Middletown School District making change to what it calls ‘excessive quarantining in schools’
The Middletown School District has adjusted its policy concerning what it called "excessive quarantining" in schools.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to make close contact quarantines voluntary and no longer mandatory.
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Middletown has further explained their new policy. In school, close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual shall be notified of their status as a close contact. Such individuals shall not be excluded from schoolwork but may voluntarily be excused from self-quarantine.
State health guidelines recommend unvaccinated students and staffers stay home for two weeks after being exposed to COVID-19. Frank Capone, vice president of the Middletown Board of Education, said in a statement that self-quarantines will be voluntary in close contact situations moving forward.
In a unanimous vote Monday evening, school board members in Middletown made what some consider drastic changes to policy concerning quarantine.
In school, close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual shall be notified of their status as a close contact, but such individuals shall not be excluded from school work. They may voluntarily be excused from self-quarantine.
Capone called the change a rational data-driven policy, adding the district quarantined over 2,400 healthy students last year due to close contact exposures.
Designated close contacts shall monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily and shall not appear for school should symptoms be present. The district shall make testing available for any close contact upon request. The protocol is limited to in-school close contacts and does not affect contacts outside of school.
The Monmouth County Regional Health Commission tweeted that it is not in support of this policy change, adding schools have been safer from COVID-19 due to following all of the mitigation steps and not relaxing them.
The school board vice president also said in his statement, “We cannot continue to protect against a 'possible' spread of a virus that continues to spread despite every mitigation effort while at the same time, anyone currently has the freedom and choice to do anything they want outside of the classroom, which includes their option to get the vaccinated.”
News 12 reached out to school officials for an on-camera comment.