Stay-at-Home Period for Close Contacts of Individuals Who Tested Positive for COVID-19
For individuals who are close contacts to individuals who tested positive, a 14-day stay-at-home period was previously advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention DC based on the incubation period of the virus.
As of December 2, 2020, the CDC amended its guidance to allow two shorter options for the stay-at-home period. Based on current CDC guidance, the stay-at-home period can end for individuals experiencing no symptoms:
- On Day 10 after close contact exposure without testing,
- On Day 7 after close contact exposure and after receiving a negative test result.
If individuals return to school from these shorter stay-at-home windows, they should regularly monitor themselves for symptoms to ensure they remain symptom-free and take appropriate precautions (e.g., more consistent mask usage) for the duration of the 14-day incubation period.
Finally, the CDC has also advised that critical infrastructure services—which include schools—may permit close contact staff members who are asymptomatic to continue to work in select instances when it is necessary to preserve school operations. Per the CDC, this option should be used only in limited circumstances. When using this option, school systems may consider adding additional protocols to increase monitoring for these individuals, which might include the use of COVID-19 tests (e.g., on Day 3 and/or Day 7 after the close contact exposure).
Taking into account all of the above, school systems may apply any of the following stay-at-home periods to those individuals who are identified as close contacts, in the absence of specific control orders issued by their local health authority regarding the identified individuals. Specifically, the stay-at-home period can be:
- 10 days after the last close contact, so long as they continue to monitor themselves daily for symptoms and take appropriate precautions through day 14.
- 7 days after the last close contact, after receiving a negative test result (administered at least 5 days after the last close contact), so long as they continue to monitor themselves daily for symptoms and take appropriate precautions through day 14
For staff who are necessary to preserve school operations, school systems can choose not to require any stay-at-home period, so long as the affected staff continue to monitor themselves daily for symptoms and take appropriate precautions through day 14, and schools can consider the use of rapid tests for these individuals
- 14 days after the last close contact