NYC shortening COVID quarantine, isolation periods for public school students

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Department of Education announced Tuesday that it is shortening quarantine and isolation periods related to COVID-19 for public school students.

The new health policies, based on CDC and NYS DOH guidance, take effect Monday, January 31.

Officials say the changes uphold the "Stay Safe, Stay Open" policy, which has been in place since the holiday break.

Shortened Isolation Period for Positive Cases

The isolation period for all staff and students in grades kindergarten and higher who test positive for COVID-19 has been shortened to five days.

Anyone returning from a five-day isolation period should be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their overall symptoms should be improving. They must also be able to wear a well-fitting mask while at school from Day 6 through Day 10.

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Experts recommend a high-grade well-fitting mask such as a KN95 or KF94, or a surgical mask worn under a cloth mask.

Custodian Engineers have adult-sized KN95 masks available for staff and for students who can tolerate a high-grade mask. They also have three-ply surgical masks for students who cannot tolerate a high-grade mask, including younger students.

For students in LYFE, 3K, and Pre-K, the isolation period will remain at 10 days. These students should be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and their overall symptoms should be improving before they return on Day 11.

When staff and students (in any grade) have completed their isolation period, they are not required to produce a negative test result before being allowed to return to school or work.

An individual may continue to receive a positive COVID-19 test result for up to 90 days even though they are no longer infectious.

New Quarantine Guidelines

Students in K-12: If a student is not fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19 outside of a school setting, the individual must now quarantine for at least five days. This has been shortened from 10 days.

Anyone returning from a five-day quarantine period must wear a well-fitting mask, as mentioned above, while at school from Days 6 through 10.

For an unvaccinated student who is exposed in the home, the student must continue to quarantine for an additional five days after a household member's isolation period has ended, if the household member is not isolated from the student or the student continues to be exposed to the household member in the same home during that time.

Staff and students in grades kindergarten and higher, when exposed to COVID-19 at school, do not need to quarantine and should continue to use the home test kits provided by their school.

These students and staff should only receive one home test kit per week, regardless of the number of exposures during that week.

Students in LYFE, 3-K, and Pre-K: Students sharing classroom space with an individual that tests positive for COVID-19 must continue to quarantine if exposed to that individual during their infectious period. However, the quarantine period has been shortened for some students.

For scenarios below, when completing their quarantine period, students are not required to produce a negative test result before being allowed to return to school.

Children who are at least 2 years old and have been exposed to COVID-19 may now test back into school on Day 6, after completing a five-day quarantine (previously, these students were able to test back in on Day 8).

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In order to return to school on Day 6, these students must be symptom-free and test negative on a lab-based test performed by a healthcare provider on Day 5, or test negative using two at home rapid tests taken on Day 4 and Day 5.

Starting on Monday, January 31, students aged 2 and older may now receive home test kits when exposed at school, in addition to when they are experiencing symptoms.

Families may choose to use these home test kits to test out of quarantine and return on Day 6.

Children under 2 in LYFE classrooms can still test back into school on Day 8, after completing a seven-day quarantine. In order to return to school on Day 8, these students must be symptom-free and test negative on a lab-based test performed by a healthcare provider on Day 5 or after.

Exposed children that do not get tested can return to school on Day 11 after completing a 10-day quarantine.

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