CACHE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The Bear River Health Department has a plan to keep students in class across three counties and four school districts. If staff and students follow this plan, the health department hopes to not only keep students in class but keep the community healthy as well.
“I am a parent. I want to see my kids go to school,” Estee Hunt tells ABC4. “Every parent that sends their kids to school wants to see wants to see their children go to school, and knows what a benefit it is.”
Hunt is the public information officer with Bear River Health Department. She explains that the department’s 2021-2022 School Year COVID-19 Response Plan aims to keep her kids, and thousands of others, in class.
“By following this guidance that is our hope, that we will be able to keep our children in school and prevent disease and death within our community.”
Part of the plan, which was adopted by all four school districts in the health department’s three-county region, includes a prevention section that includes actions like wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, washing hands often, and staying home when sick.
The plan also includes an intervention section.
Hunt says if a student tests positive for COVID-19, the health department notifies the school without identifying the individual, “and at that point, it goes out to all the parents in a letter that says, ‘Your child has been exposed at school and these are your options.’”
Hunt explains that students and staff who are fully vaccinated, regularly wear a mask at school, or have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days don’t have to worry about taking any extra steps after being exposed.
For staff and students who don’t fall under those three categories, Hunt says the health department’s plan asks them to do one of the following after exposure: “They can quarantine at home for 10 days, or they can choose to wear a mask at school for that 10-day period from the time they were exposed, or they can wear a mask until day seven and then get tested on day seven. If they get a negative test, then they’re okay to take their mask off.”
Hunt says currently these are all recommendations, but she warns that if a school reaches a COVID-19 threshold of two percent, it will have to follow the state’s test to stay protocol.
The health department currently provides COVID-19 tests for children in grades K-12. More information can be found here.