The L.A. County Department of Health has announced that unvaccinated students in the Los Angeles County who are exposed to COVID-19 will not be required to stay off-campus.
Under new guidelines announced earlier this month, health officials reported that under circumstances, K-12 students will be allowed to continue to attend in-person instruction at school even if they have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 with a new modified quarantine system. The new protocol is in response to analysis of a four-week sample of data that shows that there has been “relatively low transmission” of COVID-19 in schools, the health department said.
The department's release states that "modified quarantine" allows, under certain conditions, an unvaccinated student with an exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case to continue in-person instruction at school during their quarantine, while restricting their activities outside of the classroom."
"Modified quarantine" will apply to students who were exposed to COVID-19 at school or at a school-supervised activity in which both the person who was exposed and the infected person were masked, and there is no “defined outbreak.”
The exposed student must remain asymptomatic during the modified quarantine and must stay home except when attending classes or school activities. They will also be required to get tested twice weekly. The modified quarantine will end with the second test, conducted at least five days after exposure, coming back negative the department confirms.
According to the Department of Health, the new protocol is in response to analysis of a four-week sample of data that shows that there has been “relatively low transmission” of COVID-19 in schools, adding that between Aug. 15 and Sept. 13, there were 7,995 cases of the coronavirus among students and 1,193 among staff in L.A. County schools. The vast majority of those occurred in the L.A. Unified School District. With an estimated 1.5 million students and 175,000 staff in L.A. County, it means that since the beginning of the school year, 0.5% of students and 0.7% of staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
The modified quarantine procedure is only available for students, not teachers. The procedure also cannot be used in cases of a confirmed COVID outbreak at a campus.
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