Parents, schools react to Gov. Youngkin’s new quarantine guidelines

Some parents say they agree with the governor’s recommendation
Parents and central Virginia schools react to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s updated quarantine guidance for schools.
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Parents and central Virginia schools react to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s updated quarantine guidance for schools.

The governor says he is trying to ease the strain on families whose lives can be disrupted when classrooms and child care facilities shut down for only a few cases.

The new guidance says a child exposed to COVID-19 does not need to quarantine as long as that child remains asymptomatic. Youngkin’s guidance recommends students should quarantine if they test positive.

An exposure is defined as being within six feet of an infected individual for at least 15 minutes or longer.

Students are also no longer required to wear masks, except in limited circumstances.

Some parents told NBC12 off camera they’ll continue to make their kids mask up in schools as long as the virus continues to spread. In contrast, others say certain mitigation strategies can harm a child’s social and emotional health.

One father, Ryan Roome, says Youngkin’s new guidance is a relief for some families like his, especially his kids.

“One thing they really complained about was having to wear masks all the time. It was very constricting, and they didn’t feel as healthy because they were just constantly breathing through the mask, and it’s kind of irritating to have to wear them all the time,” Roome said.

Katharine Bullock, a mother of five, says kids shouldn’t have to quarantine if they don’t have symptoms. Bullock says isolation has been a problem for her children in the past.

“They felt extremely lonely, so I think it can cause kids to feel depressed sometimes, to be honest,” Bullock said.

As for local schools, some Chesterfield students started year-round school Monday without COVID restrictions for the first time in more than two years.

“Our efforts are trying to keep the building clean, secure in that area benefits us a great deal, and that we have protocols in place,” Chesterfield County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mervin Daughtery said.

Masks are required for all staff in Richmond Public Schools. Students can opt-out of wearing one. The school division has also done away with contact tracing, so only students who test positive must quarantine.

RPS spokesperson Sarah Abubaker says certain mitigation strategies like social distancing and frequent hand-washing will still be in place.

“Because it’s worked. We’ve seen that our COVID numbers and transmission numbers have been lower than community spread,” Abubaker said.

Henrico County Public Schools released a statement saying:

Henrico County Public Schools remains committed to supporting the health and wellness of our school community. We are grateful for the collective efforts of our students, parents and employees to implement health measures for the benefit of all. School administrators continue to encourage frequent handwashing, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, vaccinations, and staying home when sick. These layered mitigation strategies help reduce the spread of many types of illness in our classrooms and schools.

As health experts study COVID-19 variants and transmission, our partners at the health department and the Virginia Department of Education are giving schools updated guidance on prevention measures. As a result, HCPS will continue to adjust protocols in alignment with recommended best practices as well as laws and regulations related to school health.

The Virginia Department of Health relaxed guidance on quarantine back in June.

Individuals exposed to COVID would not need to quarantine if they had tested positive and recovered from the virus within the last six months, were up to date on vaccines or both.

The CDC still encourages masking indoors where COVID spread is high.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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