Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for Children in Child Care, K-12
Effective August 15, 2022, children and staff in child care, K-12, out-of-school time (OST) and recreational camp settings should follow the below guidance.1
A rapid antigen test, such as a self-test, is preferred to a PCR test in most situations.
To count days for isolation, Day 0 is the first day of symptoms OR the day the day positive test was taken, whichever is earlier.
Contact tracing is no longer recommended or required in these settings, but schools or programs must continue to work with their Local Board of Health in the case of outbreaks.
The Commonwealth is not recommending universal mask requirements, surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing, or test-to-stay testing in schools. While masks are not required or recommended in these settings except for in school health offices, any individual who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, should be supported in that choice. For those who need or choose to mask, masking is never required in these settings while the individual is eating, drinking, sleeping or outside.
All individuals are encouraged to stay up-to-date with vaccination as vaccines remain the best way to help protect yourself and others.
Isolation and Exposure Guidance and Protocols
Guidance for Children and Staff in Child Care, K-12, OST, and Recreational Camp Settings:
Quarantine is no longer required nor recommended for children or staff in these settings, regardless of vaccination status or where the exposure occurred. All exposed individuals may continue to attend programming as long as they remain asymptomatic. Those who can mask should do so until Day 10, and it is recommended that they test on Day 6 of exposure. If symptoms develop, follow the guidance for symptomatic individuals, below.
Children and Staff who test positive:
Children and Staff who test negative:
Symptomatic individuals can remain in their school or program if they have mild symptoms, are tested immediately onsite, and that test is negative. Best practice would also include wearing a mask, if possible, until symptoms are fully resolved. For symptomatic individuals, DPH recommends a second test within 48 hours if the initial test is negative.
If the symptomatic individual cannot be tested immediately, they should be sent home and allowed to return to their program or school if symptoms remain mild and they test negative, or they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their symptoms are resolving, or if a medical professional makes an alternative diagnosis. A negative test is strongly recommended for return.
Note: At this time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved or authorized any at-home rapid antigen test for use in children under 2 years of age. However, at-home rapid antigen tests may be used off-label in children under 2 years of age for purposes of post-exposure, isolation, and symptomatic testing. It is recommended that parents or guardians deciding to test children under 2 years of age administer the at-home rapid antigen test themselves.
Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
New loss of taste or smell
Muscle aches or body aches
Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
Nausea, vomiting, when in combination with other symptoms
Headache, when in combination with other symptoms
Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies), when in combination with other symptoms
1 Residential programs should continue to follow EOHHS’s congregate care guidance.
CDC - Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19
Out-of-School Time , and Recreational Camp/Program Settings
Update on K-12 COVID-19 for Fall 2022
Vaccination Flyer for Teachers August 2022
* * * At home positive test results no longer need to be reported. ***