VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — When Virginia students and staff return to the classroom this fall, they'll be returning to a different set of COVID-19 protocols.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a big change to COVID-19 quarantine guidance in the Commonwealth, eliminating the need to quarantine following exposure to COVID-19 as long as that person exposed remains asymptomatic.
This change, which was announced Thursday, applies to those between kindergarten and 12th grades, as well as daycare and camp settings. An exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for at least 15 minutes or longer.
“I do believe children should still have the same protections others have, going into a grocery store, department store or anything," Maureen Blunt said, a grandmother with four grandkids across Hampton Roads school divisions.
This revised guidance varies slightly from guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to whom it applies. Virginia's new quarantine guidance applies regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC recommends that those who are fully vaccinated and up to date with all available doses for their demographic do not need to quarantine if they've been exposed. However, for those who are not up to date with all available vaccine doses, it's recommended those people should quarantine for five days following exposure.
In a statement, Gov. Youngkin said the following:
“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. 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.”
Gov. Youngkin added that when dealing with a potential COVID outbreak, local epidemiologists can suggest more traditional quarantine and isolation guidelines.