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OHA revises school COVID-19 contact tracing recommendations, trims reporting requirements

Oregon Health Authority

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Health Authority said Friday it will release new COVID-19 contact tracing and notification recommendations for K-12 settings to lessen the overall burden of contact tracing on K-12 schools, while ensuring school staff and health officials continue tracing and reporting high-risk exposures.

Under the updated guidelines, to be released in the coming days, Oregon will no longer consider masked contact in K-12 settings, including school buses, to be an exposure, regardless of distancing. The updated guidance will strongly advise students and staff to maintain physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.

The new recommendations are based on accumulated evidence that layered mitigation efforts in K-12 schools have worked well to minimize transmission and that the vast majority of transmission has occurred following indoor unmasked contact.

The new guidance is expected to take effect Friday.

Officials say it’s a “common-sense” change to contact tracing and notification that will allow schools to focus resources on identifying high-risk, indoor, unmasked exposures most likely to result in transmission. In addition, schools will no longer be required to report negative antigen test results to OHA. Reporting of positive antigen test results will still be required.

Schools that employed universal masking in K-12 settings will continue to perform contact tracing for exposures that occur during unmasked lunchroom encounters, as well as unmasked extracurricular encounters.

The Oregon Department of Education strongly recommends all schools immediately develop stable lunch cohorts – table groups, lunch bunches and other group situations – where this is not already the practice.

If a case occurs within a lunch cohort, the entire lunch cohort group should be considered exposed. Similarly, when a case occurs in an indoor unmasked extracurricular cohort, the entire cohort may be considered exposed. Stable cohorts significantly reduce the burden of contact tracing, OHA said.

During this period of very high COVID-19 transmission in Oregon, school staff will continue to identify and report new cases among students and staff, which will result in more exposures. Exposed, fully vaccinated children and adults who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination series are not subject to quarantine and may continue to attend school.

Individuals exposed to COVID-19 at school remain eligible for "test-to-stay" and can continue to attend school during their modified quarantine period, OHA said.

In addition, support for members of school communities who test positive for COVID-19 can be accessed through the COVID-19 Case Support Hotline, 866-917-8881, or Positive COVID Test website. OHA is also identifying resources to add a school-specific support team to the hotline.

KTVZ news sources

Comments

6 Comments

  1. So it took these ding-dongs two years to finally find their common sense- that asking about mask use is a vital component of the contact tracing process ??? The hoax continues to unravel ! I’ve been posting about this for a year- that the 6 foot- 15 minute rule alone- is bogus ! It was simply another heavy handed tactic to force the weaker among us to comply- and they sure as hell did- to the detriment of their children ! Now the states scrambling to shut down the numbers- so gee- now if you have a mask on- there’s no exposure ! Complete Con !

  2. RIGHT ON! bghw-the scam is unraveling!:-) We can expect more changes for the better everyday. Those that think I’m wrong-do you remember this? “Two weeks to stop the spread” Yeah right. Just like the method to cook a frog-the human race fell for it and bit by bit they turned up the heat until we have lost our almost all our liberty. Those that would trade their liberty for security, deserve neither-Benjamin Franklin. Oh so true!

  3. The virus may be real, but the response has been a combination of hysteria and the exploitation of fear for political gain and control. Now we start the slow walk back. The next step: science will say we don’t need to keep testing people for something when they have no symptoms.

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