Hays school district reduces close-contact quarantine time limit

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 7:00 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - On October 19, the Hays Unified School Board voted to cut the close contact quarantine time limit from 14 days to seven days.

About 600 students in the district have had to quarantine since the beginning of the school year.

The school board voted unanimously (7-0) to cut the quarantine time limit in half after none of the students who’ve had to quarantine due to close contact, tested positive for Covid-19.

“Over those 600 that have been quarantined, none of them had to tested positive during their 14-day quarantine period," Ron Wilson, Superintendent of USD 489 said.

After nine weeks of data collection, the district decided to reconsider the number of days students should quarantine with the advice from medical professional at HaysMed and the Ellis County Health Department.

“Working with our health professionals here in Hays, as well as our County Health Officer, it was determined that most symptoms, show, exhibit themselves between three to five days and sometimes even out to seven days,” Wilson said. “So that seven day period would give us plenty of time for symptoms to be shown."

One parent of a student that attends Hays Unified School District believes this is a step in the right direction. His daughter has been quarantined three times this year.

“I’m glad they cut down to seven days,” Todd Jacobs said. “Reason being my daughter, a senior at Hays High, she just got done with her third quarantine of the school year. I just think for 14 days, she’s missing out on a lot of school time.”

Other community members feel this decision comes with risks.

“I think that if they’re doing it for academic purposes to be back in class, I think they’re gonna end up making it worse," Taylor Bruce, a resident of Hays said. "Because they’re gonna end up spreading it and then having to send everybody home and finishing online which is gonna end up being the absolute opposite of what they wanted to do.”

Wilson hopes this decision will benefit not only the students, but teachers as well.

“I think it’s also gonna help our teachers. Because when you’re teaching students in your class and also trying to teach students while they’re home, you know, it puts a tremendous stress on our teachers,” He said.

If parents have concerns with this decision, Wilson assured that parents will have the option keep their students home for the full 14 days if they choose.

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