Many contacts of Anne Arundel students testing positive for COVID-19 won’t have to quarantine

Maryland’s Anne Arundel County Board of Education recently voted to get rid of the quarantine requirements for asymptomatic students who had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday night, the board held a workshop to go into detail about when the change applies.

“Household close contacts will still have to quarantine,” said Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto.

He said students who have close contacts in childcare and before and after care settings will have to quarantine. That’s in addition to anyone told by someone outside of schools that they have to quarantine.

“Those identified by the Department of Health or another external entity, say maybe a doctor’s office that you went in to get tested will also have to quarantine,” Arlotto said.

The new policy, which starts in the new year, means that if students without symptoms don’t fall under an exception from contacts outside of school, regardless of vaccination status, they will not have to quarantine or show proof of a negative test to stay in school.

What happens if a lot of students test positive?

“Those students that are identified as part of an outbreak will also have to quarantine because outbreaks are determined by the Department of Health, not AACPS,” Arlotto said.

Some jurisdictions are starting test-to-stay programs. Under the test-to-stay guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students deemed close contacts of other students who have tested positive for the coronavirus can continue in-person classes if they continue to test negative. The policy aims to prevent excessive quarantine times for students deemed close contacts.

Arlotto said test-to-stay is not realistic for Anne Arundel Public Schools.

“That’s not something that the school nurses can take on in their roles. And so we would have to find personnel. And as you well know, we’re challenged right now across the board and finding personnel in a number of different positions.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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