On Thursday, Jan. 6, the CDC formally shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine times for students and staff in K-12 schools from 10 days to 5 days. The New York State Department of Health and the Albany County Department of Health have adopted this guidance. The District expects there could be some additional details forthcoming from these agencies. Please understand this guidance is evolving.
Shortening the isolation period to 5 days
Isolation is separating people who have COVID-19 from those who are not infected or showing symptoms in order to prevent transmission of the virus.
Students, teachers, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms should isolate for at least 5 days with Day 0 being the date of the positive test. If symptoms develop during this period of time, they must then isolate for 5 days from the date symptoms start.
Students, teachers, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms should isolate for at least 5 days with symptom onset being Day 0. They can end isolation after 5 days if:
- Asymptomatic or if symptoms are resolving
- Fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine
- Cough is minimal and not disruptive to the ability to wear a mask
- No runny nose
Individuals must continue to wear a well-fitting mask for days 6 through 10 and continue to maintain at least six-feet of distance among others when eating. If an individual cannot wear a well-fitting mask while around others (i.e. runny nose which would cause the mask to be removed frequently), they should stay in quarantine/isolation until symptoms subside.
If an individual is moderately or severely immunocompromised they need to follow the standard 10-day isolation guidance.
Shortening the quarantine period to 5 days
Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19, by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others. Day 0 counts as the date of last contact.
As a reminder, students or staff who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine when they come in contact with a confirmed positive, but should wear a well-fitting mask while around others and monitor for symptoms for 10 days after the last date of exposure.
- If symptoms appear they should seek testing and quarantine. In this situation, quarantine would end if the test is negative and symptoms have subsided. If testing is not done, they should isolate according to the guidance above.
Individuals must continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for days 6 through 10 and continue to maintain at least six-feet of distance among others when eating.
Please note: A test cannot be used to test out of isolation or quarantine.
An overview of the new CDC recommendations for COVID isolation for students and staff can be found on the CDC website.