South Orange-Maplewood School District Shortens Isolation/Quarantine to 5 Days

by The Village Green
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From the South Orange-Maplewood School District:

As a follow-up to our January 7th “Back to In-Person Learning & COVID Update” communication [] it was reported that we were waiting for NJDOH and our local Departments of Health (DOH) to review and update their guidance based on the most recent CDC guidance announced on January 6 for shortening the recommended time for Isolation and Quarantine.

As of yesterday, the NJDOH announced that it is now applying the shortened “5-day” Isolation & Quarantine timeframes for K-12 schools.  While further NJDOH school-specific guidance is still forthcoming, in collaboration and with the guidance of our local departments of health, the District will now adopt this new “5-day” guidance for isolation (for laboratory confirmed positive cases) as well as a 5-day quarantine (for close contacts of  positive cases) effective as of Monday, January 10.

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What this means for students/staff:

    • Isolation :  Students/staff members who test positive via laboratory PCR or rapid test must isolate for 5 full-days (day zero is the date of the positive lab test or date of symptom onset whichever is first)  This pertains to anyone who tests COVID-positive with a LABORATORY CONFIRMED PCR OR RAPID ANTIGEN test  (vaccinated and unvaccinated).

Quarantine:  UNVACCINATED students/staff, close contact quarantine is now 5 full days from the last date of exposure (day zero).

    • Important Note:  **If an individual has symptoms during the 5 full-days quarantine, please get a laboratory PCR or rapid test and stay home until the result is received.  If positive, email the principal and follow isolation guidelines.

What this means for staff/students who are currently in isolation or quarantine:

If staff or students are currently: a] isolated for 10 days (because they tested laboratory positive) or b] quarantined for 7-10 days (because they were a close contact) under the former guidance, they may return to school if:

  • COVID-positive individuals have completed a full five-day isolation (Day zero is date of test or date of symptoms, whichever is first) and are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines AND symptoms have improved.
    • **If you are an asymptomatic positive COVID case, but you developed symptoms within that 7-day period, the five-day isolation restarts on the date of symptom onset.
  • Close Contacts of positive individuals have completed a full five-day quarantine (Day zero is the last day of exposure to the positive case) and are asymptomatic.

Staff should contact their principal or supervisor.  Students, parents/guardians should contact their principal and school nurse.

As usual, we are remaining vigilant and continue to work in collaboration with our local health departments and health professionals to monitor trends of cases in our district and community and (if necessary) we will make adjustments on a case by case basis. Please visit our District’s COVID-19 Testing/Vaccination page for updated information on testing and vaccination locations –

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