ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Erie County Department of Health will now go with the New York State’s COVID-19 guidance for schools.
The change relaxes the quarantine rules for unvaccinated students and could lead to fewer students having to isolate.
According to school officials, the biggest difference between the state and county guidance has to do with quarantining. They said the state guidance will cut down on the number of students being sent home that don’t necessarily need to be.
The president of the Erie-Niagara Schools Superintendents Association, Michael Cornell, said since the beginning of the year the goal has been to have as many kids have 180 days of in-person learning as possible.
Under the county’s old guidelines, if there were two positive cases in a class over a 10 day period all the unvaccinated students in that class had to quarantine. The state guidance doesn’t require that.
Under the new guidance unvaccinated students only have to quarantine if they were in close contact with an infected person.
“The real difference is if there’s a second case in that class then we just go through and identify close contacts and we’re not closing the entire classroom,” Cornell said. “What we found was we were quarantining students who were not close contacts according to New York State standards and it didn’t make sense for us to have healthy and well kids to be at home unnecessarily.”
While still under the county guidance of needing to quarantine full classes, Akron High School announced they will be going remote next week due to an outbreak.
“Niagara Falls has had a significant number of cases as well and they had 30 or so cases that resulted in 19 quarantines. At Akron you had 17 cases that resulted in 175 quarantines. So theyre in lies the difference,” Cornell said.
He said it’s completely up to parents whether or not to vaccinate their children, but he wants them to know the facts as they relate to the vaccine and the new guidance.
“Under the New York State Department of Health guidance your child is much less likely to be quarantined if your child is vaccinated, that’s just a fact.”
Until now, Erie County was the only county in the state using its own guidance.
Read the full NYS guidance below:
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- Wegmans begins offering Moderna, J&J COVID-19 booster shots
- School districts across WNY weigh in on potential vaccine approval for students as young as 5
- Pfizer says COVID vaccine is more than 90% effective in 5- to 11-year-olds
- Is it time for me to get a COVID-19 booster? And which one should I get?