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Teachers, school staff deemed as essential employees

Angie Talken
Chillicothe News

On Friday, the Chillicothe R-II Board of Education held a meeting to discuss the district’s plans needed to allow teachers and other staff, who are quarantined, to return to work beginning Monday, Sept. 28.

Superintendent Dan Wiebers said a teacher or staff who has been placed on a quarantine order, may return to work, while still under the quarantine order if they are symptom-free, do not have a positive COVID-19 test result. Anyone with a positive result will have to follow the health department’s quarantine guidelines. Anyone returning to work at any district building, while under a quarantine order will also have to wear a mask or shield for the duration of the school day, maintain six feet of social distancing around students, other staff and visitors and they must be fever free. . Quarantine orders will have to be followed before or after school.

“Teachers and staff can come to work, but must go home afterward,” Wiebers said. ”They are still on a quarantine order and will not be free to do as they wish after the school day and their school-related obligations are over for the day.”

Staff with coaching and other duties, will be allowed to continue those roles, as long as they follow the guidelines. They will, also, have to treat that time as work-time, following guidelines, and contouring their quarantine once those duties have ended.

Under the guidelines from the district and county health officials, If at any time, the returning essential worker presents symptoms of COVID-19, or receive a positive COVID-19 test result, then they will be required to complete their necessary quarantine period or isolation.

Obtaining the essential worker status,

Wiebers said would allow as many as eight teachers to return to work on Sept. 28, and he hoped long-term this would help ease the stress from absent teachers and staff and a substitute teacher shortage.

As of the weekend, Wiebers noted he had been informed of another positive result for a teacher, and district officials would be working with students who were affected.

“The health and safety of our students, staff and teachers is always a concern,” he said. “Things change daily - and sometimes hourly and we are working to address needs and changes as they occur”

All board members voted to approve the guidelines for essential employees and protocols to be followed, upon their return to the building.