COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The entire fifth grade at Beulah Ralph Elementary School is quarantined until May 10 after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

Columbia Public Schools has experienced several such quarantines affecting individual schools in recent weeks. But as new cases fall and vaccination rates rise, some coronavirus precautions are being relaxed and high school students are gathering for prom.

Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said the Beulah Ralph quarantine does not affect other schools and is not unusual.

“We’ve had several full grade levels in various buildings impacted by COVID over the last couple of weeks,” Baumstark said. She said such quarantines are inevitable when schools are in-person and students or staff test positive.

“Despite some recent positive tests among students that have resulted in an increase in quarantines, we remain encouraged by the efforts in our schools and our community to reduce the spread,” Baumstark said.

Baumstark said the district will be telling families Monday about the relaxation of some current protocols. The first change will be the reduction in the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 in the case of exposure to coronavirus-positive students and staff. The second change is that masks will continue to be required while indoors, but while encouraged, they will no longer be required when outdoors.

Columbia elementary schools currently have 106 students in isolation or quarantine, and the entire district has 382 students in isolation or quarantine.

At the high school level, 121 students are in isolation or quarantined.

Two Columbia high schools held proms last weekend, and three Mid-Missouri schools are hosting in-person proms Saturday.

Baumstark said her to knowledge there were no positive tests that resulted from the events last weekend.

Hickman High School will hold a prom this weekend at the Columbia Country Club. The school’s website says dancing and seating will be outdoors. Masks and social distancing will be required and attendance limited to 400 people.

The district has also said if anyone tests positive at the prom, everyone there will have to quarantine

Both high schools in Jefferson City have proms Saturday. Both will be outdoor. Capital City students will be at the tennis courts and Jefferson City High School students will be at the football field.

Jefferson City schools is reporting just one active student case and two active staff cases.

Columbia Public Schools will also offer vaccine clinics for its students starting Tuesday. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in people 16 and older, though anyone under 18 has to have permission from a parent or guardian.

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