New Quarantine Rules for Goffstown High School


Santino DeFilippo, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, January 12, Goffstown High School superintendent Brian Balke announced that they will shorten COVID-positive students’ quarantine to five days from the previous ten-day quarantine. If a student is still experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, however, their quarantine can be extended through the next five days, or until their symptoms wear off. This decision was made based off the new NH DHHS (New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services) and CDC recommendations for quarantining and self-isolation for COVID-positive individuals.

There has been some controversy among students and parents from this decision. Some are skeptical of the CDC’s updated isolation guidelines in the first place while others commend GHS’ decision to implement these recommendations with such speed. Lucia DeFilippo, a junior at Goffstown High School, thinks that it may have been a bad move. She notes that the extra five days of isolation “provide for at least a tiny bit of reassurance for both COVID-positive and COVID-negative students to know they’re safe at school and there is no possibility of classmates spreading the virus”. Even if the CDC has determined that coronavirus is now only transmissible during the first five days of testing positive, it could still very well give students a fear for their own health.

With Lucia’s concerns being completely valid, other students think differently. GHS senior Harrison Spalthoff believes “the school’s ten-day quarantine plan was great for the time being, but the best plan for the school is to adhere by the CDC guidelines.” He mentioned that it definitely would be necessary for students coming out of quarantine to wear a mask for the next five days if GHS hadn’t implemented a mask mandate as you can still hold COVID antibodies in your system even while testing negative. Lucia agrees with Harrison on this issue, although she did state that GHS’ recent full mask mandate was a much better option. Lucia further stated that her main concern with only previously-quarantined students needing to wear masks is that administration is probably not able to keep track of who is or isn’t coming out of quarantine, making it a fully “honors system” plan. “The honors system doesn’t seem like the most effective plan given the situation and what I know about the student body,” Lucia stated.

To Harrison, it is clear that both superintendent Balke and NH governor Chris Sununu are prioritizing keeping kids in school rather than returning to a fully remote or hybrid system once again and that “as of now there is no scenario in which another shutdown occurs” with the COVID guidelines given. As positive tests continue to incline, though, CDC recommendations could continue to change. Is it in GHS’ best interest to keep changing their guidelines based on how often the CDC changes recommendations? This could potentially cause a lot of confusion within GHS attendants. Although it is strongly against what Balke and Sununu are working for, if COVID cases rise for much longer than Lucia along with many other students believe “even if it is just for two weeks, a shutdown is in order.”