Columbia Public Schools students and faculty who test positive for COVID-19 will have to stay home for five days and wear a mask when they return from quarantine, according to a letter from the district to parents Thursday.
The change is part of the district’s updated COVID-19 quarantine and mask procedures in anticipation of the return from winter break Tuesday.
The Columbia School Board voted Dec. 13 to make key changes in the district’s COVID-19 plan, including no longer requiring students and staff to wear masks inside district buildings or during school events.
The revised quarantine plan reflects the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, which requires people who test positive to stay home for at least five days.
Students and teachers returning to school from quarantine, as well as those who were exposed, will have to wear masks and eat at a separate lunch table 6 feet away from others through Day 10, according to the letter.
Those who were exposed will also be asked to take a COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test five days after exposure.
The district will continue to notify parents and guardians if their student was exposed to a positive case, according to its 2021-2022 Coronavirus Plan.
The district can also implement temporary required masking at classroom, building or district levels if needed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Masks will still be required on school buses as per federal regulation. The district strongly encourages the continued use of masks in buildings and will continue providing them, according to Thursday’s letter.
The letter also mentions the district’s continuation of school-based vaccination clinics and encourages those eligible to get vaccinated.