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Washtenaw County issues public health order for school quarantine

‘Unfortunately, COVID-19 remains a threat,’ says county health officer

Pre-kindergarten students listen as their teacher reads a story at Dawes Elementary in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Chicago Public Schools students began their return to the classroom Monday as school doors opened to thousands of pre-kindergarten and some special education students after going remote last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool)
Pre-kindergarten students listen as their teacher reads a story at Dawes Elementary in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Chicago Public Schools students began their return to the classroom Monday as school doors opened to thousands of pre-kindergarten and some special education students after going remote last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool) (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a health order on Thursday requiring K-12 students to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.

The Health Department announced that the distance requiring quarantine in classrooms or buses has been reduced to three feet while the six-foot requirement in hallways, classrooms where students cannot mask, music classrooms and during extracurricular activities remains in place.

The Health Department said that classroom distance could be safely reduced as long as prevention measures like social distancing, masking and frequent hand washing are in place.

Anyone exposed to COVID-19 should seek testing if they develop symptoms or monitor for symptoms for a full 14 days if asymptomatic.

Individuals who come within six feet of a suspected or positive case of COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period are considered to have had close contact.

Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services stated that school quarantine guidelines must now be set by local health departments.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 remains a threat,” health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department Jimena Loveluck said in a release. “We know spread is mostly likely with close contact, but we also know prevention measures effectively reduce the chances of becoming infected. This local order takes that into account.

“Importantly, we remain grateful for the support and cooperation of our schools and districts, as we proceed together and balance the need for effective learning environments with protective health and safety measures.”

The May 13 emergency order will remain in effect in Washtenaw County until further notice.

Individuals can avoid quarantine measures if they are vaccinated. The Health Department began vaccinating adolescents ages 12-15 against COVID-19 on Friday.

To book an appointment, click here or call 734-544-6700.

For a list of area providers of the Pfizer vaccine for children, click here.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.