COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ.)
The state has approved the “test to stay” option to avoid quarantines for students this academic year.
However, Columbia and Jefferson City School Districts decided to play it safe and stick with their original COVID-19 procedures.
The State Department defines “test to stay” as “a strategy that enables a close contact to continue activities during the quarantine period through participation in frequent testing.”
Test to Stay will only be permitted to those who have been in close contact with someone that has the virus. Students and faculty must take three rapid tests at the school during their 7-day quarantine time frame.
If the testing comes back negative, students and faculty will not be permitted inside the classroom.
Michelle Baumstark, spokesperson for Columbia Public Schools, said the district had established its contact tracing and quarantine procedures.
“Current contact tracing and quarantine protocols take into consideration mitigation strategies such as masking, vaccination status, and social distancing. We have a 10-day quarantine with masking through day 14. We also have an option available where the individual tests negative with a PCR test between day 5 and 7, and then they return with masking through day 14,” said Baumstark.
The Columbia School District remains the highest in the central region for COVID cases. Baumstark said they are not yet to a place where altering mitigation procedures is advised or recommended.
The district reported 40 students have tested positive for COVID-19, an increase of two cases from Tuesday. The district is reporting 22 students in elementary, 11 students in middle school and seven students in high school have tested positive for the coronavirus.
There are 175 students required to quarantine due to the coronavirus, an increase of 111 students from Tuesday. The district reports 114 elementary students are currently quarantining, 57 students in middle school, four students in high school and one at other district facilities.
The Jefferson City School District has also decided to stick with its COVID-19 procedures.
Director of Communications Ryan Burn said, “At this time we have no plans to make any further adjustments to our existing protocols. Our cases have remained low throughout the first month of school, and that is what allowed us to remove some of the existing procedures.”
The Jefferson City School District reported seven active cases in students and one active case in a staff member.
The district is reporting 17 close contacts for students and one close contact for staff.
As of now, both school districts’ main goal is to keep the students and faculty members safe.