East Palestine discusses COVID protocol changes

EAST PALESTINE — Schools Superintendent Chris Neifer this week discussed recent changes to protocols involving the Covid pandemic.

During the board meeting, Neifer reported school district buildings continue to work under a face-to-face learning model. Mitigation strategies have kept Covid-related impacts minimal with one staff member in isolation, four students positive for Covid and 15 students under quarantine.

New guidelines released at the end of December advise students who test positive for Covid to stay home for five days. Those whose symptoms have improved after day six can resume normal activities with a mask for five days. Vaccinated students and staff exposed to Covid must wear a mask for 10 days around others and test on the fifth day. Unvaccinated individuals are asked to stay home for five days and take a test after being exposed. Those who test positive are required to stay home an additional five days, and those who test negative can resume regular activities while wearing a mask around others.

Mask-to-stay and test-to-play masking after exposure protocols have been reduced from 14 days to 10. Testing on day five after exposure is no longer mandatory, only recommended.

“We all know how many times in the past two years we have dealt with these changes, but we take them and we roll with them and the community and our staff has done a phenomenal job,” Neifer remarked. “The big thing is we are keeping kids in school.”

Neifer told board members mitigation strategies used by the district enable students to continue sporting events and regularly attend events and classes.

“We are not shut down for days. We are not going remote. Our kids are in seats and we are teaching them,” Neifer said.

In other business, Neifer introduced plans to the board regarding the installation of digital touch-screens in the sports Hall of Fame. The touch-screens will measure 85 inches and give visitors the ability to access photos, player information and scores while preserving history.

Lastly, Neifer gifted school board members with a certificate of appreciation for School Board Appreciation Month.

“A little token of appreciation for the time that you guys put in,” he said.



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