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Education leaders hopeful as DeWine announces change in guidelines for schools

The President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers says she feels more comfortable about the changes after speaking with the governor's office.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Education leaders in Ohio are feeling more at ease after a discussion with the governor’s office about new quarantine guidelines announced in Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.

The President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Melissa Cropper, said she was notified changes could be announced in relation to schooling but felt the guidelines might put students and staff in an unsafe environment.

“I feel a little bit more comfortable. This is a loosening only of quarantine restrictions and I think that can’t be emphasized enough,” Cropper said.

The guidelines DeWine announced are looser than the ones from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new guidelines state students and teachers who are exposed to a COVID-19 positive person in school no longer have to quarantine.

Schools should continue to quarantine exposed students if masking and distancing protocols were not followed.

The change does not apply to after-school activities, including sports.

“What his medical experts are saying -- is that when schools put the other safety protocols in place, that we actually are creating very safe environments for our students which means we don’t have to be as concerned with quarantining," Cropper said.

The changes come from findings by the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team.

Cropper said precautions such as wearing masks, cleaning thoroughly and using partitions as available must be followed strictly.

Governor Mike DeWine also announced adults who work in schools will be among the next group to receive a vaccine against COVID-19.

Dates for the rollout were not given at Wednesday’s press conference.