Montgomery County Public Schools changes quarantine guidelines | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

Officials maintain that the quarantine guidance only applies to unvaccinated individuals.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — (Editor’s Note: The video above is from October 6, 2021)

Montgomery County Public Schools has released an update to the guidelines for students having to quarantine due to COVID-19. 

According to a press release sent Thursday, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) modified the guidelines, which will go into effect on Nov. 8.

With the new guidelines, certain students may not have to quarantine, or just quarantine for a shorter period of time, if certain criteria are met. 

According to school officials, there will now be two categories for no quarantine or shortened quarantine periods for close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19. The school district classifies a “close contact” as someone who is within six feet of someone who has tested positive for the virus for a total of 15 minutes over the course of 24 hours, or less than three feet in a classroom setting. 

School officials say the first category is for cases where the infected student and close contacts were wearing masks during the exposure and the exposure was not during a high-risk activity. The state classifies high-risk activities as “indoor or high-contact athletics, and indoor forced exhalation activities, such as singing, exercising, or playing a wind or brass instrument.”

In this category, those who come into close contact with a positive case must be enrolled in, or sign up for, the MCPS COVID-19 screening testing program. School officials say as long as the close contacts participate in the screening testing program, they can continue to come to school each day. Those close contacts will not be allowed to participate in any high-risk school-sponsored activities and will be expected to quarantine outside the school setting. 

Click here to enroll in the screening testing program. 

In the second category, school officials say in cases where masks are not worn or when the infected individual is an adult, unvaccinated close contacts will be required to quarantine for 10 days but can return to school after seven days with a negative PCR test taken after day five from the last date of exposure. 

Some things within quarantine guidance will stay the same. School officials say symptomatic individuals with a positive COVID-19 test will still be required to quarantine for 10 days, self-monitor for 14 days and can only return to school if free of COVID symptoms. Those symptoms include a fever of 100.4 or more, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. 

Officials maintain that the quarantine guidance only applies to unvaccinated individuals. As has been the case throughout the school year, asymptomatic people will not need to quarantine. 

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