JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education last week added a “test-to-stay” option to its COVID-19 quarantine guidelines, allowing close contacts to attend school and participate in extracurricular activities under certain conditions.
Under the new option, students, teachers and staff identified as close contacts are still recommended to quarantine outside of the school setting, but may continue to attend and participate in activities if the person:
- Was not exposed in an event that included other household exposures or in a similar high-risk situation
- Does not develop symptoms of COVID-19 throughout the full duration of the quarantine period
- Wears a mask consistently and correctly in school at all times during quarantine period
- Receives a minimum of three rapid antigen tests during the first seven days of the quarantine period and tests negative
- The close contact will also need to be monitored for symptoms daily and self-isolate at home should symptoms develop.
Tom Patterson, Nodaway County Health Department administrator, said Wednesday that it will be up to schools to decide if they want to utilize the option.
“We want them to have all available options,” Patterson said in an email to The Forum. “Hopefully COVID will continue to trend downward which will lead to more adjustments to guidance statewide too.”
The three rapid antigen tests called for by DESE in the optional guidance requires one to be performed upon identification of the close contact, followed by a minimum of two more tests, preferably on two non-consecutive school days within the first seven days of the quarantine period. Students may continue to attend school during that period as long as the tests continue to come back negative.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in Nodaway County dipped further this week, dropping under 30 for the first time since mid-July.
According to the latest available data from the Nodaway County Health Department, there were 27 active cases of COVID-19 in the county as of Oct. 11. None were hospitalized, and 34 have died since tallies began last spring.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ online vaccination dashboard, as of Oct. 12, a total of 9,345 Nodaway County residents have been fully vaccinated, or about 44 percent of county residents. About 47 percent of county residents — 9,979 — have initiated a vaccine regimen.
Missouri overall is at about 48.4 percent fully vaccinated and about 54.2 percent having initiated a vaccine. Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 56.6 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and 65.6 percent have received at least one dose, as of Oct. 12.