As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact school system operations, the Roane County Board of Education adapted its mitigation strategies to more fully encompass a variety of communicable diseases, including flu, colds, and other illnesses that have a significant impact on student attendance and community health.
Notably, the Board's previous action on September 9, 2021, to require all students, staff, and visitors to wear face masks indoors expired on Thursday, October 21. In its place, a school-level threshold was adopted to require face masks whenever 5% or more of a school's student population tests positive or is in quarantine for a respiratory illness, such as COVID-19.
CDC guidance continues to recommend that all individuals wear a face mask inside school buildings, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained.
The full list of mitigation strategies put in place by the Board are modeled after the CDC's Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools and can be found below:
1) Promoting Vaccination
All eligible Roane County residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated against communicable diseases, including annual vaccination for flu and other periodic vaccinations as recommended by the CDC. Students are required to meet vaccination requirements per WV Code 16-3-4.
2) Consistent and Correct Mask Use
During periods of significant community spread or the prevalence of a respiratory or contact-spread disease in a school, students and staff may be required to wear a face mask when not eating or alone in a confined space, especially in situations where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained.
Should 5% or more of a school’s student population be considered actively infected and/or under quarantine for exposure to a respiratory disease(s) with known airborne transmission, students, staff, and visitors at that school shall be required to wear a face mask each day until the infection and / or quarantine rate among students drops below 5% for five consecutive school days.
3) Physical Distancing
Roane County Schools will maintain small class sizes as both an academic and public health benefit.
During periods of significant community spread or the prevalence of a respiratory or contact-spread disease in a school, efforts will be made to refrain from large indoor assemblies, gatherings, etc., of students.
4) Screening Testing
Testing for various communicable diseases remains available through community healthcare partners on-demand and through scheduled drive-through events. Further capacity may be pursued if needed.
Ventilation upgrades installed in August 2020 remain in place throughout Roane County Schools facilities.
6) Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
Staff will continue to encourage good handwashing and respiratory etiquette with students. Permanent hand sanitizer stations have been installed in classrooms and common spaces.
7) Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested
Students and staff who are sick should not come to school. School nurses will monitor students and staff for symptoms and dismiss those who show symptoms typical of communicable diseases.
8) Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine
Working with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, Roane County Schools will continue to perform contact tracing as needed to help stop the spread of communicable diseases. Protocols will follow guidance provided by CDC, WVDE, WV DHHR, MOVHD, and/or other public health agencies.
9) Cleaning and Disinfection
Roane County Schools will maintain rigorous cleaning and sanitization protocols to help control the spread of communicable diseases.
The Superintendent is authorized to take any and all measures recommended by a public health agency to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, included those which may supersede the strategies listed here, subject to approval by the Board at its next regular meeting.