The decision has been criticized by school officials who are in favor of Covid-19 preventative measures such as mask mandates and additional quarantining.
“This rule is likely to promote the spread of Covid-19 by preventing schools from implementing the common-sense masking and quarantine policies recommended by the vast majority of health care professionals, including those here in Alachua County,” said Alachua County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon in a statement. “The State is, De hecho, doubling down on policies that may ultimately put students, staff and the entire community at greater risk.”
With the spread of the Delta variant driving a surge of cases as the new school year opened, schools in some states have faced difficulties balancing Covid-19 prevention with differing statewide orders.
Alachua County is among those in Florida whose school systems have come under fire from DeSantis for defying the state’s ban on mask mandates
“We will be reviewing the new rules and any notifications we receive from the State with our legal counsel and medical advisors. Mientras tanto, we will continue to follow the masking and quarantine policies currently in place in our schools,” Simon said.
Asymptomatic cases may be missed, research finds
Regarding the quarantining of students exposed, recent research has found that regular Covid-19 testing of all students and staff in schools can catch positive cases that symptom-based testing may miss.
As many as nine in
10 cases among students and seven in
10 cases among staff may be missed by conventional reporting mechanisms
, according to research published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open
Para el estudio, students and staff in three schools in Omaha, Nebraska, participated in a weekly PCR-testing program between November 9 and December 11 el año pasado. Over the study period, por poco 2,900 self-collected saliva samples from 458 staff and 315 students with no symptoms were tested.
Among those, 22 students and 24 staff members tested positive, a higher rate than those identified through symptom-based testing strategies, the researchers noted. The case rate was 7% among students and 5.3% among staff in the weekly testing program, en comparación con 1.2% among students and 2.1% among staff using conventional reporting mechanisms. Cases detected even exceeded the infection rates reported at the county level.
The researchers said that the differences in community-case rates and those among students and staff in the weekly testing program suggest that the strategy may help mitigate school-based transmission risk.