Colorado shortens COVID-19 isolation period for school staff, students

Colorado’s health department has shortened the length of time teachers, students and other school employees should isolate if they have COVID-19 to mirror the new guidelines released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with mild symptoms of COVID-19 can stop isolating after five days if they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication and if other symptoms improve, according to the guidance released by the state Department of Public Health and Environment on Friday.

When people end their isolation after five days, they should wear a mask around others at home and in public for another five days. Those who cannot wear a mask should isolate for a full 10 days, even if they have no symptoms, according to the agency.

The new guidelines for schools comes after the CDC reduced isolation restrictions from 10 to five days in late December.

Colorado’s health agency also updated school quarantine guidelines for people exposed to someone with the coronavirus, saying that students, teachers and other staff do not need to quarantine if they  are in one of the following groups:

  • People who are 18 and older and have received all doses of their COVID-19 vaccine regimen, including their booster.
  • Children between the ages of five and 17 and have received their main series of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • People who had a confirmed positive COVID-19 viral test within the past 90 days.

School employees who have not yet received their booster shot may return to work after exposure until Feb. 1, if they test negative and wear a mask for 10 days after exposure. But after that data, they will have to have their booster in order to forgo quarantine, according to the news release.

People who do need to quarantine for at least five days are:

  • A person is 18 or older and has received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s shot,  but has not yet received their booster dose.
  • People who are not fully immunized or are unvaccinated

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