Chicago Public Schools moves to follow CDC quarantine guidelines, shortening isolation period

CDC COVID guidelines 2022: Agency said majority of transmission occurs early in course of illness
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools announced Monday they will shorten their required isolation and quarantine guidelines, following the latest federal, state and city guidance.

CPS will move from a period of 10 to five days for those staff or students who test positive for COVID-19 or are unvaccinated close contacts on Tuesday or after.

"We are implementing this shorter isolation and quarantine period in concert with all the other layers of protection at the school level, including universal masking, social distancing, and good hand hygiene," CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said. "A swift return to in-person instruction gives faculty and students the best opportunity to teach and learn - and thrive amid their school community."

A shorter isolation period is now recommended because the majority of COVID-19 transmission "occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the one to two days prior to onset of symptoms and the two to three days after," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also, the time between exposure to the virus and when symptoms occur is shorter than previously understood, especially for the omicron variant, CPS said.

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Children who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, will need to isolate and learn at home for five days rather than 10, according to CPS. If the child still has symptoms after day five, they should continue to isolate at home until day 10.

If the child no longer has symptoms after day five, the child will be free to return to school on day 6 with the following precautions in place:

- From days six - 10, students will keep their masks on at all times, including while outdoors, except when eating or drinking.

- When masks must be removed for eating and drinking, these students will maintain 6 feet of social distance from others wherever possible.

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Children who are not yet vaccinated, and who have been identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, will need to quarantine and learn at home for five days rather than 10.

Children who are fully vaccinated, and who have been identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will not have to be quarantined at all.

Students who need to isolate or quarantine will be able to participate in remote learning.

The majority of CPS students ages 12 and up (nearly 53%) are fully vaccinated, and 1 in 3 students ages 5 - 11 have received at least one vaccine dose. More than 90% of CPS staff are fully vaccinated, CPS said.

More than 55,000 people are tested per week, according to CPS.
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