Thomas, Scott counties implement ‘modified quarantine approach’ for schools’ response to COVID-19 cases

COLBY, Kan. (KWCH) – A week after parents harshly vented frustration at Thomas County leaders and the county’s health department for student-athletes being required to quarantine after being named as close contacts for COVID-19, Thomas County finalized changes to quarantine rules.

text: Thomas County adjusts quarantine requirements as the Colby school district deals with COVID-19 cases.

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Thomas County adjusts quarantine requirements as the Colby school district deals with COVID-19 cases.

“We had a lot of students going out that were healthy and felt healthy, and it was just because they had played on a team with somebody else,” said Colby Public Schools Superintendent Katina Brenn.

Brenn said in the past few weeks, the school district, the Thomas County Health Department and the county reviewed modified quarantine requirements for teachers and students identified as close contacts. Students and teachers who test positive for COVID-19, have symptoms, are waiting on test results, or live with a positive COVID-19 cast still need to quarantine.

Under Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidance for quarantine, those who have been named as a close contact need to quarantine at home for 14 days. This means no in-person school, work or activities. In modified quarantine, those students and teachers named as close contacts can still go to school in-person, but need to follow rules. Namely, the rules include wearing a mask, social distancing and checking for COVID19 symptoms.

About one hour’s drive south of Colby, Scott County Schools has been using the “modified-quarantine” approach since the start of the school year.

“It’s worked very, very well so far,” Scott County USD 466 Superintendent Jamie Rumford said.

The case count for Scott County has remained less than 10 students and teachers, but potential changes could bring a new approach, if necessary.

“I still do feel like we’re susceptible to some kind of outbreak,” Rumford said. “If that happens, I don’t think the modified necessarily works as it is.”

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