EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

What parents need to know about updated school quarantine policies

Aug 9, 2021, 8:18 AM | Updated: 8:19 am

utah student achievement COVID-19...

FILE: SLC school district reports mask exemption numbers for students. Kindergartner Isaac Nshuti wears a mask as he does an assignment at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — For many children across the Salt Lake Valley, the return to school is just a week away, and most districts now have updated quarantine policies for COVID-19. 

Because no vaccine was available this time a year ago, exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 meant a child needed to quarantine and stay home from school. But now, your child can stay in school — if one of four things happen: 

  1. Your child is fully vaccinated, meaning it’s been at least two weeks since the final dose 
  2. Both your child and the child or adult with the confirmed case of COVID-19 wore masks 
  3. Your child wore an N95 mask at the time of exposure 
  4. The child who was exposed already had COVID-19 (and recovered) in the past 90 days 

The new school quarantine guidelines

If none of those conditions apply, your child will need to quarantine before returning to school, according to Salt Lake County Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp. 

However, he added: “Whether you quarantine for ten days or wear a mask for ten days, on day seven, you’re able to get tested, and if you test negative and don’t have symptoms, you can return to school or no longer wear the mask in school.” 

Schools may still require COVID-19 testing if a school reaches a certain threshold of infection, Rupp said. Regular testing will also be available. 

“Four of the five public school districts in Salt Lake County are going to offer testing a couple of times a week to students who wish to be tested,” he said. 

According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, only 44% of students over the age of 12 are vaccinated against COVID-19 in the area.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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What parents need to know about updated school quarantine policies