SALT LAKE CITY — The time needed for Utah school students and faculty to remain in quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 can be cut in half if certain requirements are met.
The Utah Department of Health approved recommendations made by a medical advisory group that lowers the number of quarantine days from 14 to 7 for those who were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Gov. Gary Herbert also approved the recommendations.
“It’s not shortening the quarantine to seven days." said Tom Hudachko of the Utah Department of Health. "It’s saying that if you test negative, if you’re put on quarantine, and if you test negative seven days or more beyond your exposure then you can go ahead and return to the school setting.”
A 7-day quarantine will now be in effect if a student or staff member exposed meets the following conditions:
- The school verifies the student, teacher or staff member who was exposed and the person who tested positive were both wearing a face mask as defined by the State Public Health Order on masks in schools.
- The quarantined student, teacher, or staff member has a negative COVID-19 test result (must be a PCR or antigen test, not an antibody test). The test result must be from at least 7 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive.
- The student, teacher, or staff member does not have symptoms of COVID-19.
“Being able to follow the science and use data to get kids back in schools safer and faster will really make a difference on the amount of disruption to their academic learning to their social and emotional wellbeing and the stress on teachers of tracking kids who are in-and-out and the stress on families as well.” said Dr. Sydnee Dickson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
However, if a person meets all the criteria but chooses NOT to get tested, they are still being asked to quarantine for 14 days.
“We feel like this is the best way to minimize the impact of quarantine while also ensuring the health of students, teachers and staff who are in schools.” said Hudachko.