Less Quarantine For Teachers, Students Under New State Guidance

Feb 3, 2021

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says data suggests spread of COVID-19 is rare in classrooms when everyone is wearing a mask.
Credit Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Most teachers and students won’t have to quarantine anymore after a positive COVID-19 case in the classroom. That’s according to new guidance from the Indiana Department of Health.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said data suggests spread of the virus is rare in classrooms when everyone is wearing a mask.

“We will no longer require quarantine or contact tracing if the students and teachers remain at least three feet apart and are wearing a mask at all times, in just the classroom,” Box said.

Box emphasized the new guidance only applies to the classroom.

“It does not apply to lunch, athletics, band, orchestra, choir or any other school setting where students may gather,” Box said.

Box said the new guidance takes effect Monday.

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Those who will still need to quarantine will be able to follow the updated guidance issued in December. Ideally, Box said, close contacts will quarantine for 14 days. However, if they show no symptoms, it can be 10 days.

And if a close contact with no symptoms gets a COVID-19 test on day five, six or seven of quarantine – and the result is negative – they can end their quarantine.

Getting that test may be made easier as the state will soon send rapid COVID-19 tests to schools across the state. The state will begin shipping the rapid antigen tests to schools next week, with an initial supply of 120 tests per school.

The state will also soon send more than 1 million KN-95 masks to Hoosier schools, enough for 10 masks each for teachers, administrators and staff.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.