Parents urge Arlington Co. schools to adopt latest CDC isolation guidelines, resume sports

Parents in Arlington, Virginia, are urging the school system to adopt the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for isolation, and to resume athletics and extracurricular activities.

In a statement, the group Arlington Parents for Education said the school system should use “the most up-to-date CDC guidance reducing quarantine and isolation time to five days.”

In new guidance for K-12 schools released last week, the CDC said students and staff members who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for at least five days. Isolation can end after five days if the positive person is fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms are improving.

Nearby Fairfax County recently updated its isolation policy, enabling staff members to return to school five days after a positive test. However, its guidance says students will be required to isolate for 10 days because physically distancing from students is not possible during meals.

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman said the school system will have an update for families Wednesday.

“Arlington is really out of step with the rest of the jurisdictions in the Northern Virginia area as far as this quarantine,” said Reade Bush, a member of Arlington Parents for Education and parent with two students in county schools.

“What that means is the students are out of school for longer, the staff are out of school if they’re sick. And that’s much more disruptive and much more difficult to fully staff the schools, and certainly for kids to get back to school if they had been exposed or were sick.”

In addition to urging the school system to update its isolation guidelines, the parents group is calling for the immediate resumption of sports and extracurricular activities. Superintendent Francisco Durán last month announced that the stoppage — a result of a spike in COVID cases in the region — would begin Dec. 30 and end Friday unless it were to be extended.

Students in Arlington, Bush said, are falling behind, because other neighboring counties haven’t paused sports or other activities.

“They’re unable to practice together, and they’re unable to compete in the tournaments that otherwise would be going on right now,” Bush said.

“These kids really need sports.”

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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