ICCSD updates COVID-19 quarantine policy

WSS Co-News Editor Vivian Polgreen ’23 breaks down the updated quarantine policy in the Iowa City Community School District.

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Owen Aanestad

West High students have the choice to wear face masks while on school property as of May 20.

Vivian Polgreen, Co-News Editor

On Sept. 8, the COVID-19 quarantine policy was changed in all junior high and high schools across the Iowa City Community School District. Quarantine procedures at the elementary schools will remain the same.

The updated policy states only individuals with a positive COVID-19 test will be required to quarantine for ten days after the onset of symptoms. Those who do not have a positive COVID-19 test will not be required to quarantine.

“If you’re asymptomatic, or even if you have a cough or cold, then you can come to school … everyone else, we’re just following, for the junior high and high school level, that you may return to school if you’re feeling good enough. We encourage mask-wearing but of course, that’s your choice,” said West High Nurse Jamie Mears.

The policy was changed because Johnson County Public Health was not able to keep up with contract tracing and contacting people with possible exposures in all of the ICCSD schools. Because of this, contract tracing resources will be devoted to elementary students, who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

“The policy just changes all the time… we’re all learning every day, so I think that it could probably change multiple times. We’re all just learning and trying to do what’s best for all the students and families,” said Mears.

When a student or staff is identified as positive, a notification will be sent to everyone who was in a class with them to warn them of the possible exposure. Those who were exposed, both in school or in another circumstance,  will be able to quarantine for up to 14 days and will be excused from classes if they notify the attendance office. 

“I 100% support the school and the public health department. I think it’s the only way to protect people that maybe can’t get vaccinated, due to medical issues. I support the policy, I think that we need to protect the students,” Mears explained.