DES MOINES, Iowa — Around a week out from the first day of school for many central Iowa schools, parents and students alike might be wondering about COVID-19 guidelines in the classroom.
What is the CDC saying?
On Aug. 11, the CDC relaxed guidance for coronavirus, saying the changes were made because there's less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic.
Whether you're vaccinated or not -- the new guidance doesn't require people exposed to the virus to quarantine.
Instead, the CDC suggests wearing a high-quality mask for ten days after the exposure.
If you test positive for the virus, the CDC recommends you isolate for 5 days.
Then, if you're fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and your symptoms are improving, you may leave isolation with the recommendation of wearing a mask for another five days.
What about central Iowa schools?
Local 5 reached out to school districts across the Des Moines metro to see how CDC changes will impact their Return to Learn plans
Johnston school district has made several changes to their Return to Learn plan for this school year — the biggest is no longer notifying parents of positive cases.
Other changes include:
- Masks will also no longer be required on buses
- Staff will no longer be allowed to use sick leave if their kids get COVID-19
One Johnston parent says she is appreciative of the district's transparency with the changes but wishes case counts and notifications for positive cases were still easily accessible for parents.
"For working families, any kind of heads up is beneficial, you know, it's beneficial and planning," parent Tiara Mays said. "And so if there was anything that I would have liked to see a little bit different, it definitely would be to keep those notifications coming."
Over in the Urbandale school district, it's required that those who test positive for COVID-19 isolate for 5 full days, but it is only suggested that the person who was recently positive wear a mask for 5 days after ending isolation.
The Waukee School District's Return to Learn plan says the school nurse will contact parents if their child is displaying symptoms, however, they will no longer be conducting contact tracing. The district is following the new CDC guidelines for those who contract COVID-19 and are exposed to it.
Local 5 reached out to other school districts in the area but has yet to hear back.