Parents urge department of health to change quarantine guidance for students

Exposed students must quarantine for ten days
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Posted at 11:09 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 23:09:35-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — “Back in school, in person, for in person instruction for the first time in three years,” Founder of the #THE180DAYPROJECT, Tarja Parssinen said.

The Western New York Education Alliance launched “#THE180DAYPROJECT" to reduce quarantine days for students.

“We don’t want quarantines to be the new school closures. Parents are getting a little nervous about this,” Parssinen said.

The Erie County Department of Health said a student might have to quarantine if (GUIDANCE SUMMARY) within three feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour time period, if that person is infectious.

“Who needs to be in quarantine differs by vaccination status, and of course proximity and other situations,” Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said.

But this year is different, when students are sent home, they can no longer opt in to online learning. Some parents now want the county to change its guidance and let students get tested before being sent home for ten days.

“They’re sent home with a packet of work and ten days there, ten days here, it could add up into many weeks of school,” Parssinen said.

“They need to socialize, they need to be there academically, socially emotionally, everything,” parent Kimberly Castiglione said.

The Department of Health said the guidance is not set in stone, which leaves some parents frustrated.

“It is subject to change based on what we see in the local community,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.

“There are working parents that need to know, they need their schedule, they need to know if they need a babysitter, find help,” Castiglione said.

As of now, masks are required for all students and staff and the maximum amount of distancing possible is recommended.

“Our goal is to return all students to an in-person experience for every day of the school year,” Poloncarz said.

“We all agree the kids need to be back in school. Let’s start there and get them back for 180 days,” Parssinen said.

The district is still working with schools to finalize COVID-19 testing programs. You can visit this website for full guidance and updated information.