On Thursday, the Alabama Department of Public Health changed its coronavirus guidelines in schools. Students and faculty only have to quarantine if they're exposed to someone who recently lost their sense of taste or smell. Previously, they would be sent home for close contact with anyone with a new cough, difficulty breathing or loss of taste or smell.
The state says the changes will keep more students and staff in the classroom. Most of the parents WAAY 31's Grace Campbell said they were surprised to hear about changes to the guidelines.
“I was confused on why in the world this wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been and why they closed schools in March when we had like 1,000 cases in the whole United States versus now we’re not even going to quarantine you but we have 10 cases in the school," said Morgan County parent, Kera Vest.
Vest has two kids in the traditional school setting at Austinville Elementary. She said she's thinking about switching them to virtual schooling because of the new guidelines.
“This whole close contact doesn’t get quarantined type situation, like how close do you have to be in order to say this is, your health is at risk we should quarantine you," said Vest.
The only major symptom that requires close contacts to be sent home is a new loss of taste or smell, but one mom said she's worried her young daughter may not realize they have that symptom.
“My 5-year-old is not going to understand I don’t have my taste or my smell," said Nichole Hache. "She doesn’t understand half the time when she’s sick."
Deborah Brasher's children are learning virtually. She would rather see strict precautions until the situation is under control.
“It feels like they’re just like, ‘okay, the cases are going down’ okay when you lower the standards, the cases are going to go right back up. It happens every single time," said Brasher.
“In two years I would like to look back and say, ‘that was a rough year,’ versus, ‘I cannot believe this is still going on,'" said Vest.
Anyone experiencing one of the three major symptoms will still be sent home.
The Alabama Department of Public Health will publish the new COVID-19 toolkit on Tuesday.