Richmond Public Schools announce shortened isolation time, new testing protocols

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 3:27 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:55 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools is changing its quarantine time for people who test positive and for those exposed.

“That’s a lot of time out of school for children and for teachers and we know in most of those cases there’s not actually infection,” said Jason Kamras, RPS Superintendent.

Tuesday, superintendent Jason Kamras announced the isolation change from 14 days to 10 days whether you are asymptomatic or not.

If you are potentially exposed you will have to isolate, but you will be given five COVID-19 rapid tests. Each night, if you test negative, you can come back to school. If you test positive, then you remain in quarantine for 10 days.

The division has 25,000 tests for the program which starts Jan. 24.

“We are working with a vendor to do that via a telehealth portal so that a certified nurse will be able to walk the student and family member through the test each night, record the results in a secure HIPAA compliant platform that our nurses will then be able to access and inform the student if they can come back the next day,” said Kamras.

Earlier this month, the division had about 160 people out due to COVID issues. A spokesperson for RPS says they believe they hit the peak last week.

Meanwhile, VCU Health System is also feeling a staffing crunch. CEO Dr. Art Kellermann said they have had as many as 200 staff members out at a time, and those still on the job are leaving.

“But everybody’s got their limit and we’ve certainly seen people who said it’s just time for me to retire, time for me to move on,” said Dr. Art Kellermann, VCU Health System CEO.

Back at RPS, the division will also keep its masking requirement in place.

This is in response to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order which gives parents the right to choose if their kid will wear a mask or not in school. While the governor says threats of defunding non-compliant schools are being overblown, the city says every $1 million in funding withheld equals 12 positions.

“The governor stated that he was going to be a pro-education governor, a pro schools governor. Threats of defunding schools doesn’t sound like the pro schools message,” said Mayor Levar Stoney, City of Richmond.

The Richmond School Board is also expected to pass a resolution supporting the 100% mask policy for students, staff and visitors.

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