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Petition circulating asking Fort Mill Schools to change quarantine protocols

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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FORT MILL, S.C. (WBTV) -South Carolina’s state healthy agency just updated its guidance two weeks ago saying students who have on a mask but are in close contact with a COVID positive child do not have to quarantine.

As long as the child wore their mask properly and was three to six feet away from the infected person, they did not have to quarantine. This is a pretty big change in the quarantine protocols the agency has based off the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance. However, for some it is not enough.

Quarantine protocols have been a topic of discussion since the first week of school when thousands of students were sent home for being a close contact.

”It’s just this onward thing of constant I don’t want to say fear but worry in the back of my mind,” says Melissa Maynard, whose kids all go to Fort Mill Schools.

Two of them getting quarantined means they are missing out on the special services they require potentially for up to a month. Two of her students have individualized education plans, or IEPs, to help them in school.

”This is a little out of hand to the point where what are we doing to them mentally what are we doing to them academically?” she says.

It is one of the reasons Moms for Liberty York County created this petition to make major changes to quarantine protocols in Fort Mill schools. Some of the other reasons the organization gave for why quarantines should change:

  • -Teachers and administrators are vaccinated or have had the chance to get vaccinated
  • -COVID testing is sometimes incorrect
  • -Current policies discriminate against parents and children who opt to not mask or get vaccinated

They feel parents should make the final decision and they are taking this request to the board. In a press release, the chapter wanted the Fort Mill school board to address this topic in the next meeting, happening mid-November. It also sent a legal letter to the board asking for the requests to be met.

”Currently our district is following both isolation and quarantine protocols set by DHEC,” says Joe Burke, district spokesperson.

Burke says the schools, by law, have to follow DHEC’s set guidance. The only changes would come from the agency.

”Our district wants our kids in school as much as possible,” says Burke. “Obviously, we want to continue running schools and having our kids in-person at all times.”

WBTV reached out to DHEC to find out what it would take to loosen quarantine protocols. The agency did not answer that question directly but said “Quarantine of individuals exposed to COVID-19 is a critical component of stopping the spread of the virus...” Burke says they will continue to use DHEC’s guidance, like the seven-day quarantine instead of 10 or 14.

”We wish the pandemic was over and we wouldn’t need to send anybody out on quarantine at this time unless they were ill but unfortunately that’s just not the situation at this time,” he says.

Maynard understands this and the limitations the district has but wants to get the ball rolling on the conversation.

”If Fort Mill School District is going to stay students first, then we actually need to live that,” says Maynard.

Fort Mill Schools just released their newest COVID numbers, and the district says it is the lowest they’ve had since the summer when students were not in school. The district will host a vaccine clinic on Wednesday, and they encourage anyone 12 and older to get vaccinated.

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