In-person school has been difficult for students and staff to adjust to and chaotic for many. Before close contact protocols were changed by the DOE, some students and staff members were put into quarantine after receiving notification that they were a close contact and had no proof of COVID-19 vaccination on record.
During their quarantine, the protocols were changed to be less restrictive. We asked Mr. Jaenicke, who continuously updates information about the rules of quarantine to parents and students, about how the rules of quarantine have changed since the start of the school year.
“The policy on quarantining individuals evolved a little bit from last year to this year. Specifically, some changes have been made to the definition of what it means for an individual to be considered in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid. Some of the important pieces of that definition have to do with physical distance. So where you were considered a close contact if you were less than 6ft apart, it has now been reduced to 3 feet. As long as an individual wears a mask they are not necessarily considered close contact if someone has tested positive for COVID19. Those are the two biggest changes to the definition of close contacts.”
“When someone is indeed considered in close contact, then some of the changes are a bit more intricate: the individual is expected to quarantine up to 10 days from the time of exposure. However, if the individual is fully vaccinated then they do not need to be quarantined. If the individual gets tested after 5 days and is asymptomatic then the individual can come back sooner than those 10 days. Some situations can be different and more specific. For example, if it was a group of students in the same classroom and someone tested positive, they would have to be quarantined.”
“I am focused, clear, and up to date about what the policies are, so if there are changes made, I understand those changes and I can apply them and implement them here at Curtis. We try to maintain good health and safety for everyone.”
One of our warriors, Zahara Nadler, a freshman said “I was home for a whole week because I was in close contact with someone. It was harder than last year’s remote because it was all asynchronous and teachers will post classwork and complete attendance every day on a google form and teachers will assign work and need to be handed before 5pm. It was hard doing a lot of the work. Since it is not remote anymore, many students were missing a lot of work.”
In my experience, I received an email saying that I was in close contact but I was not able to return to school until my vaccinations were not updated. I couldn’t figure out why I stayed home for three days and it was a short amount of time but I missed lots of classwork from school and every day. I had to sign my attendance on a google form and let my teachers know beforehand why I couldn’t be in school. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that these times have been difficult for everyone.
More information from the DOE on the rules of quarantine:
“Positive Cases: Closure and Quarantine
We know how important it is to keep our schools and classrooms open for learning, and we have done everything we can to make sure our classrooms are equipped to be safe learning environments, including mandating that all staff are vaccinated and ensuring increased ventilation in all school buildings and classrooms. These measures will mean fewer disruptions in your child’s education.
Beginning on Monday, September 27, we will no longer close an entire classroom when there is a positive case. Vaccinated and unvaccinated students who are wearing face coverings and have maintained at least three feet of distance from a student who tests positive will not be considered close contacts and will not have to quarantine.
Schools will be closed only when it is determined by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) that there is widespread transmission in the school. With the health and safety measures in place, we expect that school closures will be limited.” (Source: www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/health-and-wellness/covid-information/health-and-safety-in-our-schools)