WHEELING, W.Va.- (WTRF) How can we get students back to school safely?

That was the question Ohio County health officials posed to staff of private, parochial and public schools along with officials from Bethany College, West Liberty and Wheeling University.

The health department provided several recommendations concerning COVID-19 and how a return to school should look this fall for everyone in the county.

Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard Gamble says the focus still remains heavily on getting people vaccinated.

Gamble also told those in attendance the start of school will look a lot different than when the virus was first introduced into the community.

“This year we’re going into school, they should plan all school systems. You’re going to start off with cases. You’re going to start off with positives. You’re going to start off with people in isolation and quarantine and how to handle that appropriately. Our recommendation right now for grades K through 12 students, not to be masked, so they need to act appropriately. One, do we need to get more people or encourage more people to vaccinated therefore you’re vaccinating around the students.”

Howard Gamble, Ohio County Health Dept. Adminstrator

According to Gamble, some of the recommendations include students grades, K through 12, and staff who are vaccinated to not be tested weekly, but unvaccinated students in K through 12 and unvaccinated staff get tested once each week.

Gamble says the health department also strongly recommends anybody, who is symptomatic during school, be tested prior to returning to school.

Other masking and school closure recommendations were made.

The health department also reviewed the newest changes to quarantine and isolation policies put in place by the CDC.