Eddie Campbell Jr., superintendent of Monongalia County Schools, said last week there are two things he enjoys not having to do this fall – as his district turns to calendar page to November.
He appreciates not having to cancel a football game on a Friday night, he said.
And he especially appreciates not having to quarantine a whole class that following Monday morning.
“In terms of COVID, this is our most ‘back to normal’ year since all this started,” the superintendent said.
“Not that we aren’t being observant of it.”
The district in September did release a new set of COVID protocols for 2023-24 that read like a commonsense handout in a Contagion 101 class for students, teachers, staffers, parents and other caregivers.
For starters, if you’re a Mon student or school employee and you have a persistent cough, or a fever, or you just plain don’t feel well – stay home, as those guidelines go.
Then, take a COVID test.
Step up the urgency for one if you feel your sense of taste or smell going, or if you experience any shortness of breath. An at-home version will work just fine, if you prefer not to go the clinic or hospital emergency room.
Know, too, that if you test positive, you’ll still need to isolate from others in your home.
If it’s your child, call the school. Tell them the date the test was administered.
Isolation lasts five days.
The date of testing is considered “Day Zero,” by the district.
You may even return to your class or your job on the sixth day, provided you’ve been without a fever for the prior 24 hours.
It doesn’t count if you’re taking a medication to knock that fever, the district guidelines say.
The district also recommends – but doesn’t require – that the infected person wear a mask on days six through 10 upon returning.
Susan Haslebacher, the district’s director of student health services, said she’s writing the same prescription as Campbell for her assessment of a post-pandemic school year to date.
“Normalcy” (at least so far) is her watchword, she said.
There have been “a couple of COVID cases here and there,” she reports.
That, plus the requisite runny noses that complement the standard-issue bumps, cuts and bruises on the playground at recess.
“It’s pretty much a typical school year,” she said.
“Nothing like it was. And we aren’t really into flu season yet.”
But there is that one thing, she said.
Get vaccinated for COVID.
And get that influenza shot, too, the nurse-administrator said.