Dear MASD Community,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance for schools to allow for a shorter isolation and quarantine time period. School districts must follow Washington State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines, and the state DOH just changed its guidance to align with the CDC. Our school district is aligning with these changes.
This is a lot of information to track, which is why we are summarizing the changes below. Here is a link to review the state’s guidance in detail.
Summary of Recent State Guidance Changes
Isolation and quarantine guidance was shortened to 5 days in many cases, and testing recommendations were updated.
The new guidance applies to both those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Isolation: Isolation requirements have been reduced to 5 days with testing and proper masking.
If a person tests positive for COVID-19 with a molecular or antigen test, they can return to school when:
- 5 days have passed since symptom onset, or since positive test date if no symptoms are present; AND
- No symptoms are present, or symptoms are resolving; AND
- No fever within the past 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Students and staff should continue monitoring for symptoms and wearing a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 (days 6-10) both in and out of school, including during extracurricular and sports activities.
- Individuals who have been in isolation may test on day 5 of their isolation period. An antigen test is recommended. If the test result is positive, they must continue to isolate until day 10. If the test result is negative, they may return to school and should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others until day 10.
- If a person with COVID-19 symptoms tests negative (with a molecular or antigen test), they may return to school as long as:
- Their symptoms are improving, and
- They are not a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
Quarantine: Students and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 may need to quarantine for at least 5 days after their last close contact.
These groups need to quarantine and must test negative prior to coming back to in-person school:
- Ages 18 or older who have completed the primary vaccine series (or single J&J) but have not received a booster shot when eligible.
- Those who are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
These groups do not need to quarantine:
- Ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters.
- Are ages 5-17 years and have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
Other quarantine options for close contacts.
- Students or staff who meet the definition of close contact must quarantine at home.
- Quarantine can end after 5 full days after the last close contact if:
- No Symptoms have developed, and
- After receiving a negative test result from a test taken no sooner than day 5.
- If an individual or student who is a close contact does not get tested, a longer quarantine period may be required (at least 10 days).
Rapid COVID-19 testing is available at the school for all students, staff, and family members. If you have COVID-19 Symptoms, please call the school office in advance to schedule a testing time and remain in your vehicle when you arrive at the school.
We understand it is difficult to keep track of the many changes to public health guidance. We are working to update our materials to line up with the new state DOH guidelines as quickly as possible. Thank you for your continued patience as we respond to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 landscape.