Schools Coronavirus Test-To-Stay Policies Have Been Endorsed By The CDC

  • Officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services adopt “test-to-stay” rules that enable close friends and family members of pupils afflicted with the coronavirus to remain in the classroom if they test negative.

After a study of a similar policy in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas indicated that COVID-19 infections did not rise while utilizing the technique, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opted to embrace the approach more firmly, which is currently implemented in many schools districts.

According to the CDC’s release on Friday, test-to-stay programs and quarantining are both viable choices for schools. To discourage children from spending long periods away from school, hundreds of schools have implemented test-to-stay rules, and many states have supported statewide test-to-stay initiatives. The CDC has stated that the strategy has potential if other precautions are taken, such as masking for both teachers and pupils.

The CDC has been working with several school districts to test the programs, and two studies have found that they are effective. When it started a program in August in Lake County, Illinois, just north of Chicago, it was first.

Close contacts were allowed to stay in school if both the ill person and the close contact were masked during an exposure, the close contact exhibited no signs, and the close contact was checked one, three, five, and seven days after the infected person was exposed.

Only 16 of the over 1,000 close contacts investigated became infected, implying a transmission rate of around 1.5 percent. Officials from the Department of Health judged it a successful strategy that allowed many pupils to remain in school.

This autumn, a study that looked at what transpired in Los Angeles County schools found similar outcomes. In schools that tested the technique, researchers recorded 7,511 close student connections, with a secondary infection rate of 0.7 percent.

Schools Coronavirus Test-To-Stay Policies Have Been Endorsed By The CDC
Schools Coronavirus Test-To-Stay Policies Have Been Endorsed By The CDC

More testing is encouraged by new CDC advice to reduce school quarantines:

At a White House briefing last Friday, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, argued that schools could reduce quarantines by requiring testing for unvaccinated close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

It’s referred to as “test to remain.”

“After a COVID-19 exposure, there is heightened testing of close contacts under the ‘test to remain’ procedure, and that testing needs to be done at least twice in seven days,” Walensky added.

The announcement builds on and improves current recommendations that some schools throughout the country have already implemented. As the omicron variety spreads across the United States, it might save tens of millions of school days for youngsters, assuming a usual 10 to a 14-day quarantine.

Walensky cited two new CDC studies that were done in Los Angeles and Lake County, Ill., as proof that “test to stay” is beneficial in decreasing COVID-19 transmission in schools with masking policies. Students and employees who have been exposed are screened and monitored for symptoms; they are only permitted to return to school if they are asymptomatic.

No days were lost in the 432 schools that used “test to remain” due to quarantine. In addition, the incidence of COVID-19 was comparable in both sets of schools. Alena Zachery-Ross is the administrator of Ypsilanti Public Schools in Michigan. She claimed she’s heard of pupils in nearby districts being quarantined many times and missing 30 days or more of school.

“Every day, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., I have nurses performing tests,” she stated. “We wanted to remove that barrier for parents, such as how do you get off work or make that CVS appointment even late at night?” Her top objective is to ensure that students have enough time to learn. However, she claims that there are certain flaws.

Because of their dread of the virus or their apprehension about the test, some of her pupils prefer to stay at home when they are infected. “Many people are apprehensive about getting examined. They have no idea what’s in the swab and are uneasy about it. So they’re no longer in school.”

And offering so much testing requires a significant investment of resources and time, both of which are in short supply in schools across the country, which are suffering record staff shortages and fatigue. If “test to stay” policies become generally adopted, this will be a big hurdle to overcome.

Schools Coronavirus Test-To-Stay Policies Have Been Endorsed By The CDC
Schools Coronavirus Test-To-Stay Policies Have Been Endorsed By The CDC

With in-school testing, children exposed to COVID can safely remain in class, according to the CDC:

According to the CDC, kids who have been exposed to the coronavirus can safely continue in-person learning if they are frequently tested for the virus at school, eliminating the inconvenience of at-home quarantines.

Two studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that “test-to-stay” programs are beneficial. This method has been tested in a few school districts around the country, but it is not generally employed.

Students who are close contacts of someone who tests positive for the virus are frequently sent home to quarantine to prevent people who may be carrying the virus from infecting others, even if they exhibit no symptoms. The CDC looked into alternative test-to-stay systems in Lake County, Illinois, and Los Angeles County, California.

“Test-to-stay is a positive public health strategy that helps our kids stay in school.” Students’ quarantines have been contentious because they disrupt learning as schools make up for months of frequently subpar distant schooling. As the number of positive cases rises, so does the number of youngsters under quarantine.

However, test-to-stay necessitates a significant investment of time and money. Furthermore, these programs need the administration of examinations by school workers, which not every school district can provide. According to Walensky, the CDC will update its resources to assist schools and parents in implementing this strategy.

She went on to say that students in both of the communities investigated wore masks, and close relatives of the individual who tested positive were watched for symptoms and warned to remain home if they were ill. Contacts who returned to school were tested at least twice in the seven days following exposure.

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