RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia is no longer recommending quarantine for asymptomatic children, teachers and staff exposed to COVID-19 in schools, child care and day camp settings.
The Virginia Department of Health’s revised quarantine rules for early childhood education settings were announced Friday by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
“As Virginians continue to return to the office and social settings, the pandemic is disrupting workplaces and family life when entire child care facilities, camps and classrooms shutter in response to as few as two cases,” Gov. Youngkin said in a statement.
The new guidance from VDH said “quarantine is no longer routinely recommended” and that those exposed to the virus can still attend school or other early childhood education settings as long as they don’t have symptoms.
According to VDH, a person is exposed if they have been within six feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more over a day, or if they have direct contact with the person’s “respiratory secretions.” Students and staff could wear a mask around others while indoors for 10 days but they are not required to.
“Today marks a shift in my administration’s recommendations to optional quarantine for exposure to COVID-19 in child care and school settings as the severity of the disease decreases,” Youngkin added.
On Thursday, the commonwealth reported a little more than 3,200 new COVID-19 cases. After rising through April and into May, VDH data shows that cases in Virginia have hovered in the same range since late May.
There have been 489 outbreaks at K-12 schools in the past 13 weeks, according to VDH, but no deaths have been reported.
Schools or facilities with an outbreak that has been difficult to control or “unusual in size or scope” can have regional or local epidemiologists recommend traditional isolation and quarantine standards until the outbreak is “stabilized,” VDH’s new rules said.