On Thursday, August 11, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new federal guidelines regarding spread of COVID-19. Those new guidelines relax protocols previously in place and shift much of the decision-making to individuals and local officials.
The new CDC guidelines call on students and staff members to wear “well-fitting” masks at school if they live in communities where COVID-19 community transmission levels are high. Similarly, the CDC no longer recommends routine testing in K-12 schools unless COVID-19 community transmission levels are high in the area.
In addition, the CDC has asked school administrators to ensure that masking polices accommodate students with disabilities or those who are immunocompromised saying, “Students with immunocompromising conditions or other conditions or disabilities that increase risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should not be placed into separate classrooms or otherwise segregated from other students.”
Similar to routine testing, the CDC is no longer advising students or staff members who are exposed to the virus to quarantine. Instead, the agency’s new advice is that people who were exposed wear face coverings for 10 days and get tested.
Students and staff members who experience symptoms like a cough, fever or sore throat should head home and get tested immediately, the CDC said. For people who are at risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19, the agency recommends consulting their doctor.
Those who test positive should isolate at home for at least five days. Afterward, isolation depends on whether they continue to exhibit symptoms or test positive for the virus.
Students and staff members sick with the virus don’t have to get a negative test result to end isolation, but it could shorten the number of days they should wear a mask after getting sick.
Generally, the CDC recommends students and staff continue wearing a mask for 10 days after symptoms began to show.