New Quarantine Protocols - January 2021
Students and adults in K-12 schools may continue to attend in-person school, even during a normal quarantine period, if the following conditions are met:
- The school has documented COVID-19 prevention policies, including universal mask wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, identification and management of students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols.
- The exposure occurred within a classroom environment or while on required school transport (e.g., school bus).
- The person with COVID-19 and any associated contacts were wearing face masks that covered their nose and mouth at all times.
- If meals were consumed, a distance of at least 6 feet between students must have been maintained.
- Social distancing was maintained.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines acceptable distancing as a minimum of 6 feet. In accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics, desks should be placed ideally 6 feet apart and at a minimum 3 feet apart. This may be considered for school quarantine considerations (https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/).
The above guidelines only apply to classroom settings. Students should not attend in-person school if they are exposed to COVID-19 outside the classroom, including during sports and other extracurricular activities, regardless of masking.
Unmasked close contacts to a positive case have the following quarantine options:
- 10 days from the last date of contact and continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14; or
- 7 days from the last date of contact with a negative test result on day 5 or later and continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14.
After stopping quarantine, you should
- Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
- If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider.
- Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Those that are more than 6 feet apart are not (never have been) close contacts and don’t have to quarantine.
- Those that are less than 6 feet apart, but exposed outside of the classroom/bus or not wearing facial coverings will still have to follow all quarantine protocols, including not attending school in-person.
- Those that are between 3 and 6 feet apart do not have to quarantine from attending instruction in-person if the exposure was in the classroom/bus and all parties involved in the exposure were wearing facial coverings.
- These students would still have to quarantine from extracurricular activities and are advised to still quarantine from activities in the community.
- On the bus, these measurements would suggest that one child per seat would be at least 3 feet apart and students would be exempt from quarantining from school, if facial coverings were worn during exposure. However, two children per seat would be less than 3 feet apart and still require quarantine.
- Those that are less than 3 feet apart, regardless of exposure location or facial coverings, will still have to follow all quarantine protocols, including not attending school in-person.