The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday dropped guidelines recommending that students quarantine after exposure to someone with the COVID-19 virus.
Under the new guidance, the CDC also dropped recommendations that schools routinely test students who show no symptoms or limit the spread by breaking students into small groups.
Citing heightened vaccination levels and growing natural immunity, the CDC said in a press release that "circumstances now allow public health efforts to minimize the individual and societal health impacts of COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable measures to further reduce medically significant illness as well as to minimize strain on the health care system, while reducing barriers to social, educational, and economic activity."
Students first entered quarantine in 2020, when the pandemic began to sweep the nation. Remote learning and stringent quarantine measures became contentious topics as the protocols remained in place after cases began to decline. School districts have been reluctant to reimpose lifted restrictions, even in the face of rising cases, as recent research has called the effectiveness of mask mandates and other prevention methods into question.
"COVID-19 remains an ongoing public health threat; however, high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of medical and nonpharmaceutical interventions have substantially reduced the risk for medically significant illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19," it concluded.