk Team (DART). 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health recently released alternative options to reduce quarantine for close contacts in hopes of reducing the burden and increasing community compliance. However, the CDC is still recommending quarantine periods of 14 days as the preferred method to reduce the risk that infected persons might unknowingly transmit COVID-19 to others. 

“The CDC and Hamilton County are telling us that any option to shorten quarantine duration risks being less effective than the currently recommended 14-day quarantine,” said Frank Forsthoefel, superintendent. “A full 14-day quarantine is still best practice.”

What is the risk of reducing the quarantine period? 

With the currently recommended 14-day quarantine period, the residual post-quarantine transmission risk is up to 3%. Moving to a 10-day period would increase the transmission risk to up to 10.6%. An even shorter quarantine period of 7 days would increase the risk up to 22%. Even with a negative test after 7 days, the transmission risk is up tol 8.6%.

With a shortened quarantine period, the risk of in-school transmission increases and likely means more students and staff that will need to quarantine from exposure.

Can the district reduce the quarantine period by required testing?

According to the CDC, the transmission risk for the optional reduced quarantine periods is reduced if there is a negative test within 48 hours before the end of the quarantine. However, the district cannot require students and staff to be tested for COVID-19 and therefore cannot institute those options that would include a required test.

Providing consistency in quarantine periods

The CDC still recommends a 14-day quarantine for exposure to COVID-19 in a person’s household. By maintaining our current quarantine period, we can provide consistency to all close contacts regardless of where they were exposed to the coronavirus. 

“Our school health data shows our 14-day quarantine period is working,” said Forsthoefel, “So far, the district has seen one likely case of in-school transmission. With community spread rising, the district will continue to adhere to the recommended 14-day period to ensure our schools continue to be a safe place for students and staff.”

The DART team will continue to monitor and follow health and safety protocols and recommendations from the CDC, ODH, and HCPH.