Marietta City Schools is shortening the quarantine times for students and employees who may be exposed to the coronavirus.

Instead of the current 14-day quarantine period, the district will offer students and staff a seven-day or a 10-day option if they are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for the virus, Superintendent Grant Rivera told parents in an email. He said the changes were made based on new recommendations from the Georgia Department of Education and the state Department of Public Health.

Students and staff can quarantine for seven days from the date of last exposure if they take a diagnostic test at least five days into quarantine and test negative, and do not have any symptoms during the seven days.

Close contacts can quarantine for 10 days from the date of last exposure if they do not get tested and do not experience any symptoms during the monitoring period.

Anyone who develops symptoms within 14 days of exposure is expected to isolate immediately, regardless of which option is chosen.

Families of students currently in a 14-day quarantine will be contacted by the district with the new protocols and potential return to school dates.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for 10 days, which has not changed.

Rivera also responded to parents who asked about the district’s new partnership with the CDC, which includes expanded testing and contact tracing.

“There have been a few questions about our motivation for participating in the CDC’s work. Our reason is simple: this is critically important work. A thorough contact tracing process ensures that our students and staff are as safe as possible, and it also allows us to only implement a quarantine protocol for those who truly need it (rather than an overall quarantine of the entire bus, classroom, or school),” he said “We also hope that the information learned from the assessment will continue to strengthen and broaden in-person learning for MCS and other districts.”

Rivera stressed the district is not receiving any money for participating and “there is no hidden agenda.”

“We are proud to be contributing to much-needed research, but more importantly for MCS, we are committed to doing whatever we can to ensure that our schools stay open and safe for our students and staff,” he said. “Whether this means adding ionization technology to our HVAC units, implementing expanded contact tracing, or participating in a CDC assessment, if it supports and benefits our school community, we will always make every reasonable effort to get to “yes”.”

The school district will hold a virtual town hall with more information on the CDC partnership at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. To join, visit https://tinyurl.com/yxs5hf7g.

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