After schools reopened on Tuesday, Little Miami Schools told parents the district is exploring an alternative quarantine option aimed at keeping kids exposed to COVID-19 in classes to cut down on disruption.
The district drafted a proposal with Warren County Schools and sent it to Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, proposing a new pilot program that would allow students found in close contact with a COVID-19 case to remain in school rather than quarantine at home. Parents were alerted through a letter from the district, and many have concerns.
"It might be OK for some schools like Mason and Kings. They have a higher percentage of vaccination," said Rebecca Huebner, a Little Miami parent. "They're requiring masks in their under-12 buildings. But here at Little Miami, we do not have a high rate of vaccination in kids that are old enough and we are also not requiring masks for the kids under 12 that haven't had the opportunity to be vaccinated."
Masks are currently optional at Little Miami Schools, which is a detail parents said is concerning if students are no longer required to quarantine at home if they're exposed.
Bryan Armentano is in favor of the new quarantine option, but only if the district requires masking.
"It has shown to work. It's an incentive in other states for this program," he said. "When you have a mandate, you have to have that mandate first. Otherwise, you're putting so much burden on that teacher."
A spokesperson for the district released a statement Tuesday that said the district has not and will not implement a new quarantine procedure until district leaders can sit down with the Ohio Department of Health and the Warren County Health District. If protocols cannot be put into place before Sept. 13, the district won't implement the program until it is appropriate and the district is ready, the statement read.
Currently, Little Miami follows quarantine guidelines recommended by the Warren County Health District, which instructs students who have come into close contact with the virus to quarantine at home.