Ohio Department of Health changes COVID reporting, contact tracing for K-12 schools

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Ohio Department of Health will no longer ask schools to report COVID cases daily or recommend contract tracing
Ohio Department of Health will no longer ask schools to report COVID cases daily or recommend contract tracing

Ohio K-12 schools can drop universal contract tracing and daily COVID case reports to the state, according to a memo released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Health.

"The quick spread of the Omicron variant and its rapid clinical course have made universal contact tracing, case investigation and exposure notification impractical when combined with newly reduced timelines for quarantine and isolation," ODH said in a press release.

Related: Ohio reports 20,752 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday after clearing backlog

Going forward, schools only need to report COVID positive cases weekly.

Schools do not have to continue contact tracing and exposure notifications but are expected to assist local health departments if there is an outbreak or cluster of cases of a new variant.

ODH recommends schools follow the "Mask to Play, Test to Stay" protocol, which says COVID exposed students who are asymptomatic can still attend school, regardless of vaccination status, if they wear a mask, self or parent-monitor and if they start to have symptoms isolate and test for COVID.

"The best place for kids is in school, in-person, full-time," the state health department memo said.

More Info: Here's how to get free COVID tests, N95 masks

ODH said they will continue to adjust COVID recommendations in schools.

Mary Jane Sanese is an E.W. Scripps fellow for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: No more COVID contact tracing, less reporting for Ohio K-12 schools

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