Virginia ends quarantine recommendation for students, teachers exposed to COVID-19

Governor Glenn Youngkin set the change in policy comes as “the severity of the disease decreases.”

Updated: July 15, 2022 - 11:07pm

Unless testing positive for the virus or developing symptoms, Virginia students, teachers, child-care staff and camp workers are no longer recommended to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.

If a person is exposed, but does not develop symptoms, that person can continue working, regardless of vaccination status, a release says. Students and staff may wear masks or get tested for COVID-19 in these circumstances, but are not required to do so. If a student or staff member has ongoing household exposure, the Virginia Department of Health recommends considering more frequent testing.

“From the first days of my administration, I have supported parents in making informed decisions for their own families, whom they love and know best,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a statement. “As Virginians continue to return to the office and social settings, the pandemic is disrupting workplaces and family life when entire child-care facilities, camps and classrooms shutter in response to as few as two cases. Today marks a shift in my administration’s recommendations to optional quarantine for exposure to COVID-19 in child care and school settings as the severity of the disease decreases.”

According to the governor’s office, the decision comes because of the availability of vaccines, tests and treatments, the increase in natural immunity and the low hospitalization rate. Facemasks are not routinely recommended, but people are allowed to wear masks if they wish.

If a person who was exposed to COVID-19 develops symptoms, the guidance recommends that he or she begins isolation and gets tested. If the person tests positive, isolation is recommended for five days with the first day of symptoms developing counted as Day 0 and the second day as Day 1.

A person who is asymptomatic after testing positive can return to work after Day 5, as long as the person has been without a fever for 24 hours. The guidance recommends that those people wear a facemask until Day 10 or produce a negative COVID-19 test. If the person does neither, the state recommends that person remain at home through Day 10.

In cases in which there is an outbreak that becomes difficult to control, a regional or local epidemiologist can recommend the traditional quarantine and isolation standards until it is under control.

The governor’s office noted that the administration will remain vigilant about surges and new variants, but that communities should continue on a path to normalcy.

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