Friday, September 24, 2021

MDHHS issues new quarantine guidelines for COVID-positive students

September 8, 2021
Photo by Hope Ann Flores | The State News

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or MDHHS, issued updated quarantine guidelines that outlined various prevention measures, including universal masking and steps to take for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students when coming into contact with COVID-19 in an educational facility.

"When layered prevention strategies such as masking, distancing, testing, isolation and quarantine are applied consistently, school-associated transmission of COVID-19 is significantly reduced — which keeps kids in the classroom so they can learn," MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a press release. "However, if someone is exposed to COVID-19 at schools, it's important for them to follow quarantine guidance to prevent spread to other children."

The department encourages cooperation between local health departments and schools to provide for quick and efficient isolation of COVID-positive cases. Quick isolation of these cases can lead to the continuance of in-person learning and businesses remaining open.

According to the press release, a fully vaccinated student who came in close contact with a COVID-positive student can continue going to in-person classes if they closely monitor symptoms for 14 days after exposure and continue to follow the mask mandate.

The fully vaccinated student should still test for COVID-19 three to five days after exposure. If the test yields a positive result, then the exposed student should isolate and follow directions from their local health department.

As long as they were masked and remained at least three-to-six feet apart in an indoor setting, unvaccinated students who were exposed to a COVID-positive student can remain in classes, but should monitor symptoms for 14 days.

If an unvaccinated student was masked and less than three feet apart in an indoor setting, they can remain in school if they wear a mask. Further, they are encouraged to test daily before coming into the school building for the seven days following the exposure.

The only scenarios in which an unvaccinated student exposed to COVID-19 should not remain in school is if the exposed student, COVID-positive student or both were not wearing a mask. The other scenario is if the students were less than three feet apart and the student does not test daily.

While the university is not required to cancel an in-person lecture due to a positive case, they are required to alert students who have a class with the student who tested positive through a positive exposure email from the Office of the Registrar.

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