Butler County district part of new coronavirus quarantine testing

Lakota and Mason schools - joined by Princeton Schools in northern Hamilton County - are taking part in a pilot coronavirus rapid testing program for students ordered by state officials. The new testing program is in response to complaints the current quarantining of students is overly restrictive in keeping students out of classes for two weeks. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Lakota and Mason schools - joined by Princeton Schools in northern Hamilton County - are taking part in a pilot coronavirus rapid testing program for students ordered by state officials. The new testing program is in response to complaints the current quarantining of students is overly restrictive in keeping students out of classes for two weeks. (File Photo\Journal-News)

Three school districts in the region announced Thursday they will be part of a new state study to rapidly test students to see if Ohio’s current coronavirus quarantine requirements might be overly strict.

Lakota Schools, which have the largest enrollment in Butler County, and Warren County’s Mason Schools are among the nine districts chosen statewide for the coronavirus school study.

Also picked among the school systems in southwest Ohio were Princeton Schools in northern Hamilton County, according to a joint announcement put out Thursday by officials at the three districts.

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The “rapid coronavirus test pilot public health evaluation” by the state involves a “quick test performed on voluntary participants, with parental and student consent,” according district officials.

“The test can be performed with results in about 20 minutes. The purpose is to determine if and how cases are spread among children, regardless of symptoms,” said officials.

The new study is a state response to complaints from some Ohio districts that the quarantining of students who were in proximity to students testing positive was overly cautious and forcing large numbers of healthy students to miss out on live classes, sports and other extra-curricular activities in staying at home for two weeks.

“We are proud to be a part of this statewide study,” said Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller, whose district enrolls 16,800 students and is the ninth largest in Ohio.

“Having been in school all day, every day, since August 17, our data shows that there is little to no spread in the classroom when everyone is wearing a mask. We are hopeful that our state leaders will use the data from this study to lessen the number of days required for quarantine due to a positive case in a school setting.”

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