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CDC Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Exposure to Align Non-Vaccinated with Vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now advises people who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to follow the same exposure protocols as have been in place for those who are up to date with their vaccinations.

CDC announced the updated guidance on Thursday, as the new school year is underway in some states and soon to be in others.

While it continues to promote the importance of people being current on their vaccinations, CDC is now recommending that non-vaccinated people to wear a “high-quality mask” for 10 consecutive days and to get tested on day five. They no longer must quarantine.

If a non-vaccinated person tests positive or feels sick but has yet to receive their test results, CDC said only then should they quarantine themselves. A positive test result should result in the person staying home for at least five days and isolating themselves from others. They should also wear a mask when they must be around others at home or in public through day 10.

“You are most likely most infectious during these first five days,” CDC stated.

Isolation should end with a negative test. CDC cautioned people to still avoid being around others who are likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 until at least day 11 after being exposed.

Other CDC recommendations included:

  • Isolation through day 10 if the person had a moderate illness, including shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, severe illness requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19, or have a weakened immune system.
  • Consulting a doctor before ending isolation if they have a severe illness or a weakened immune system.
  • Resetting isolation to day zero if their COVID-19 symptoms worsen and notifying their healthcare provider with questions about symptoms or when to end isolation.
  • Recommending screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures will no longer be recommended in most community settings.
  • Emphasizing that physical distance is just one component of how to protect yourself and others. It is important to consider the risk in a particular setting, including local COVID-19 Community Levels and the important role of ventilation, when assessing the need to maintain physical distance.

“This latest guidance from the CDC should give our students, parents and educators the confidence they need to head back to school this year with a sense of joy and optimism,” commented U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a statement. “While COVID continues to evolve, so has our understanding of the science and what it takes to return to school safely. Thanks to vaccines, boosters, new treatments, and commonsense safety precautions — as well as funding from the American Rescue Plan — our schools have more resources than ever before to provide the healthy learning environments our students need to grow and thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.”

Related: (STN Podcast E104) School Bus Heroes: Calif. District & Community Fights Fires and COVID-19
Related: Legal Outlook: School Bus Operator Compliance with COVID-19 Vaccine Regulations
Related: CDC No Longer Requires Face Masks On School Buses

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