Fairfax Co. schools update student COVID isolation policy

Virginia’s largest school system has updated its isolation guidance for students who test positive for the coronavirus.

In a message to families Wednesday, Fairfax County Public Schools said that starting May 1, students who test positive can return to in-person classes, activities and sporting events after at least five days of isolation. Previously, 10 days of isolation were required.

Students who leave isolation after five days can return to school if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without taking medication, if symptoms have improved or resolved, and if the student wears a well-fitted mask for five additional days.

The changes put the county’s guidelines in alignment with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students who can’t wear a mask around others will be required to finish 10 days of isolation at home.

The school system said the decision was made because of the county’s vaccination rates and recommendations from both the CDC and the Fairfax County Health Department.

Fairfax County is the latest jurisdiction to update its COVID-19 protocols.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County Public Schools said that beginning May 2, anyone who comes into close contact with a positive case will not be identified or individually notified. Instead, messages will be sent at the classroom, grade or school level.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report. 

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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