Virginia Department of Health Eliminates Guidance for COVID-19 Exposed Individuals to Quarantine from School

The Virginia Department of Health eliminated a recommendation for asymptomatic COVID-19-exposed individuals in schools to quarantine. The updated COVID-19 guidance applies to K-12 education, child care, and camps, although individuals who test positive still need to isolate at home for at least five days.

This revised guidance outlines that quarantine is no longer routinely recommended for asymptomatic individuals after exposure to COVID-19 infected individuals. In general masks are not routinely recommended in these settings, indoors or outdoors, except during isolation as specified below,” states the guidance, which applies to teachers, staff, and children.

In July, COVID-19 cases have risen to a seven-day average of 3,035 new cases in Virginia, following a decrease in late May and early June, according to VDH data. May’s peak at a seven-day average of 3,308 was still far below the all-time high in Virginia in January — a seven-day average of 18,782. Hospitalizations are also climbing, hitting a seven-day average of 654 on Friday, higher than a June peak at 577, but below the January peak of 3,705, according to Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association data. The report also comes amid increased concern over the BA.5 COVID-19 variant, which became dominant in the U.S. in early July, according to Fox News.

At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, some school districts transitioned temporarily to virtual days due to high numbers of students out quarantined. During the January wave, high numbers of quarantined staff forced the Colonial Heights Public School district to go virtual for a few days, according to NBC12.

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s press release called for prudence while continuing on a path to normalcy as the Commonwealth “learns to live with the pandemic.”

“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,” Youngkin said in the release. “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.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].




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