Statement Regarding State Guidance and Local Protocols Related to COVID-19 and Schools

Friday, August 27, 2021

Local health departments work with schools to exclude students who are a case or close contacts of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. In Franklin County and other counties, schools are acting in a lead role working closely with their local health department to carry out contact tracing. Schools do not have the authority to quarantine, but they do have the authority to exclude a child from school based on the request of the local health district. Only local health departments have the authority to issue isolation and quarantine orders, with a medical diagnosis, pursuant to ORC, OAC and most recently S.B. 22. So, if a student who is a medically diagnosed case, or a student who is a close contact of a medically diagnosed case refuses to stay home, the board of health has the authority to issue an isolation or quarantine order respectively.

Schools, not local health departments, have the authority to set policies as they relate to masking, social distancing, etc. in accordance with state guidance and local health department recommendations.  Those policy decisions will impact the number of students who potentially will be subject to an exclusion notice, isolation or quarantine order. FCPH recommends all schools adopt universal masking policies to slow the spread of the virus and keep more students in the classroom.

Our goal is students, and in fact all residents, will voluntarily self-isolate or self-quarantine when requested once they are notified by the school or local health department. We have been exceedingly grateful for the overwhelming cooperation of families and students when asked to stay home. Local health departments will continue to work with school administrators and nursing staff to ensure timely reporting, notification (exclusion) and only when absolutely necessary, issue quarantine and isolation orders, across the county to protect our communities.

Joe Mazzola, MPA

Franklin County Health Commissioner

K-12 Personnel Resources:
In-Person Case Guidance, Forms & Screening Tools

For technical assistance, questions and concerns on cases investigation, exposure notification and contact tracing, please send an email to schools@franklincountyohio.gov. Emails will be monitored Monday thru Friday, 8am to 5pm with holidays being an exception.

* This guidance’s intended audience is Kindergarten-12th grade public and private schools. It is not meant for preschools, before/after care programs or daycares, even if licensed by the Ohio Department of Education. These programs should follow the FCPH Detailed Quarantine Guidance document. Additional resources can be found on our Restart Ohio and Guidance page.

School Nurse Calls

August 10, 2021