Update from CDC and MSDH Regarding Quarantine Period for Students/Teachers

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is providing an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the recommended quarantine period for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in the school (and other) settings.  Please see the below for details from the CDC regarding the need for quarantine, the length of quarantine, and the recommendation that schools do not have a test out of quarantine policy.

The CDC official guidance is that anyone with a known exposure, considered a close contact, should quarantine at home for 14 days. CDC does not recommend that schools, students, teachers, etc. have a policy where they can test-out of quarantine. 

As a reminder, MSDH recommends a full 14 day quarantine for students/teachers/staff who are identified as close contacts to a case of COVID-19 during the infectious period (starting 48 hours prior to symptom onset).  A close contact is a person in contact with the case at less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or greater, whether a mask is worn or not.  MSDH also recommends testing after close contact, but a negative test does not negate the need for a full 14 day quarantine period.

The MSDH has made allowances that if a teacher or employee is deemed critical or essential by schools, they may continue to work during the quarantine period if they are asymptomatic, have their temperature and symptoms monitored, and wear a mask or cloth face covering the entire time at school; however, it is the preference of the MSDH that these individuals remain on home quarantine unless they are absolutely deemed essential.  This allowance does not apply to students, who must be excluded from the school setting for the entire 14 days from last exposure.