ASYMPTOMATIC CLOSE CONTACTS IN THE SCHOOL SETTING
The CDC and the Florida Department of Health continue to recommend quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. However, there is new guidance that allows for a close contact to return to school earlier. There are two options that may allow the close contact to return to school/work before the full 14-day quarantine period has been met:
- The quarantine period may be shortened to 10 days from last exposure to the positive case if daily symptom monitoring indicates the close contact remains symptom free. The contact can return to school or work on Day 11. HOWEVER, it is extremely important that the contact continues daily monitoring for signs and symptoms through 14 days, as well as, practice social distancing, always wears a mask, and washes hands frequently. If signs or symptoms develop at any point, the contact should immediately isolate, seek medical care, and call the Health Department.
- The Quarantine may be shortened to as few as 7 days if a negative PCR test result is obtained on day 6 or later from exposure to the positive case. A PCR test is required and a rapid antigen test CANNOT be substituted. The test must be collected on day 6 or after, and if it is negative, the contact can return on Day 8 of quarantine, if he or she remains symptom free. HOWEVER, it is extremely important that the contact continues daily monitoring for signs and symptoms through 14 days, as well as, practice social distancing, always wears a mask, and washes hands frequently. If signs or symptoms develop at any point, the contact should immediately isolate, seek medical care, and call the Health Department.
DO I HAVE TO GET MY CHILD TESTED?
No, assuming your child remains symptom-free, he or she does not need a negative test to return to school on Day 11. If they develop symptoms you should seek medical care and call the health department.
HOW DO I GET PCR TESTING?
- You can obtain PCR testing through your medical provider
- You can obtain PCR testing at a public testing site
- REMEMBER: the rapid antigen test is not accepted, it must be a PCR test
- If your child develops symptoms, seek medical care and call the Health Department
- Make sure results can be provided within 24 to 48 hours. If the results are likely to take longer than 48 hours, it may be better to quarantine through day 10 and return to school on day 11, if no symptoms. CHILDREN WITH A KNOWN PENDING TEST RESULT SHOULD NOT RETURN TO SCHOOL
IF I GET A NEGATIVE PCR TEST RESULT, OBTAINED ON OR AFTER DAY 6 FOLLOWING EXPOSURE, WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
Call the Health Department to check if the result has been reported electronically in their system. If the result is reported, they will let the school know that your child may return, assuming they remain asymptomatic. If you have been notified that the result is negative but it has not yet shown up in the DOH system, you will need to provide a copy of the lab directly to the Health Department. NOTE: Please DO NOT fax or drop off copies of labs without first contacting the Health Department to make appropriate arrangements.
CDC updates regarding quarantine requirements after vaccination:
- Individuals who have been fully vaccinated – that is, 2 weeks or more have passed since the second dose in a 2-dose vaccine or the first dose in a 1-dose vaccine series – will not be required to quarantine following exposure, provided he/she does not develop new symptoms of COVID-19.
The Department of Health (DOH) requests that we follow the current contact tracing protocol, regardless of vaccination status. They will contact exposed individuals to ensure no symptoms have developed, research his/her vaccination status in the state system, and provide further COVID education. The DOH will determine if the individual is exempt from quarantine. The Health Services Department, as well as the school nurses, will work diligently to assist students, parents and staff in this process.