GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Hundreds of students and more than two dozen staff members within the Green Bay Area Public School District are currently out of school in quarantine or isolation.
The district's COVID-19 dashboard shows 557 students and 29 staff members are out of the classroom under quarantine or isolation as of noon Wednesday. Of those totals, there are 43 students and 10 staff across the district in isolation. The rest are quarantined.
GBAPS officials said the data may include new and old quarantine or isolation cases, depending on when the person was informed they needed to be out of school.
"Am I concerned? Absolutely," said Kristen Johnson, department chair and RN with GBAPS. "We had a huge uptick yesterday and today again we have a lot of positives that are coming in. You know, people are tired of COVID. We all know that. It's been almost two years. We're well over a year and a half at this point. It's hard when you've got some people that are vaccinated, some people that aren't, whether it's their own choice or their age. We are seeing a lot more at that elementary level that are positive, and we are worried about those kids being sick and being out."
The district details different protocols for students and staff who are vaccinated. Those that have completed the vaccine series and have no COVID-19 symptoms don't need to quarantine if they've had a close contact.
Unvaccinated students need to quarantine for 10 days if there's a COVID positive student in the classroom where students were less than 3 feet apart. If that student receives a positive test result, they need to isolate for 10 days. Vaccinated students need to isolate for 10 days if they receive a positive test.
If all students are masked and more than 3 feet apart, they only need to quarantine if they're feeling symptoms and while they wait for test results. Vaccinated and unvaccinated students with positive test results need to isolate for 10 days.
Unvaccinated students living with someone who has COVID need to quarantine for 20 days or isolate for 10 days if they receive a positive COVID test. Vaccinated students experiencing COVID-like symptoms in the same situation need to quarantine until they receive test results or isolate for 10 days if the test is positive. If results are negative, those students can return to school once symptoms have improved.
Johnson said the district didn't have any cases of community transmission within a classroom last school year, which she attributed to masking and social distancing.
Masks are currently required inside all district schools. Johnson said the district is following the CDC's latest social distancing guidance, which states there should be 3 feet between students in classrooms.
To prevent spread of the virus, Johnson recommends families continue practicing good hand hygiene in addition to masking and social distancing. She said people should take all symptoms seriously and get tested right away if they feel ill.