Virginia health officials release updated quarantine guidelines for children

Quarantine for teachers and kids exposed to COVID-19 in Virginia’s K-12 schools, camps or in child care facilities is no longer routinely recommended.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Thursday the decision is a result of more access to vaccines and testing, alongside low hospitalization rates.

The guidance breaks from what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. the CDC recommends those who are not vaccinated stay home for five days following an exposure. Vaccinated individuals don’t have to quarantine.



In the Virginia Department of Health’s outline of the latest guidance, anyone who shows symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should still isolate at home.

Quarantine for at least five days also is recommended for those who test positive.

Health officials say wearing a mask through day 10 after isolation will help stop the spread. For those unable or unwilling to wear a mask, VDH recommends a negative test on or after day six before returning to public settings.

Some schools may offer rapid testing on-site or provide at-home test kits.

Youngkin also said that masks are not longer routinely recommended for schools, day cares and camps. This also differs from the CDC’s recommendations.

Youngkin continued to encourage families to consider their own risk tolerance, adding: “We will continue to be vigilant about surges or new variants and any impact to our health care system. While maintaining that prudence, Virginia’s communities can, and should, continue on a path to normalcy.”

Public schools in Arlington and Fairfax counties are following the same guidelines, but families should check with their local school health officials if a child is exposed or tests positive.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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