As you know the Minnesota Department of Health has allowed us to adopt changes to our quarantine and isolation guidelines based on new recommendations from the CDC. Our COVID-19 Mitigation Team has carefully reviewed these guidelines and has made adjustments to our current quarantine practices for staff and students and isolation practices for Hopkins staff.
Because we are in the midst of an Omicron surge causing a high number of COVID-19 cases and because our vaccination rates among our students are not as high as for those of our staff, our isolation protocols are different for staff and students. These protocols apply to school, athletics and after-school activities.
At this time, we are going to continue to adhere to a 10-day protocol for scholars who are:
- COVID-19 positive
- Unvaccinated and live in a household with a confirmed positive.
Effective Tuesday, January 18, we will be moving to a five-day protocol for quarantine for K-12 scholars who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. This means close contacts who are unvaccinated will quarantine for 5-days instead of the previous 10-day protocol, assuming they are symptom free (this does not include household contacts). Our data shows that our masking and mitigation protocols are effective, which is the key reason for us moving forward with this recommendation. K-12 scholars who were quarantining due to a close contact in school or in the community January 18 or prior, may now shorten their 10-day quarantine to 5 days.
- Early Childhood families can expect a follow up communication regarding a consistent 10-day quarantine protocol.
Hopkins staff who are COVID-19 positive and who exhibit no symptoms or whose symptoms have improved on day 5 have the option of returning to work or continuing with a 10-day protocol depending on their unique circumstances.
There is no quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated scholars who were in close contact with a positive case as long as they remain symptom free. As a reminder, testing after any exposure is still recommended regardless of vaccination status or symptoms. Testing 3-5 days after exposure is best.
We will continue to monitor our data, community spread, and the Omicron surge and will continue to recommend adjustments to our mitigation protocols that reflect the needs of our schools. You may review our updated district protocol here.
In summary, these are the main takeaways from our new protocol:
- Scholars who are COVID-19 positive still need to isolate for 10 days.
- Non-household close contacts who are unvaccinated or who are partially vaccinated can reduce their quarantine from 10 days to 5 days. However, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated household contacts need to quarantine for 10 days.
- Fully vaccinated scholars who are exposed do not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms - this includes household contacts who are positive.
- Testing after any exposure is strongly recommended regardless of vaccination status or symptoms.
- Testing 3-5 days after exposure is best.
Thanks again for your partnership during the last two years of this long pandemic. As a reminder, please continue to report positive cases, even if school is not in session or is in an online learning model. This helps our nursing staff tremendously!
With gratitude and appreciation,
- Hopkins COVID-19 Management Team