The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has issued new guidance for students and school staff who are directly exposed to COVID-19. (Click here for a chart that summarizes the new guidance.) The guidance is part of the agency’s goal to combat the spread of COVID while keeping students in class.
According to the NYSDOH:
- Fully vaccinated students and staff—who show no symptoms—may attend class and ride the bus, regardless of booster status.
- Individuals 12 years old and older must be “boosted” (if eligible) to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports—if they were exposed to a positive COVID-19 case.
- Children 5-11 are not eligible for boosters and have no restrictions.
- All exposed students and staff must continue following a five-day quarantine at home—if not fully vaccinated and boosted.
- A person is “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the receipt of either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
- A person becomes eligible for a booster:
- Five months after completing the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series.
- Two months after the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the Pfizer booster for 12-17 year-olds and the Pfizer or Moderna booster for anyone 18 years old and older.
- Children 5-11 years old are not eligible for a booster at this time.
Close contact and the unvaccinated
Unvaccinated students or staff members who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for at least five days (day 0 is the date of exposure) after their last close contact. Students and staff members can “test to stay,” which would allow them to stay in school provided they don’t test positive or show symptoms.
Students or staff members who test positive and never develop symptoms must quarantine for five days starting the day after the positive test date. They can return to school on the sixth day, but must wear a well-fitting mask that fits snuggly against the face with no gaps for days six through 10. Also, students or staff members who test positive and develop symptoms must quarantine for at least five days starting the day after the positive test date or onset of symptoms, whichever is first. Individuals can return to school on the sixth day if symptoms have improved and they have no fever (for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication). Again, they must also wear a well-fitting mask that fits snuggly against the face with no gaps for days six through 10.