HANNIBAL | Less than a week after the Hannibal Board of Education approved guidelines for reopening schools in late August, changes will be made to the plan to reflect the revised guidelines issued last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We will need to make the HSD (Hannibal School District) School Reopening Plan reflect the changes so we are aligned with the most current CDC recommendations,” said Superintendent of Public Schools Susan Johnson.
Among the CDC recommendations that were amended was for those individuals who tested positive on a COVID lab test. Previously they were to remain in quarantine until they had two negative test results. The new recommendation is for those individuals who tested positive on a COVID lab test, but never developed any symptoms, to remain in quarantine for 10 days. For those who suffered a severe illness, they will remain in quarantine for up to 20 days. It was previously recommended by the CDC that before a person who had been ill as a result of the coronavirus could be allowed back in school they had to be fever free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. The new recommendation is that before a person can be allowed to be at school they have to be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of feverreducing medications.
To address the expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19 the wording was changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms.”
The new guidelines also appear to drop a specific recommendation that students should keep 6 feet apart, a social distancing guideline included in previous CDC releases. In its most recent recommendations the CDC suggests that school districts consider closing only if there is “substantial, uncontrolled transmission” of the virus.
Even President Donald Trump revised his previous call for all schools to be fully open this fall. Instead he said last week that school districts should be flexible when it comes to opening in areas that are recognized as coronavirus “hot spots.”
Although the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in Marion County, thus far the Hannibal School District is still planning to have schools open when the 2020-21 school year begins next month.
“I speak daily with our local health department and other local health officials and keep our board of education alerted to any new information,” Johnson said.