CDC Reduces Recommended Quarantine Period Following “Close Contact” Exposures to Individuals with COVID-19 – What Private Schools Need to Know

CATEGORY: Special Bulletins
CLIENT TYPE: Private Education
PUBLICATION: LCW Special Bulletin
DATE: Dec 03, 2020

On December 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued updated guidance concerning the recommended quarantine period for individuals following a “close contact” exposure to someone with COVID-19. The guidance reduces the recommended quarantine period from 14 days to either 10 days or seven days, depending on whether the individual tested negative for COVID-19 during the quarantine period.

The CDC guidance provides that the quarantine may end after the tenth day, so long as the individual did not present any symptoms associated with COVID-19 during the quarantine period. Additionally, the CDC provides that the quarantine may end after the seventh day if the individual was tested for COVID-19 no earlier than the fifth day following close contact exposure, the test produced a negative result, and the individual did not present any symptoms associated with COVID-19 during the quarantine period. Under both circumstances, the CDC provides that the individual must continue monitoring for symptoms associated with COVID-19 and wear a face covering through the standard 14 day quarantine period.

Despite the fact that the CDC revised downward its recommended quarantine period following a close contact exposure, state public health authorities, including the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”), have not yet provided comparable guidance. The CDPH guidance currently provides that “workers should quarantine as home 14 days after the last know close contact with the case patient.” The CDPH “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year” also requires a 14 day quarantine following a School employee or student’s close contact exposure.

Unless the CDPH revises its guidance to align with the CDC guidance, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore recommends that schools continue to adhere to the CDPH guidance and require that employees with close contact exposures observe the full 14 day quarantine period. Furthermore, local health orders may also require that individuals with close contact exposure quarantine for 14 days. As always, schools should follow the most restrictive requirements applicable in the school’s jurisdiction.

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore attorneys are available to assist schools that have any questions about the new CDC recommendations.