Update to Shorten Quarantine and Isolation Times

Headwaters School
Overview
Headwaters School will be adopting recent CDC guidance regarding shortening quarantine and Isolation periods in certain cases. With guidance from the CDC, Austin Public Health, and review from the Health Advisory Group, we have updated the following based on APH sharing that increasingly the science is showing that the contagious window for Omicron is two days before symptoms begin and 3 days after, which allows for the shorter quarantine and isolation. 

As a reminder, isolation is for people with COVID-19. Quarantine is for unvaccinated or not-fully vaccinated people who are close contacts. We also offer Test-and-Stay for unvaccinated or not-fully vaccinated people to rapid test each morning for 7 days. 

Isolation: Students, teachers, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and have or had symptoms can end isolation after 5 full days only if
  • they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​); AND 
  • A negative rapid antigen test will be required to return on day 6, and the person must wear a KN95 mask or higher at all times except while eating and drinking while at school for days 6 through 10.
Please note, YCC students are not able to do this shorter isolation period due to the fact they are unable to consistently mask.

Quarantine: For those close contacts required to quarantine, we will be reducing quarantine from 14,10, or 7 days to just 5 days in quarantine and 5 days of continued mask wearing. As a reminder, this is for people who are not vaccinated OR not up to date with vaccine series and choose not to do Test-and-Stay. Please note, YCC students are not able to do the 5-day quarantine period due to the fact they are unable to consistently mask for the following 5 days.

For those who are currently in isolation or quarantine that this will affect, the school will be in contact with you to update your return to school date. Please continue to follow your prescribed guidance until further notice. We hope to make all those contacts by Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at the latest.

See below for more information and details.

Isolation Details

According to the CDC, “Isolation is separating people who have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 from those who are not infected or showing symptoms in order to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. People isolate when they show symptoms of COVID-19 or are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms. The following is adapted from the CDC’s Overview of COVID-19 Isolation for K-12 Schools.

Who Needs to Isolate:
People who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of vaccination status. More specifically,
  • People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested. People with symptoms should isolate themselves even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • YCC students will be required to isolate for the full 10 days due to the fact that they are not able to wear masks consistently. 
How long should a student or staff member with COVID-19 isolate?
All people with COVID-19 should undergo isolation for at least 5 full days. Day 0 is the day symptoms began or the day of the positive viral test (for people with no COVID-19 symptoms).

When can a student or staff member be around others (end isolation) after they are diagnosed with COVID-19?
Students, teachers, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms should isolate for at least 5 days. Day 0 is the day of the positive viral test (based on the date of testing) and day 1 is the first full day after the specimen was collected for the positive test.
  • If they continue to have no symptoms, they can end isolation after at least 5 days. Headwaters requires a negative rapid antigen test to return on day 6. The test must be taken on day 5 or the morning of day 6.
    •  If you test positive on day 5 or morning of 6, you should continue to isolate until you test negative.
  • Headwaters School requires the use of a KN95 in school until day 10. Outside of school, they should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If they are unable to wear a mask when around others, they should continue to isolate for 10 days, this includes YCC students.
  • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If they develop symptoms after testing positive, the 5-day isolation period should start over. Day 0 is the first day of symptoms. Follow the recommendations above for ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms.
People who have COVID-19 and have or had symptoms should isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate the 5-day isolation period, day 0 is the first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after their symptoms developed.
  • They can end isolation after 5 full days if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​).
  • They should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of their 5-day isolation period. 
  • If they are unable to wear a mask when around others, they should continue to isolate for 10 days. YCC students will be required to isolate for the full 10 days due to the fact that they are not able to wear masks consistently. 
  • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If they continue to have fever or other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, they should wait to end isolation until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their other symptoms have improved. They should continue to wear a well-fitting mask and contact their healthcare provider with questions.
  • If a person is able to return to school after a 5-day isolation period, at all times they are required to:
    • wear a KN95 or better, must be 3 or more layers and well-fitting high-filtration mask; AND 
    • Students: 3 ft minimum distance from others while indoors and masked; and for employees: 6 ft minimum distance from others while indoors and masked; AND
    • 6 ft minimum distance for unmasked breaks, lunches, snacks, etc. that take place outdoors.
Please note that these recommendations do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised). See CDC’s COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation page recommendations for when to end isolation for these groups.

Quarantine Details

What is Quarantine
Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others. People quarantine when they have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, based on their vaccination and booster status or history of prior infection in the past 90 days.

Quarantine means staying home for at least 5 days after exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. This is because someone can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 but may not show symptoms. Even though someone may not show symptoms, they can still spread the virus.

Who needs to quarantine?
Students, teachers, and staff who came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after their last close contact if they are in one of the following groups:
  • People who are ages 18 and older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.
  • People who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.
  • People who are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
  • YCC students who choose to quarantine instead of Test-and-Stay are required to quarantine for the entire 10 days because they are unable to mask consistently.
These individuals could also be eligible for Test-and-Stay that would allow them to stay in the school setting during the quarantine period. Outside the school setting, quarantine recommendations would apply.

Who does NOT need quarantine?
Students, teachers, and staff who came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and are in one of the following groups do not need to quarantine:
What should someone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 do even if they are not in quarantine?
  • Everyone should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of their last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0). 
  • They should get tested at least 5 days after their last close contact with someone with COVID-19, unless they had confirmed COVID-19 in the last 90 days and subsequently recovered. 
  • For 10 days after their last exposure to someone with COVID-19, they should watch for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Those who test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms should isolate themselves from other people and follow recommendations for isolation.
  • If a person is able to return to school after a 5-day quarantine period, at all times they are required to 
    • wear a KN95 or better, must be 3 or more layers and well-fitting high-filtration mask; AND 
    • Students: 3 ft minimum distance from others while indoors and masked; and for employees: 6 ft minimum distance from others while indoors and masked; AND
    • 6 ft minimum distance for unmasked breaks, lunches, snacks, etc. that take place outdoors.
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As a 501(c)3 non-profit school, Headwaters School does not discriminate because of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other classes protected by federal, state, or local law in its admissions, hiring, or board membership processes.