Kent, Ottawa outline COVID-19 isolation rules for schools

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The health departments for Kent and Ottawa counties have released public health orders spelling out how schools should respond if someone tests positive for coronavirus.

The rules, which are enforceable mandates rather than mere recommendations, say those who test positive for the virus must isolate for at least 10 days.

Close contacts — both people who live in the same home and those who were in close contact at school — must also isolate under U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

Schools must also make their COVID-19 Prevention Strategy public and let everyone know about any changes.

“The public health orders, based upon the most recent facts about the virus, protect vulnerable individuals and people who are not yet vaccinated, reduce transmission of COVID-19 in schools and minimize interruptions to in-person learning,” a Friday release from the Kent County Health Department read.

The public health orders for both counties are identical. They went into effect Friday and will stay in effect until the health departments lift them.

The health departments also advised, but did not mandate, that districts follow the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ suggested “layered” prevention strategy, which urges schools to implement a number of protocols including encouraging vaccines, requiring masks and practicing social distancing, among other steps, to stem the spread of the virus.

Michigan is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases, likely linked to the highly transmissible delta variant. Still, case rates and hospitalizations remain relatively low compared to other points of the pandemic.  

Statewide, 63.9% of the population age 16 and up had received at least one vaccine dose as of Thursday. That figure was 58.5% for the population age 12 and up.

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