Aligning with its latest quarantine and isolation recommendations, the CDC earlier this month updated guidance for Covid-19 prevention in K-12 schools. Students, teachers and staff with Covid-19 should stay home and isolate away from others for at least five days, the guidance said. Day 0 is considered the first day of symptoms or the day of a positive viral test for people who do not have symptoms. And in New York City, public school students who test positive will get a week’s worth of at-home tests so they can know when it’s safer to return to school. People whose symptoms are improving can leave isolation after five full days if they are fever-free for 24 hours, the CDC said. They should wear masks around others for an additional five days.
Some cities and school districts are already taking aggressive action as the Omicron variant sweeps the country. The announcement comes as the number of US patients hospitalized with Covid-19 reaches record highs, with many parents wondering about their children’s safety. Public health experts have repeatedly stressed the need for expanded Covid-19 testing in schools, but it’s unclear what impact the administration’s latest effort will have given the volume of students back in the classroom. About 53 million students attended K-12 public schools in 2019, according to the US Census Bureau.According to the CDC, Covid-19 screening testing should be offered for students at least once per week when community transmission is at moderate, substantial or high levels.
Several Atlanta-area school districts are delaying in-person classes and starting 2022 with remote learning. In Washington, DC, public school students and staff must show proof of negative Covid-19 tests before returning from winter break. “Students have sacrificed so much over the course of the pandemic, and the President has been clear in his words and his actions that his Administration will do all that it can to keep schools safely open for all students,” the fact sheet said.
CNN’s Holly Yan and John Bonifield contributed to this report.
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