Isolate vs. Quarantine
- You isolate when you are already infected with COVID-19 and have tested positive, even if you do not have symptoms. Isolation is used to separate people who are infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.
- You quarantine when you might have been exposed to COVID-19. This is because you might become infected with COVID-19 and could spread COVID-19 to others.
COVID-19 Isolation Guidance for K-12 Schools
Students, teachers & staff who test positive for COVID-19 and/or display COVID-19 symptoms should isolate regardless of vaccination status:
- If asymptomatic, monitor for symptoms for days 0 – 10; and
- Isolate at home for days 0 – 5 (day “0” is day symptoms begin or day test was taken
for those without symptoms); and
- If symptoms have improved or no symptoms developed, return to school, while
wearing a well-fitted mask, for days 6 -10; or
- Stay home for days 0 - 10 if unwilling/unable to wear a mask.
If you have a fever, stay home until you are fever free for a period of 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
Overview of COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance for K-12 Schools
Close contacts of a COVID-19 case do not need to quarantine at home if they:
- Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days
- Are up to date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccines for which they are eligible
These contacts should still conduct symptom monitoring and “Mask to Stay” for 10 days from the date of last exposure.
Close contacts of a COVID-19 case who do not meet the criteria above need to quarantine or may test to stay and mask to stay. Exposed individuals may:
- Home quarantine for days 1-5, if feasible test on day 5, AND “Mask to Stay” for days 6-10, OR
- "Test to Stay”* for days 1-5 AND “Mask to Stay” for days 1-10; OR
- Home quarantine for days 1-10 if unable/unwilling to mask
Students, teachers & staff should monitor for symptoms throughout quarantine period (days 1 through 10). Day “0” is day of last close contact with any COVID-19 positive student, teacher, or staff. If symptoms develop, get tested.
During days 1-10 following exposure:
- Watch for symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
- If symptoms develop, get tested immediately and isolate until receiving test results. If they test positive, then follow isolation recommendations.
- If they do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after they were last exposed.
- If possible, stay away from people that they live with, especially people who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19
For the full 10 days after last exposure, avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings