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MDHHS updates COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 10, 2022
CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112
LANSING, Mich. - Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its K-12 school quarantine and isolation guidance to reflect recent updates made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that modifies or shortens the quarantine and isolation periods to as short as five days in some circumstances.
Changes include language on isolation guidance that allow students, teachers and staff to return to school sooner after infection, under certain circumstances. Quarantine guidance is also updated, allowing students, as well as staff and teachers, to return to school sooner after a school-based exposure.
The state is committed to ensuring Michigan students and educators are as safe as possible in the classroom. When layered prevention strategies such as vaccination, masking, distancing, testing, isolation and quarantine are applied consistently, school-associated transmission of COVID-19 is significantly reduced. MDHHS continues to recommend universal masking in K-12 settings. This guidance will help K-12 schools maintain in-person learning by outlining mitigation strategies when students, teachers and staff are exposed to a COVID-19 case in a school setting.
"We always advocate for preventative measures that keep our children safe," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. "Children of school age - ages 5 and up - are now eligible to get vaccinated, and children ages 12 and up are eligible to get boosted. In addition to masking and testing, we feel confident that schools can remain as safe as possible for our children."
Quarantine and isolation are determined by the local health department and are used as important tools to prevent the spread of disease.
- You isolate?when you are already infected with COVID-19 and have tested positive, even if you do not have symptoms. Isolation is used to separate people who are infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.
- You quarantine when you might have been exposed to COVID-19. This is because you might become infected with COVID-19 and could spread COVID-19 to others.
Overview of COVID-19 Isolation Guidance for K-12 Schools
- Students, teachers & staff who test positive for COVID-19 and/or display COVID-19 symptoms should isolate regardless of vaccination status:
- If positive with no symptoms, monitor for symptoms from day of exposure through day 10 of isolation; and
- Isolate at home for 5 days (day "0" is day symptoms begin or day test was taken for students, teachers & staff who do not have symptoms); and
- If symptoms have improved or you continue to have no symptoms, return to school, while wearing a well-fitted mask, for days 6 -10; or
- Stay home for 10 days if unwilling/unable to wear a mask.
If you have a fever, stay home until you are fever free for a period of 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Overview of COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance for K-12 Schools
- Close contacts of a COVID-19 case do not need to quarantine at home if they:
- Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days; and/or
- Are up to date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccines for which they are eligible
These contacts should still monitor their symptoms and "Mask to Stay" for 10 days from the date of last exposure.
- Close contacts of a COVID-19 case who do not meet the criteria above need to quarantine or may test to stay and/or mask to stay. Exposed individuals may:
- Home quarantine for days 1-5, if feasible test on day 5, AND "Mask to Stay" for days 6-10; or
- "Test to Stay" for days 1-6 AND "Mask to Stay" for days 1-10; or
- Home quarantine for days 1-10 if unable/unwilling to mask
Students, teachers & staff should monitor for symptoms throughout quarantine period (days 1 through 10). Day "0" is day of last close contact with any COVID-19 positive student, teacher or staff. If symptoms develop, get tested.
During days 0-10 following exposure:
- Watch for symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms.
- If symptoms develop, get tested immediately and isolate until receiving test results. If test is positive, then follow isolation recommendations.
- If symptoms do not develop, get tested at least five days after last exposed.
- If possible, stay away from others in the home, especially people who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
For the full 10 days after last exposure, avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings
Test to Stay: test every other day for 6 days following the exposure and consistent and correct use of a well-fitted mask.
Mask to Stay: is the consistent and correct use of a well-fitted mask when around others and in school and public settings.
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
To find a vaccine, visit VaccineFinder.org.