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Nebraska schools get conflicting advice on virus quarantines

OMAHA, Neb. (Jul. 18, 2021 – AP) — Nebraska schools are getting conflicting advice from state and federal health officials over whether students should quarantine after contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is telling schools that students who had contact with an infected person would not have to quarantine as long as they don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms develop, then the state says a student should isolate themselves.

But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that students who aren’t vaccinated and have close contact with an infected person should still quarantine themselves. The CDC says vaccinated people who are showing no symptoms are not required to quarantine after a contact.

Each school district will be left to decide which advice to follow after consulting with local health officials.

A Lincoln school board member and community health advocate said the state guidance is too lax.

​“Doing so for unvaccinated students would be reckless and ignores current medical and public health evidence,” said Dr. Bob Rauner, president of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln and a member of the Lincoln Public Schools board.

Under the Lincoln district’s initial plan for classes in the fall, unvaccinated students who have contact with someone who has COVID-19 would have to quarantine even if they don’t have symptoms, but a vaccinated student would not be required to do so in the same circumstances if they have no symptoms.

The Nebraska State Education Association said it is urging school districts to follow the CDC guidelines.

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