Governor Kemp allows schools to facilitate contact tracing and quarantine requirements | News

ATLANTA (CBS46) — Even as COVID cases soar due to the more contagious omicron variant, Gov. Brian Kemp has given Georgia school districts the green light to relax COVID-19 protocols.

On Thursday on Twitter, Kemp posted a letter he and state health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey sent to school principals. The tweet also contained a message that read: “Our primary goal is to keep our children in the classroom with minimal disruption to their education.”

In the letter, Kemp and Toomey said the changes they recommend “more accurately reflect the science behind the new variant.”

The letter also stated, “Additionally, the DPH (Department of Public Health) has issued an updated Administrative Order for Isolation and Quarantine which adds educators and education personnel to individuals who may be permitted to return to the work after exposure to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status or point of exposure, if their employer deems it necessary to ensure adequate staffing and as long as they remain asymptomatic, wear a mask at work and comply with other quarantine.

It didn’t take long for the Cobb County School District to update its COVID-19 protocols.

In an email to parents, school officials said they would no longer be doing contact tracing.

“We know contact tracing has not been as effective and efficient as we would like for you and your family,” the email reads. “We continue to encourage all Cobb families to make the health decisions that are best for you and not send sick students to school.”

Asymptomatic Cobb County students and staff can return to school immediately, although they must wear masks for seven days after exposure, according to new protocols.

Anyone who tests positive should always self-isolate.

“It sounds like a joke,” said Cobb County mother of three Melanie Ponchot.

She said she thinks the school district should at least implement a “Test to Stay” program as Atlanta Public Schools will begin later this month, allowing exposed students and staff to return to school. school if they test negative and have no symptoms.

“If there were testing in place, it would make me feel like schools really care,” she said, “and I know there are issues with testing, but at least I feel like you’re trying.”

Meanwhile, Clayton County Public Schools has yet to announce its COVID-19 response plan. The superintendent is expected to update parents during a YouTube session on Friday afternoon.

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