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Youngkin changes COVID exposure quarantine recommendations for K-12 students

Virginia's governor issued new guidance on when K-12 students should quarantine after a COVID exposure depending on whether they have symptoms.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's governor has issued revised COVID policies pertaining to school settings, child care and camps when it comes to quarantining after an exposure.

Glenn Youngkin campaigned on a promise of returning decision-making power to parents when it came to settings. In his newly released COVID quarantine guidance, he says he is taking a step toward that. 

“From the first days of my administration, I have supported parents in making informed decisions for their own families, whom they love and know best,” Youngkin wrote in a press release. “As Virginians continue to return to the office and social settings, the pandemic is disrupting workplaces and family life when entire child care facilities, camps and classrooms shutter in response to as few as two cases." 

Here's how COVID exposures should be treated, depending on whether the person is asymptomatic or not, based on the new guidance, which can be read in full here:

Symptomatic

  • Isolate at home, undergo testing as recommended by doctors (the day symptoms begin is day 0)
  • If they test positive, isolate for at least 5 days and wear a mask through day 10 if masking is possible for that student 
  • Students testing positive can return to school on day 6 if they are asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving and they have been fever-free for 24 hours

Asymptomatic 

  • Quarantine not recommended
  • Can consider wearing a mask around others indoors for 10 days, but not required

"Today marks a shift in my administration’s recommendations to optional quarantine for exposure to COVID-19 in child care and school settings as the severity of the disease decreases," Youngkin said.

The governor's guidance also recommended that masks indoors or outdoors in school, child care or camp settings for those not experiencing any COVID symptoms. 

"Any individual who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, may do so as an option," the guidance reads. "Masking is never recommended in these settings while the individual is eating, drinking, sleeping, or for children under the age of 2." 

Virginia is tracking all COVID cases reported in children ages 0-17 here. Over the last two weeks, 7,455 cases have been reported, with 35 hospital admissions and one death. 

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