DHEC updates K-12 COVID-19 guidance, expands TTS to include childcare centers
COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced it has updated its COVID-19 guidance for childcare centers to include a Test to Stay (TTS) recommendation, similar to the one already being implemented by South Carolina school districts.
DHEC says it has also modified its COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 schools to include updated standards for masking and TTS requirements for sports and other extracurricular activities.
They say the changes to both documents are in response to the welcomed decline of COVID-19 cases and reflect DHEC’s efforts to safely keep kids in schools and active in their varying interests outside of the classroom.
“We are consistent in our stance that recommendations should reflect the latest COVID-19 trends and data,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director in a press release. “We are glad to see cases declining in recent weeks, and we are updating our guidance to reflect that trend while maintaining our focus on keeping children in person at school safely. That said, we must continue increasing our vaccinations, masking when appropriate, and following other protocols if we want to see this trend continue and ultimately end this pandemic.”
According to DHEC, the updated childcare guidance states the following:
- Kids who are close contacts can avoid quarantine if they do not have any symptoms and get tested twice.
- Children can get tested once on day three and again between days five and seven.
- Tests can be a rapid antigen test or a PCR test with results coming in 24 hours or less.
- Children are also strongly encouraged to wear a mask for 10 days if they are age two or older.
They also mentioned staff must also follow the same TTS protocol for schools. Those protocols are mentioned below:
- No symptoms
- Testing at least once a day between five and seven days.
- A second test if available
- Wearing a mask for 10 days.
Changes to K-12 guidance is below:
- Students may remove their mask as needed to participate in an extracurricular activity or sport once they have tested negative on day five or later.
- Students must continue to wear a mask through the 10-day period.
- DHEC no longer strongly recommends universal mask requirements in schools, but they do strongly encourage individuals to mask.
- They also mention two scenarios when masking is most needed; when the school’s surrounding community has substantial or high transmission; and when there is an outbreak in a class.
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