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For Immediate Release
Contact: Susan Ringler Cerniglia, MPH
Public Information Officer
Washtenaw County Health Department
Washtenaw County Health Department Issues Local Public Health Order for School Quarantine
K-12 students required to quarantine after exposure and in specific circumstances
YPSILANTI, Mich., May 13, 2021 – Washtenaw County Health Department is issuing local health orders requiring quarantine for school-age children with exposure to COVID-19. Within classrooms or buses, the distance requiring quarantine is reduced to 3ft. In other settings, including extracurricular activities, hallways, music classrooms, or classrooms where students cannot mask, the 6ft requirement is still in place. Anyone exposed to COVID-19 should continue to monitor themselves for symptoms for a full 14 days after an exposure and seek testing if symptoms appear.
Close contact is defined as being within 6ft of a positive (or suspect) case of COVID-19 while the case is infectious and for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. While anyone with known close contact should be alert to the possibility of symptoms, the distance within classrooms that requires quarantine can safely be reduced to 3ft so long as prevention measures like masks, distance, and frequent hand cleaning also remain in place.
Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) advised that enforcement of statewide school quarantine guidelines must now be through local health department order. After assessing the situation and consulting with local schools and districts, the Washtenaw County health officer has issued the accompanying order dated May 13, 2021 and effective immediately. This order will remain in effect until rescinded.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 remains a threat,” says Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department. “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,” continues Loveluck.
COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the need for quarantine or regular testing and help us all resume more normal activities. It is easier than ever to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Everyone 12 years old or older is eligible and can be vaccinated through the Health Department or other local vaccine providers, such as pharmacies and health care providers. The Health Department will begin vaccinating adolescents 12-15 years old on Friday, May 14.
Online self-scheduling is open for multiple sites. Appointments are preferred but walk-ups are welcome during clinic hours as supplies allow. Anyone needing assistance with scheduling or locating a vaccine site can call the Health Department at 734-544-6700.
Free transportation is available to help anyone needing it get to a vaccination site.
Washtenaw County Health Department The Washtenaw County Health Department promotes health and works to prevent disease and injury in our community, including responding to health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our mission is to assure, in partnership with the community, the conditions necessary for people to live healthy lives through prevention and protection programs. Visit us at washtenaw.org/health or call 734-544-6700.