Michigan health officials issue new guidelines for schools amid COVID-19 surge

MDHHS continues to recommend universal masking in all K-12 school settings.
MDHHS issues new guidelines for schools amid COVID-19 surge
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 8:13 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued updated guidelines to help K-12 schools maintain in-person learning. The guidelines outline mitigation strategies when students are exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 in a school setting.

“When layered prevention strategies such as vaccination, masking, distancing, testing, isolation, and quarantine are applied consistently, school-associated transmission of COVID-19 is significantly reduced,” MDHHS said in the release.

MDHHS is recommending local health departments and school districts work together to quickly isolate COVID-19 cases among students and staff, identify close contacts of said cases, and implement quarantine policies that decrease the risk of transmission in schools while allowing in-person learning.

Quarantine and isolation are determined by the local health department and are important tools for preventing the spread of disease.

MDHHS recommends:

  • You isolate when you are already infected with COVID-19 and have tested positive, even if you do not have symptoms. Isolation is used to separate people who are infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.
  • You quarantine when you might have been exposed to COVID-19. This is because you might become infected with COVID-19 and could spread it to others.

Any individual that shows COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status, should isolate and be tested for COVID-19. Individuals can return from isolation as directed by the local health department.

COVID-19 School Quarantine Guidelines for Asymptomatic Students

MDHHS said these guidelines apply only to exposures that occur in a school setting. Students that are in close contact with a COVID-19 case in their household or in the community should quarantine at home.

  • Fully vaccinated contacts without symptoms do not need to quarantine.
  • Contacts that are not fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms:
    • If masking was maintained, contacts can participate in school activities if wearing a mask for 14 days after exposure and using a “Test to Stay” strategy.
    • If masking was not maintained, contacts may participate in school activities at the discretion of the local health department, if additional testing and mitigation strategies are used.

The Test to Stay strategy is a suggested approach of testing every other day for 7 days following exposure.

“When evidence-based prevention measures are utilized, such as vaccination and masking, students exposed to COVID-19 cases may not have to quarantine at home and can stay in the classroom,” MDHHS said.

MDHHS is providing schools with antigen testing supplies for free through the MI Safe Schools Testing program.

Community testing locations are also available.

  • Free community-based pop-up rapid antigen testing can be found HERE.
  • COVID-19 testing locations can be found HERE.
Additional resources
Updated MDHHS guidelines for K-12 schools
Updated MDHHS guidelines for K-12 schools(Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS))

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