NYSDOH: Eligible and exposed students without booster can’t play sports for 5 days, must quarantine

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) sent a memo to school administrators and local health officials on Monday notifying them of a new rule pertaining to sports and extracurricular activities, that will apply to anyone age 12 and up who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot.

Students in that age range without the booster will still be able to participate in sports and extracurricular activities but if they are exposed to COVID-19, they are expected to follow a five-day quarantine aside from in-person class and bus transportation. Students with the booster do not need to quarantine if exposed and can continue to practice/play.

The rule doesn’t apply to kids ages 5-11 who aren’t yet eligible for the booster shot.

Julie Cecchini has two sons in high school.

“Both boys are seasoned three-sport athletes,” she told News10NBC.

That was the reason they decided to get vaccinated in the first place, but now, they’ll have to be boosted too in order to avoid quarantine if exposed to COVID-19 and Cecchini doesn’t like that.

“When you put these guidelines in, hand these mandates down…you’re pressuring kids who really aren’t old enough to make decisions like this and it’s all because of that fear of missing out,” she said.

The memo was sent to school districts and local health departments this week notifying them of the change and promising full updated guidelines soon.

County leaders tell News10NBC, this will be on school districts.

“That’s between the school and their parents, that relationship is there… not with the local health departments,” said Ontario County Public Health Director Mary Beer.

In a statement on Wednesday, the President of the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents Bo Wright told News10NBC, “There has been a flurry of activity during the past week relating to health and safety guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health. We are in the process of working with local health officials to seek clarification about what these updates mean for local schools.”

Canandaigua Superintendent Jamie Farr says the timing of this update from NYSDOH is a bit ironic.

“They no longer are able to contact trace they can’t keep up and the same can be said with schools…we’re barely keeping up and then we receive this notification that not only do we have to keep doing what we are doing, here’s another layer that we have to add to that that creates more work for us,” Farr said.

Superintendent Farr got the letter but he’s waiting for full guidance to see if there is any wiggle-room.

“Do we still have enough autonomy to say we can continue on the path that we’re already on, I don’t have an answer to that yet,” he says and until he and other superintendent’s do, “my intention is that will continue to operate as we have been until we’re told otherwise.”