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Loveland City Schools Updating Masking/Contact Tracing Guidelines

Loveland Tiger Families,

Effective Monday, January 31, 2022, Loveland City Schools will be moving to a mask-optional policy for all students in grades PreK-12. The only exception to this rule will be those students enrolled in our HeadStart PreK program, as their masking policy is set by federal guidelines. 

Effective Monday, January 31, 2022, Loveland City Schools will also be updating our COVID protocols to align with new guidance from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff from ODH has said that schools are no longer required to do contact tracing, according to a memo you can read in full by following this link.

Throughout the pandemic, school districts in Ohio have been required to help local health departments carry out the task of contact tracing, by notifying close contacts, and informing people that they are expected to quarantine. Schools have been one of the only institutions in the state required to do this, so I am pleased that we no longer have to assist in this work. Going forward, the only time our staff will do contact tracing is when it is requested by Hamilton County Public Health or ODH because of an outbreak or cluster of COVID cases in one of our buildings. 

Contact tracing has been important, but time-consuming work for our health team, building administrators, and teachers. With this work now complete, they can focus more of their day on their primary jobs, instead of phone calls and emails home to families. 

Masks will still be required on all of our buses, per federal guidelines. Masking will continue to be recommended in our buildings. Families will still need to keep students home when they are sick and notify the school if they test positive for COVID-19. We will still be keeping track of seating assignments, maximizing physical distance, encouraging hand washing, and making sure our buildings are clean. 

As the Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said today while discussing this rule change, the responsibility for things like vaccinations and masking has now shifted from schools to families. It means our families have choices about how to protect themselves and their students. Vaccinations are available for anyone 5 and over, and every trusted medical expert I have talked to has made it clear that vaccinations save lives because they reduce the severity of COVID. Masks are also effective tools for stopping the spread of disease, and it is possible we may require them for brief periods in the future in response to illness. 

We are not fully “back to normal” and we may never truly go back to a point where life perfectly resembles what it did before March 2020, but we are taking an important step forward by allowing our students and staff to focus on school, rather than masks and contact tracing.

I’ve heard from so many of you over the last few months, respectfully sharing your thoughts on the issue of masks. I know that some families will see this as a welcome change, and others will hear this news with concern. I’m hopeful that within a few days of being fully mask-optional, those concerns will melt away as we see more smiling faces in our buildings. 

Mike Broadwater,
Loveland City Schools