The Georgia Department of Health has responded to a request to amend a state administrative order by the superintendent of the Bulloch County School System as part of a discussion in an ongoing dispute about quarantining exposed students and teachers.
“The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) “remains steadfast,” in its statewide guidance for how those directly exposed to COVID-19 are quarantined,” according to correspondence delivered to the school system on Monday. The ongoing discussions have been between DPH Commissioner Kathleen Toomey and Charles Wilson, superintendent of Bulloch County Schools. The response came after Wilson made a written request for the DPH to “immediately revise” and “equally and appropriately” enforce its standing Administrative Order, particularly for all schools across the state. Commissioner Toomey’s correspondence was emailed to Wilson by Jennifer Dalton, the DPH’s legal counsel.
“Currently, the CDC recommends that any close contacts of infected individuals quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether or not they were wearing a mask at the time of the encounter,” Commissioner Toomey wrote. “We will continue to follow those guidelines until the CDC recommends a different approach.”
From the press release:
A series of actions centered around how quarantines are handled in the school district began on October 8, when the Bulloch County Board of Education unanimously approved (8-0) a motion that would permit healthy students a choice to either quarantine at home or remain in school with certain conditions: they were wearing a mask at the time of direct exposure to a COVID-19 case; and they continue to wear a mask. Further implementation of the Board action was temporarily suspended on October 14, after correspondence from Dr. Toomey to Board Chairman Mike Sparks. This was followed by the October 15 and October 19 exchanges between Wilson and Dr. Toomey. The Board of Education will discuss the issue further at its October 22 work session.
The work session is at 6:30 p.m., in the cafetorium of the school district’s Central Office, located at 150 Williams Road in Statesboro. Guests should enter the entrance marked E under the portico on the southeast side of the building. The meeting space is open to the public. All guests are asked to maintain a social distance in the interest of public health.
Key topics for the Board meeting include the following: (1) a vote on whether to rescind the Board action to revise COVID-19 quarantine protocols; and (2) the Fiscal Year 2022 State Facilities Application.
The full agenda and Board packet are available online at www.bullochschools.org/boardpackets.
Copies of correspondences between the Department of Public Health and the school district are below.
As previously reported: