ICCSD Changes Quarantine Protocol


Rebecca Michaeli

ICCSD and community members discuss altering the current quarantine procedures.

Rebecca Michaeli

On April 13, the Iowa City Community School Board voted to approve a resolution to change the ICCSD’s quarantine protocol to follow the Iowa Department of Health Guidelines. Six out of the seven board members voted to enforce the state’s recommended guidelines, Charlie Eastham was the only to oppose the change.

The quarantine guidelines will begin on Wednesday, April 14.

Leading up to the vote, City High faced a growing number of student quarantines. According to the Iowa City School District’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently 983 students in the district quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure. The district does not know how many quarantine cases will be reduced by the new guidance, but they hope the number will decrease.

Prior to the vote, Sam Jarvis and Jennifer Miller from the Johnson County Public Health Department (JCPH) spoke to the county’s stricter quarantine recommendations, which state that unless a student has received a positive PCR or antigen test result within 90 days of exposure or are considered “fully vaccinated” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they should quarantine for a full 14 days after a COVID-19 exposure.

Although the ICCSD had chosen to follow JCPH’s recommended guidelines for quarantine, the Iowa Department of Health’s recommendations will now be implemented. The fundamental difference in the change of procedure allows students to cease self-quarantine before 14 days on three conditions: if all individuals involved wore face masks at the time of exposure, if the student presents a negative COVID-19 test 7 days after exposure, or if the student self-quarantines for 10 days.

Several board members including Lisa Williams and Ruthina Malone, argued in favor of adapting the Iowa Department of Health’s guidelines, accounting for the disproportionate number of English Language Learner and low socioeconomic status students who currently have a failing grade, and the real-world implications of quarantine on families.

The district will adopt the state’s protocol, and will reconvene to discuss the result of the change and analyze current data in two to three weeks.