Dare County Schools sends out updated quarantine guidance

Published 10:59 am Wednesday, January 5, 2022

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The following message from Dare County Schools was sent to families of students in the system on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022 around 3 p.m.:

“Good afternoon. Enclosed is an update from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:

“NCDHHS has updated the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit isolation and quarantine guidance to align with updated guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which outlines what individuals should do if they contract or are exposed to COVID-19 to help slow the spread to others. The CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. Additionally, CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19.”

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Keith Parker, director of digital communication for the system, reiterated to The Coastland Times that masking is still required in all Dare County Schools. Since masking is already required in the school system, when those affected return from a 5-day isolation or quarantine, they would already be wearing a mask just like every other student, stated Parker.

The message from Dare County Schools goes on to state:

“The updated guidance changes how long and under what conditions staff and students need to be excluded from school because they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19 (isolation and quarantine):

“1. Staff and students who have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status should get tested and isolate from others while waiting for a resultIf testing is not possible, follow the guidance below as if the person is positive.

“2. Isolation: Staff and students who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, and

  • Do not have symptoms, should isolate from others for five days, then wear a mask for five additional days.
  • Have symptoms, should isolate from others until fever-free and symptoms are improving. Individuals should isolate for at least five days since symptoms began and then wear a mask for 5 additional days.

“3. Quarantine: Staff and students who are exposed to someone with COVID-19, and

  • Not vaccinated – stay away from others for five days, get tested on day 5 after exposure, and if they test negative, return to school while wearing a mask for five additional days.
  • Vaccinated and eligible for a booster, but not yet been boosted – stay away from others for five days, get tested on day 5 after exposure, and if they test negative, return to school while wearing a mask for five additional days.
  • Vaccinated, and have either received a booster or are not yet eligible for a booster – individuals do not need to stay away from others but should wear a mask for 10 days.

Please also note: Prior infection and positive antibodies will no longer be criteria for quarantine exemption. (Studies are showing that prior SARS CoV 2 infection does not provide immunity against Omicron).

“4. StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit guidance that remains unchanged includes:

  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated after a close contact in a classroom or other school setting if masks were being worn appropriately and consistently by both the person with COVID-19 and the potentially exposed person do NOT need to quarantine.

“Schools are strongly encouraged to actively promote vaccination and boosters to staff and families. Being up-to-date on vaccinations, including getting a booster, dramatically decreases the risk of severe illness and hospitalization from the Omicron variant.”