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Health department sets new guidance for student COVID isolations

Turlock Unified School District is looking over the updated guidance for K-12 schools by the California Department of Public Health and will be implementing changes next week.

The CDPH recommended updating isolation policies for students who test positive for COVID-19, but quarantine protocols will remain the same.

“This afternoon we met with the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency to review these changes,” said TUSD in a Facebook post. “We will be sharing more information very soon on changes to the guidance related to exposures that happen at school and at home. Our goal is to communicate all these changes to families as soon as possible and to implement them effective Tuesday, Jan 18.”

Back in December, the CDC recommended isolation time be reduced to 5 days for people, including students, who have tested positive for COVID-19. Using this information, the CDPH is recommending that students, regardless of vaccination status, previous infection or lack of symptoms end Isolation after at least five days if symptoms are not present or are resolving and a diagnostic specimen collected on day 5 or later tests negative.

“The CDC updated their isolation and quarantine recommendations for the general public motivated by science that indicates the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs within the first few days after contracting the virus,” said the CDPH in a statement.

The CDPH quarantine recommendations remained unchanged and vary differently based on students’ vaccination status and whether they choose to wear a mask or not.

For example, vaccinated students who are asymptomatic may continue attending school and test on days five and seven of their quarantine. Unvaccinated students may continue attending school while testing twice weekly during the quarantine period if they are asymptomatic and they and the person who tested positive for COVID-19 were masked during the exposure.

The updated recommendations from the CDPH come off the heels of the country seeing a rise of cases due to the Omicron variant. TUSD saw 153 new cases in a week during the last update from the district’s COVID dashboard.