Department of Health updates quarantine options for close contacts In schools based on CDC guidelines, Continue to highlight the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines
Annapolis, Maryland (September 30, 2021) – Today, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health announced adjustments to its school quarantine recommendations based on CDC guidelines, allowing shorter quarantine periods for students and unvaccinated personnel who are considered close contacts. With up to 100 students at Anne Arundel County Public School quarantined daily since the start of the school year, the Department of Health continues to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations for all students and the eligible staff.
“Quarantine is essential to protect students and staff from continued exposure; However, quarantine disrupts a child’s learning process, ”said Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD, Anne Arundel County Health Officer. “Close contacts who are fully vaccinated who are asymptomatic do not have to be quarantined – the best option to protect against disease and avoid quarantine is vaccination. The adjusted guidelines provide additional options for unvaccinated people to minimize the impacts of quarantine on learning. ”
People vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to have severe symptoms, less likely to spread the virus, and do not need to self-quarantine if they are asymptomatic. Asymptomatic students who have been vaccinated can continue to attend school in person and participate in other school activities as long as they continue to wear masks indoors.
“Parents, if your kids are 12 and over and eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and you want them to stay in class, go ahead. If you want them to play sports, go vax. If you want them to be in clubs, go vax, ”said Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD, Anne Arundel County Health Officer. “Be smart and shoot. This is how we get ahead of COVID-19 and become the top of the class. “
The Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a range of acceptable quarantine periods, depending on immunization status. These strategies include:
- Fully vaccinated close contacts should be referred for COVID-19 testing three to five days after the date of their last exposure. Close contacts that are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated do not need to be quarantined at home after exposure. They can continue to attend school in person and participate in other activities. In addition to properly wearing masks to school, they must wear a mask in other indoor public places for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- Close contacts not fully vaccinated should be referred for COVID-19 testing. Regardless of the test results, they must quarantine themselves. Acceptable quarantine periods include the following options.
- Option 1 is recommended by the CDC. Close contacts should be quarantined at home for 14 days after exposure and should not go to school or participate in sports, clubs or any other activity.
- Option 2 is an acceptable alternative. Close contacts should be quarantined for 10 days after exposure and should not go to school or participate in sports, clubs or any other activity.
- Option 3 is an acceptable alternative. Close contacts can be tested between the fifth and seventh day after exposure and quarantined for seven days if the test is negative. They should not go to school or participate in sports, clubs or any other activity during quarantine.
NOTE: Shortened quarantine periods should not be considered in schools where indoor masking is not required or where students cannot properly and consistently wear a mask.
Parents and students should recognize that each of these guidelines comes with a different level of risk for infection and disease. Schools must provide students and their families with the exact date of the last exposure and the date of a possible return to school depending on the quarantine option implemented.
“We recommend that schools select quarantine guidelines that they can consistently implement, follow appropriately, and that match the school’s masking requirements,” said Dr Kalyanaraman. “The adoption of guidelines allowing children to return to school earlier should be considered. Each school or school system will need to assess its ability to monitor and administer shorter quarantine guidelines. “