MONROE – Union County Public Schools will no longer conduct contact tracing or quarantine students who aren't infected with COVID-19 following an 8-1 vote Sept. 13 by the school board.
That means any students currently on quarantine and showing no symptoms may return to school. Students who are sick or have symptoms should not go to school.
The school board has had a problem with students being quarantined for 14 days and missing classroom time even though they showed no symptoms of infection. Their efforts to reduce time missed from quarantine have been met with resistance from Union County leaders.
“The more we uncover from the Union County Health Department, the more we understand that the Union County health director has not been forthright with us,” school board member Kathy Heintel said.
School board member Gary Sides said it has become clear that UCPS staff hasn't had legal authority to issues quarantines.
Sides said the district will continue to follow activities required by law, such as handling positive and presumptive positive cases as well as reporting positive COVID cases and other required information to the county health department.
The school board had been told that district staff felt overworked managing contact tracing. School board member Jimmy Bention thanked nurses, staff and teachers that have been pulling a “herculean effort” and hoped the measure provided some relief.
Superintendent Andrew Houlihan said he would be meeting with staff on a plan to communicate the change to staff and families.
John Kirkpatrick was the only school board member who did not support the measure.