Philly issues new quarantine guidance for city schools
Philadelphia health officials put in place new COVID-19 guidance for city schools on Wednesday, calling the CDC's recent move to shorten quarantine time "unduly risky" for students and staff.
Driving the news: Philadelphia district schools will no longer use positive case numbers to determine whether to pause in-person learning, the city's Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole announced.
What's happening: Schools now have two options based on their ability to implement virus mitigation strategies, such as strict mask-wearing and providing a separate eating area for those returning from quarantine.
How it works: With approval from city health officials, schools that can implement the list of required mitigation methods can allow students to return to in-person learning after five days of quarantining.
- Schools that cannot must maintain a 10-day quarantine period for students.
Of note: The city will only allow staff the option to "test to return" after five days of quarantining, provided they test negative for the virus on days five and six.
- Staff who cannot provide two negative tests must quarantine for 10 days.
Between the lines: The new guidance follows the CDC updating its own recommendations this month to allow students and staff to return to in-person learning after a five-day quarantine.
What they're saying: "Our latest guidance attempts to deal with the facts on the ground while we commit to advocating for a more equitable future," Bettigole said.
- She blamed an "unfair and unjust" state funding formula that shortchanged city schools, preventing them from implementing virus mitigation strategies.
The other side: Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, released a statement slamming the new policies as "misaligned with the reality of the in-school experiences."
- Schools are plagued by staff shortages and inadequate personal protective equipment and COVID testing supplies, Jordan said.
- He called on school district officials and Mayor Jim Kenney to put in place a "jointly developed safety plan."
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