Northwest Local School District K-12 Families, Staff, and Students,
Northwest Local School District will be implementing the following two changes regarding our COVID protocols on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.
1. Effective immediately, NWLSD schools will be mask optional (except while riding district transportation): As of Monday, November 1, 2021 NWLSD’s COVID Response Plan County Trend and Zip Code Data indicators have remained below threshold for three consecutive weeks. As a result, NWLSD will move down to two indicators, as opposed to four. This change will roll back our mask requirements. Effective immediately, NWLSD schools will be mask optional. Parents who wish for their child to continue wearing a mask, should provide a face covering for their child each day. NWLSD highly recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks when indoors.
- Per Federal Mandates, a face covering must be worn while on buses or other modes of district transportation, despite being mask optional indoors at school.
2. ODH Mask To Stay/Test to Play Guidance will go into effect: NWLSD will be updating our quarantine practices to be in alignment with Ohio Department of Health’s new Mask to Stay/Test to Play Guidance
- Mask to Stay/Test to Play Guidance applies to K-12th grade only.
- Preschool will continue with standard quarantine practices for all staff and students. Individuals who become exposed, both in-school and outside of school, will quarantine at home.
- Mask to Stay/Test to Play is only an option for students who are exposed in school or as part of a school-sponsored activity only.
- Per ODH, the new guidance does not apply to exposures occurring outside of school (i.e. - family gatherings and non-school based social functions). Students and staff who are exposed outside of school, will continue to quarantine at-home.
- Parents can opt-out of the Mask to Stay/Test to Play Guidance by choosing to keep students at-home for the duration of their quarantine.
Additional information regarding the ODH Mask to Stay/Test to Play Guidance can be found below:
Mask to Stay/Test to Play Guidance
The following changes in the quarantine guidelines incorporate mask-wearing and testing to further reduce the chance of the spread of COVID-19 within a structured school setting and provide a safe alternative to quarantine. The quarantine and masking protocols are always subject to be amended as the recommendations change from state health authorities. (Masking will still be required on school buses and all district transportation due to federal guidelines.)
ODH recently amended its quarantine guidelines specifically for students and staff who are exposed in a school environment, allowing close contacts who do not develop symptoms the option to continue attending school in-person, rather than quarantine at home. Under this new guidance, schools will still be required to continue to enforce at-home isolation for individuals who are positive and individuals who have or develop symptoms consistent with Covid-19 during the 14-day observation.
Eligibility to participate in the Mask to Stay/Test to Play alternative is contingent on the type of exposure that occurs, and only includes those that take place in school settings or during school-related activities. Eligibility does not apply to household exposures or exposures outside school settings or school-related activities.
“Mask to Stay”
In-School Setting Quarantine Guidelines (Classroom and During the School Day)
1. Direct contacts who would normally be quarantined may remain in the classroom environment if they do the following:
a. Wear a mask for 14 days after their last date of exposure.*
b. Self-monitor, or parent monitor, for symptoms of COVID-19 .
c. Isolate and get tested if they start to experience symptoms associated with COVID-19 (regardless of the level of severity).
* Students/staff that have been identified as “close contact” and are attending school with a mask can be exempt from wearing a mask after day seven (7) if all the following occur:
- The student/staff do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and do not develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
- The student/staff test negative between days 5 - 7.
Parents and students are responsible for daily symptom monitoring; however, if school staff see a child exhibiting symptoms, they will act accordingly.
**Per the Department of Health, mask exemptions will NOT apply to this plan for any reason. A cloth face covering over the nose and mouth MUST be worn while in-school for students and staff who have been identified as a close contact under the Mask to Stay/Test to Play Guidance.
“Test to Play”
Extracurricular Activities (Beyond the Academic School Day)
1. Non-symptomatic close contacts may continue to participate in extracurricular activities if they do the following:
a. Mask whenever possible (locker rooms, sitting/standing on the sidelines, waiting to participate during performing or visual arts activities, public transportation; and anytime the mask will not interfere with breathing, the activity, or create a safety hazard)
b. Test on initial exposure to COVID -19.
c. Test again on days 5 - 7. If the test is negative, the student will test out of quarantine.
Please Note: All tests must be SARS-CoV-2 viral (PCR or antigen) tests. The test must be monitored/proctored/observed and cannot be an over-the-counter, at-home test that was self-administered without a proctor.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we continue to navigate all of the changes regarding Covid-19.