In the wake of the Bulloch County Board of Education’s decision Wednesday to temporarily suspend a change to its quarantine policy after it was notified it was in violation of state law.
Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson sent a letter to the state on Thursday seeking “immediate revision” to the law.
On Oct. 8, the Board voted unanimously to allow Bulloch students and employees who came into close contact with individuals with COVID-19 to not have to quarantine for 14 days, if they wore a mask and continued to wear one while in face-to-face school and remained symptom-free. But Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, sent a letter to the Board on Tuesday requesting it rescind that policy, which the Board did Wednesday afternoon.
In his letter directed to Toomey, Wilson wrote in the opening paragraph, “On behalf of Bulloch County Schools and its stakeholders, I respectfully request that you immediately revise the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Administrative Order for Public Health (Administrative Order) to include language that allows PK-12 students in the state ‘who are wearing a mask at the time of close contact in a school setting with a COVID-19-positive individual, and who then continue to wear a mask when not able to maintain a six-foot distance from others, and who also remain asymptomatic during the typically designated quarantine period, be allowed to remain in school for the sake of their academic, extracurricular, and social-emotional wellbeing.’”
In a release from Schools Public Relations Director Hayley Greene, Wilson said his response to Commissioner Toomey’s letter expresses a frustration felt by him and other school administrators across the state that the Administrative Order does not ensure respect for parent choice, nor is it enforced equally and appropriately across the state.
“While we are all struggling through this pandemic together and regularly adjust to conditions of uncertainty, citizens of our local community, particularly those who desire to responsibly exercise the fundamentals of liberty so dear to all of us, are suffering, and the future of our children’s learning and overall wellbeing are at risk,” Wilson writes in the letter.
Wilson also requested that “any Administrative Order, current or future, regardless of its language, be equally and appropriately enforced across the state.”
Greene said the Board of Education may discuss Toomey’s Oct. 13 letter at its scheduled work session on Oct. 22.
“While I cannot speak for what future action our board will take, I believe I understand the spirit and intent of their decision, and I also believe they are supportive of my two requests to you (Dr. Kathleen Toomey) as outlined above,” Wilson wrote.