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School COVID policy announced

The Pike County school system recently announced COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year which will begin Aug. 10. Masks are again optional at all Pike schools and this year and those who have been in close contact with those who test positive for COVID-19 will not be automatically quarantined unless they begin to have symptoms. ’Masks will again be optional for students and staff, both while in school and on school transportation. Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine in accordance with CDC/DPH guidelines. Parents and guardians of students who are identified as ‘˜close contacts’ will be notified and asked to monitor their student’s symptoms closely. Those individuals will not be required to quarantine unless they begin to show symptoms. Students and staff may choose to quarantine if identified as a close contact. As always, any student or staff member who has symptoms should not come to school/work,’ reads the new policy which can be accessed in full at pike.k12.ga.us/covid19/. In the case that any school reaches a 2% infection rate, additional precautions will be initiated in that school. Those precautions will closely resemble the protocols that were in place last year in response to the pandemic. ’It is important to know that we will monitor student and staff health closely and are prepared to impose additional protocols and procedures as required by the situation at the time,’ said superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan. Masks will be available in schools and on buses for those who request them. In schools with less than 2% positive students and staff with any seven-day period, close contact quarantines will be optionals, contact tracing will be monitored for students and staff within three feet or 15 minutes intervals and parents of those in close contact with those who test positive will be notified by phone. Visitors and parents will be allowed back in schools in accordance with local school procedures. Schools will resume normal field trip procedures. No special attendance codes (COV) will be needed, just an excused absence. Teachers and students will provide make-up work under the same expectations as any other excused absence. Proof of vaccination is only required when necessary to avoid mandatory quarantine. Symptomatic individuals must quarantine regardless of vaccination status. Seating charts will still be required for contact tracing purposes. All other internal logistics (class transitions, desk arrangements, cafeteria protocols, staggered dismissals, etc.) will be at the discretion of local school administration. In school with more than 2% positive cases in any seven-day period, additional safety measures will be reinstated such as structured hallway transitions, no gathering locations, temperature checks and limited visitors. Class and school wide notifications will be increased and traditional mandated quarantined procedures will be followed for all non-vaccinated students and staff who were in close contact with a positive person.

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