Governor Parson Announces Changes in State's K-12 School Quarantine Guidance
Wed, 11/18/2020 - 1:34pm admin
Proper Mask Usage May Prevent Close Contacts from Quarantining
Last week, Governor Mike Parson, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced modifications to Missouri's K-12 school reopening and operating guidance.
"We know that COVID-19 is not going away soon, so it is important that we continue to evaluate the guidance we're issuing at the state level to make sure our procedures are sustainable for the next several months," Governor Parson said. "We have been working hard with DESE and DHSS to find a solution that allows us to continue providing the high-quality education our students deserve while still keeping them, our teachers, and all school staff members safe."
Under the updated guidance, mask wearing may now prevent individuals from being identified as close contacts in K-12 schools that have implemented a mask mandate. This means that if both individuals at school – the person diagnosed with COVID-19 and the person exposed to the positive case – have masks on and are wearing them correctly, the individual exposed does not need to quarantine.The person who tests positive for COVID-19 is still required to isolate at home.
Close contacts in K-12 schools should continue to quarantine at home for 14 days if (1) their school does not require students and staff to wear masks, or (2) the mask was not being worn appropriately by either the person diagnosed with COVID-19 or the person who was exposed.
"Schools that are consistently implementing COVID-19 mitigation strategies remain among the safest places for our students," Governor Parson said. "We believe this change will lead to more schools encouraging proper mask usage, helping to further protect students and educators from the spread of the virus."
In addition to mask wearing, adequate social distancing and proper hand hygiene continue to be important in combatting the spread of COVID-19.
In efforts to keep schools open, Governor Parson and his administration continue to emphasize that Missourians must work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by implementing the three key mitigation strategies: wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand washing.