Update Guidance on Ebola from the Ohio Department of Health

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has strengthened its protocols for managing travelers returning from West African nations that have Ebola outbreaks in its efforts to keep Ohio Ebola free. The new protocols are stronger than those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) while still being respectful of travelers and informed by the latest medical considerations for risk and exposure. It is important to remember that people who do not have symptoms are not contagious. For Ebola to be transmitted, a person must have direct contact with a sick person with symptoms of Ebola. Working with the Ohio Department of Health to provide further clarity, this document is intended to assist you in understanding attendance decisions for your students when there are questions about their exposure or a family member’s exposure to the Ebola virus.

If a student is absent because health officials have indicated that the student should remain in their home or the officials have imposed other restrictions on their movement, school districts should count that absence as an excused absence and work with the family to help keep the student from falling behind on their assignments.  An absence to avoid the spread of infectious disease can be an excused absence as either:  (1) an absence based upon a quarantine order or (2) an absence where the local superintendent determines that the set of circumstances constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence from school.  See Ohio Adm. Code 3301-69-02(B)(2)(c) and (h).

The district should use those methods that it usually uses to educate students during lengthy absences, as well as supplementing those methods as appropriate to meet the needs of the student.  In addition, materials and services should be made available to ease their eventual transition back to the classroom.

In the case of a student with a disability that has an individualized education program (IEP) and has not received services after an extended period of time, the student’s IEP team should make an individualized determination as to whether the student with a disability requires compensatory education to make up for any skills that may have been lost because the student did not receive educational benefit.

This information has also been shared with your local health departments. The Ohio Department of Education strongly encourages districts to work in coordination with their local health departments to make decisions together about the best way to proceed.

For additional guidance, please see the chart below as well as the attached guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health.  To learn more about Ebola, you can visit the Ohio Department of Health’s dedicated website or refer to its fact sheet. Additional information is available from your local health department and can be accessed by visiting the Ohio Department of Health at FindMyHealthDistrict.Ohio.gov to find your local health department.

If a parent, caregiver, or other resident of the same home as a student in your district is categorized by the Ohio Department of Health in one of the categories below, please observe the following guidance related to school attendance:
Ohio Department of Health Category* Recommended School Attendance
1a Student can go to school
1b Student can go to school
2 Student can go to school
3 Student can go to school

 

If a student in your district has a written determination from the local health department and is categorized by the Ohio Department of Health in one of the categories below, please observe the following guidance related to school attendance:
Ohio Department of Health Category* Recommended School Attendance
1a Student should stay home for 21 days
1b Student should stay home for 21 days
2 See attached chart from the Ohio Department of Health. Determination should be made by district superintendent in consultation with the local health department
3 Student can go to school


Guidance from the Ohio Department of Health is available here which explains its guidance on categorizing those who have had exposure to the Ebola virus.

 

Last Modified: 1/8/2015 3:28:24 PM