Effective Monday, Jan. 10, WJCC Schools will follow the CDC (English | Spanish) and Virginia Department of Health’s recently-released and updated guidance on isolation and quarantine. The Division recognizes these guidelines as a minimum baseline. We encourage families to continue implementing layered mitigation strategies when out in the community, like wearing a mask, distancing to the greatest extent possible, regularly washing hands and sanitizing high-touch surfaces.
What do the revised guidelines mean for students and staff?
Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.
Isolate for 5 days. Day 0 for someone experiencing symptoms is the first day they experienced symptoms. Day 0 for someone who is asymptomatic is the date of their positive test.
An individual is eligible to return to school on Day 6 if they have not experienced any symptoms over the previous 24 hours or symptoms are improving AND if they can wear a mask effectively. As a reminder, symptoms include:
Temperature of 100º F or greater
Cough (new issue; more than just occasional or asthma related)
Shortness of breath (new issue, not a diagnosed medical issue)
Not feeling well; shaking/chills; feeling feverish; extreme fatigue
Headache (not just occasional; not a diagnosed medical condition; if accompanied with other symptoms no entry should be considered)
New loss of taste or smell
New-onset sore throat
New congestion or runny nose
Muscle pain all over body (new issue, not a diagnosed medical issue)
Vomiting within the last 24 hours
Diarrhea today or within the last 24 hours (new issue, not a diagnosed medical issue)
Quarantine is for individuals identified as close contacts of COVID-positive cases.
When possible, any individual exposed to a COVID-positive case should test five days after exposure. Quarantine may be shortened or eliminated, depending on an individual’s specific circumstances. Our school nurses will continue to support families in determining the proper quarantine length for their circumstances.
Additional isolation and quarantine information:
Students participating in athletics or conditioning may not participate in these activities during the 10 days following the onset of symptoms (isolation period) or 10 days following their last close contact exposure (if they are unvaccinated or have not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days) due to their inability to wear a mask effectively during play.
In some instances, household contacts may need to quarantine or isolate for a period longer than five days. Division staff will continue to work with families to identify the appropriate quarantine or isolation length.
If a student or staff member has already been given a return to school/work date, it may now be reduced by five days by simply counting back five days on the calendar. For example, if a student was previously eligible to return to school on Thursday, Jan. 13, their quarantine/isolation would now end on Saturday, Jan. 8. That student is now eligible to return to school on Monday, Jan. 10.
The guidance for early childhood programs has not yet changed and will continue as it has since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
While we know that in-person instruction is best for our students, and we continue to be committed to keeping our schools open five days a week, we also understand the concern as COVID-19 cases surge in our area and across the nation. As a reminder, state law no longer allows us to move to virtual instruction as a school division. We are limited to making those decisions on a school-by-school or classroom-by-classroom basis. That said, our focus continues to be on keeping schools open and keeping our students and staff as safe as possible while they are in our buildings.
As we continue to learn about the transmissibility of COVID-19, we will rely on the CDC, VDH, and our Health Advisory Team to guide us in protecting the health and safety of our community. Thank you for your support in keeping our community healthy.
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