Boyle school district implements ‘Test to Stay’ strategy

Published 3:11 pm Thursday, October 28, 2021

Beginning on Monday, Boyle County Schools put a “Test to Stay” modified quarantine into effect.

According to a post on the BCS website, certain Kentucky Department for Public Health guidance needs to be in place to implement this strategy: “collaboration with the local health department; implementation of universal masking; implementation of a testing program; and assurance that testing is conducted with voluntary informed consent.”

Additionally, the student eligibility requirements are that the student must “be a K-12 student (pre-K can qualify if located on school property); be entirely asymptomatic throughout the entire quarantine period; wear a mask indoors for the entirety of the program; exposure occurred in the classroom only; and quarantine when not at school,” and “Student must test daily during their 7-day quarantine,” and “A centralized location for testing access is located at the old Woodlawn Elementary School, but families can also utilize alternative testing sites, as long as daily test results are remitted to the appropriate school nurse.”

At a board of education meeting on Oct. 21, District Health Coordinator Nichole Brown outlined specifics of the method. She said on Monday that the only change that happened to the plan after the meeting was that the district went with daily rapid testing, nor PCR testing, to make the program available starting Monday, since some students needed it.

“Symptom screening will be conducted daily for students in this modified quarantine, utilizing our school nurses,” she said during the meeting.

Students also can’t ride the bus or participate in extracurricular activities during the quarantine.

Brown specified the program is only available to students and only applies to classroom exposure.

She said, “For a person who is within 6 feet of an infectious person for a cumulative 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, it would constitute the definition of a close contact.”

However, quarantine guidelines while masking allows for some wiggle room, she said: for student-to-student exposure in a classroom setting, that distance would be 3 feet — if masks were not in place, it would be 6 feet for student-to-student contact. The guidelines for student-to-staff contact is 6 feet, and for staff-to-staff, 6 feet.

“Fully vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic are not required to quarantine,” Brown said. “And also, unvaccinated individuals who have documented COVID-19 illness in the three months prior to their exposure — they’re also not required to quarantine.”

Parent Savannah Lester asked during the meeting what would happen if a parent did not give consent to the modified quarantine, and Brown said they already have options for exposure at school — a seven to 10 day quarantine.

Superintendent Mike LaFavers said, “Our goal, of course, is to stay in person with as many kids as possible the entire year.”