RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Quarantining after exposure to COVID-19 is no longer recommended for unvaccinated, asymptomatic children in child care, K-12 schools and camp settings, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced this week.
The guidance announced Thursday evening by the Republican governor’s office also said masking is no longer routinely recommended in those settings, except in limited circumstances. The latest guidance says people who test positive still should isolate at home, regardless of vaccination status, and those who have symptoms should begin isolation and undergo testing.
Youngkin said the guidance, which is a departure from federal recommendations, is aimed at easing the strain on work and family life many parents of young children have experienced as care and school settings have closed for quarantine periods in response to small numbers of cases.
“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. 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,” he said in a statement.
The Virginia Department of Health had previously relaxed its guidance on isolation and quarantine in mid-June. The guidance at that time said people exposed to COVID-19 would not be recommended to quarantine if they had tested positive for and recovered from the virus within the past six months, were up-to-date on vaccines, or both. That guidance also varied slightly from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
The CDC encourages unvaccinated people who are exposed to quarantine for at least five days. It says no quarantine is needed if a person is up-to-date on vaccines or has recovered within the past 90 days.
The CDC also recommends universal indoor masking in communities where it says COVID-19 spread is high.
U.S. regulators authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers in June.
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