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BCS explains quarantine policy

A spokesperson for the BCS said the district’s priority is to protect the health and safety of...
A spokesperson for the BCS said the district’s priority is to protect the health and safety of all students and employees, which is why its quarantine policy varies on a case-by-case basis.(WBRC)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 7:23 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham City Schools is clearing up confusion about how it’s handling possible COVID-19 outbreaks and exposures.

A spokesperson for the BCS said the district’s priority is to protect the health and safety of all students and employees, which is why its quarantine policy varies on a case-by-case basis.

The Alabama Department of Public Health released guidance at the end of July to help schools reopen safely, recommending schools require masks and social distancing.

ADPH said no quarantine is required when a student has been exposed to COVID, if the guidance is followed.

BCS has adopted a mask mandate, but 258 students are under quarantine, leading some to wonder why so many students are at home.

“The quarantine requirement varies from case to case. For example, if we receive a call from a parent that he or she has tested positive and their kids are at school that day, then the nurse may decide to recommend quarantining those students,” said Executive Director of Strategy and Communications for Birmingham City Schools, Sherrel Wheeler Stewart.

Stewart said that’s because the student may not have been wearing a mask at home while around the infected parent.

She said when schools discover there is a need to quarantine, they act quickly to get the child home.

“If someone is in close proximity to an individual who has tested positive and there is a belief that maybe the masks were not worn properly during that time, or a variety of situations may exist where the nurse and the teacher and principal decide that quarantining is best,” Stewart said.

She said schools are working hard to ensure students are still able learn while they’re away from the classroom.

A remote option is not available for students in quarantine, but she said packets are available to help avoid learning loss.

“And quite often those packets are tailored to the needs of the individual scholar. The goal is within 24 hours to have contact with that parent regarding the continued learning for the child while he or she is on quarantine,” Stewart said.

Students are typically quarantined for 10 days.

Right now, it’s unclear what the threshold would need to be to shutdown schools and go back to remote learning.

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