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CDC Changes COVID-19 Guidance for K-12, Early Childhood Education, and Camps

On August 11, the CDC significantly updated its COVID-19 guidance for schools and childcare centers. It has not fully updated its guidance for camping programs, but its camping page notes that directors should follow the guidance for K-12 and Early Care programs.

The CDC continues to encourage vaccinations, good ventilation, hand washing, and cleaning.  It no longer recommends that organizations keep children in cohorts.  The CDC continues to recommend universal indoor masking in areas of high COVID-19 Community Levels, but has dropped the recommendation for lower levels.  It sill recommends masking for children with known or suspected exposure to COVID-19.

The CDC has dropped the recommendation for routine screening of children.  It does still recommendation that groups "consider" screening students in areas of high Community Levels or high-risk activities such as close contact extracurricular activities and key school events.

The CDC also is in the process of changing its quarantine and isolation guidance, although its calculator currently is under review.  Generally, the CDC recommends isolation and quarantine only for people who develop COVID-19, and no longer requires testing to determine when to end the isolation. Instead, organizations can end isolation 5 days after symptoms improve and the person has no fever.  The CDC still recommends masking for 10 days after isolation ends for people who contract COVID.

This guidance should mean the end of requirements that, when one child in a classroom tests positive for COVID, the entire classroom must quarantine.  Youth organizations may make that decision, but CDC guidance no longer recommends it.  Rather, "K-12 and ECE administrators can decide how to manage exposures based not the local context and benefits of preserving access to in-person learning."

It may take a while for state agencies and affinity groups to update their guidance.  For now, however, CDC guidelines are focusing on actual outbreaks rather than hypothetical possibilities.

Changes as of August 11 include: Removed the recommendation to cohort Changed recommendation to conduct screening testing to focus on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak Removed the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk congregate settings Removed information about Test to Stay Added detailed information on when to wear a mask, managing cases and exposures, and responding to outbreaks

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youth services law, ausburn_deborah, coronavirus, insights