PERRYSBURG — Quarantines should become less common for students as state rules on social distancing have been relaxed for school districts.

Perrysburg Schools will be adopting rules proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine, that reduce some of the social distancing guidelines.

“That’s the change. It used to be 6 feet and now it’s going to be 3 feet. So that area has been reduced significantly,” Superintendent Tom Hosler said at Tuesday’s board of education meeting.

The process of determining proper social distancing is done in each individual case.

“Right now, on a bus or in a classroom, when a student is Covid-positive and they have been in school and around other children, our contact tracing team, which works on behalf of the Wood County Health Department, will actually physically go to the classroom with a measuring tape,” Hosler said.

As before, the rules are different depending on the grade of the students.

In grades kindergarten to grade six those who were within 3 feet in the classroom or bus, for at least 15 minutes, will be required to quarantine as in the past.

There is no change for pre-school and grades 7 to 12.

Distancing gets a more complex with buses, because unlike a classroom, the bus seats cannot be repositioned. In Perrysburg, the timing factor is a little easier, as there is video on the buses, Hosler said.

Hull Prairie Intermediate students will no longer have to quarantine for possible exposures on the bus. They sit only one student per seat and the seats are staggered with an empty seat, making the students sit 4 feet apart.

The elementary school students sit two per seat on the buses.

“If they are sitting next to someone (who tested positive) on the bus, then they would have to be quarantined,” Hosler said.

The administration received word from the Wood County Health Department about how Perrysburg Schools may operationalize this new guidance on Monday and the board accepted the change Tuesday night. The new policy was in effect on Wednesday.

The new guidance is based on an evaluation of virus spread in Ohio schools conducted by researchers with the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team. The school board had shared DeWine’s announcement about the opportunity to make the changes in schools on Jan. 7.

Ohio school districts may choose to follow the new guidelines as spelled out by the American Academy of Pediatrics or stay with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 6-foot guidelines that were followed in Ohio previously. The Ohio Department of Health guidance intends to rely on the AAP guidance that differentiates the distancing requirements for elementary schools from middle/high schools.

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