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Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services considering change to school quarantine guidance

KSDK has confirmed that Missouri State Health Director Donald Kauerauf is reviewing the current school quarantine guidance and considering a change

ST. LOUIS — Big changes could be coming soon in Missouri on how schools quarantine students who come into contact with COVID-19.

Some of the procedures have become headaches for many students and their parents, even thought many health officials say they're necessary to stop the spread of the virus.

KSDK has confirmed that Missouri State Health Director Donald Kauerauf is reviewing the current quarantine guidance and considering a change.

For SLUCare pediatric emergency medicine physician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital Dr. Rachel Charney, quarantine is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against COVID-19.

“The goal of a quarantine is to keep a case who may have inadvertently already spread COVID to others, to keep them from further spreading COVID as well,” Charney said.

However, quarantines of school aged kids have increasingly come under fire from parents.

“It doesn’t do any good,” said David Lender.  “By the time they figure out who and what they’ve been around they’ve already been exposed to other people.”

In St. Charles County alone 29,372 students were quarantined in 2020-2021. 376 of those students later tested positive for COVID.

“We need to get kids back to school,” Sen. Bob Onder (R) said.  “Sure, sick kids should stay home and quarantine for 10-14 days absolutely.  Making kids miss school because they were within a few yards of case of COVID-19, that’s irrational, and it’s never made sense.”

“If you’ve been told to quarantine you need to quarantine,” Charney said.

As Kauerauf considers revising the quarantine guidance, Dr. Charney says she’s in support of following the science.

“There’s certainly evidence for the shortened quarantined,” Charney said. “We, as far as I can see, haven’t seen a lot of cases coming out.  Most cases are going to be showing cases or have a positive test within that time frame.”

In the meantime, Dr. Charney has this advice for parents.

“Continue to be patient especially with these school nurse and administrators,” Charney said.  “They’re handling a lot of things they don’t normally handle.”

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