Students will be able to return to schools more quickly after testing positive for COVID-19, as long as they’re no longer sick, and pre-K students will have shorter quarantine periods under new policies that will take effect in public schools next Monday, NY1 has learned.
Currently, children who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home for ten days. Moving forward, children who test positive can return on day six, as long as they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, their overall symptoms are improving, and they are wearing a “well-fitting” mask.
That will bring the city in line with the Centers for Disease Controls’ recommendations, the education department said.
There will also be a change to the city’s policies for quarantining 3-K and pre-K students who have been exposed to coronavirus at school, which have been more onerous than the policy for older children.
Currently, pre-K and 3-K students must quarantine for 10 days after an exposure, with an option to return to school on day eight if they test negative on a PCR test on day five.
Under the new policy, those children can return on day six if they are negative on a PCR test given on day five, or on two rapid tests given on days four and five.
That may offer a little bit of relief to parents of the city’s youngest students, some of whom have had their children home for the majority of the month, due to repeated quarantines during the omicron surge.
The policy for older children, which was set when they returned from winter break, will not change. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to coronavirus at school. Instead, they must take a rapid test at home on the day they are notified of the exposure. If the test is negative, they can remain in school, though they must test again on day five.
Students with symptoms, like a fever, will continue to be required to stay home.
Unvaccinated children in grades K-12 exposed to COVID-19 outside of schools will still have to quarantine. Previously, they’ve stayed home for 10 days. Starting Monday, they’ll stay home for five.