Covid-19 policies updated; Clubs, sports impacted

Mekenzie McCann, Reporter

  As of January 4, 2022 new Covid-19 protocols were put into place in the Harford County Public School system. The new protocols cover new quarantining policies, new protocols that affect sports and clubs as well. 

     According to nurse Ms. Joanne Dorsey, “A lot of people still have some misunderstanding about the difference between isolation and quarantine. Isolation is what you do if you are sick or test positive for Covid- you isolate (stay away) from other people because you are sick and contagious.”

     The old Covid policies stated that “isolation and quarantine used to be 10 days,” states Dorsey, however, the new protocols that relate to the quarenting include “If you are exposed to someone who has Covid, you now quarantine for 5 days instead of 10,” Dorsey says. 

     “You can return to school after 5 days, as long as you do not have any symptoms. The CDC recommends that you get tested after day 5 of exposure, as a precaution, but it is not a requirement for school,” Dorsey comments.  

     Dorsey says, “If you test positive, we now accept home tests, which we didn’t do in the past. You should take a picture of the test, with your name and date on it and email it to the nurse as confirmation.”

      However at home tests can be hard to find so if you are sick “… you will isolate at home for 5 days and can return when you are symptom free,” Dorsey says. “School nurses will only do rapid test[s] for students who become ill while at school,” comments Dorsey. 

      The nurse added that students are also getting sent home for being contact-traced. The students that are getting contact traced “can not “test out” of quarantine. Once you are exposed to Covid, it can take several days to actually become infected.  She added that a student “could get a negative test on one day, but become sick the next day- so you must complete the full 5 day quarantine. That protocol has not changed. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine,” Dorsey states. 

     The new Covid protocols do not affect just issues with students being quarantined and isolated; they also affect after school activities and sports as well. 

     According to the HCPS website, there are no “ in-person activities that are not included in the testing/vaccination program.” 

     According to principal Mr. Bryan Pawlicki, “Clubs that have an element of competition can use the testing protocols to be able to meet and practice after school.  Example. It’s Academic or Mock Trial.  No other clubs should be meeting.”

   Additionally, all  after school activities and drama productions continue with the testing/vaccine program in place according to the HCPS website.  

     The HCPS website also states that there should be “no spectators at athletic competitions, or audience at performances.” Mr. Tim Larrimore, athletic director states that there is “Covid testing of all athletes every Tuesday unless vaccinated” and that “masking and social distancing while physically possible” are also encouraged.

     Even with all the new policies the same policy of wearing masks indoors and on school buses still remains the same.