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City Schools updates quarantine and testing protocols

BALTIMORE— Today, Baltimore City Public Schools announced changes to its COVID quarantine protocol. Effective Tuesday, January 18, City Schools will reduce its required quarantine period to five days for students and staff members and institute a Test to Stay protocol. 

These changes align with recent guidance for K-12 schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Maryland Department of Health. City Schools has also reviewed these changes with the Baltimore City Health Department. A summary of these updates, along with other health and safety updates, can be found at  


After January 18, anyone who has COVID must quarantine for five days according to the following: 

  • No symptoms - Day 1 of the quarantine is the day AFTER you test positive 

  • Symptoms - Day 1 of the quarantine is the day AFTER your symptoms start 

  • You must be fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms improving to return after five days 

After January 18, anyone who is an unvaccinated close contact to someone with COVID-19 must isolate for five days unless they are participating in the Test to Stay protocols. Day one of the quarantine is the day after exposure. 


Under the Test to Stay protocol, elementary/middle school students and staff members in a positive pool test will return to their school campus to receive rapid tests on the following school day. Individuals who test negative will stay in school. 

Individuals who test positive will leave school and begin the 5-day quarantine period regardless of vaccination status. Positive individuals may return to school after the 5-day quarantine period. Unvaccinated household contacts of those who test positive must quarantine. 

Test to Stay will start in high schools at a later date.   

All students are required to participate in weekly testing at their schools. Individuals must participate in the City Schools testing program or get tested by a third party and provide the result. The Parent/Guardian Consent Form and COVID-19 Awareness Agreement are required - the fillable document is at Failure to weekly test may result in schools placing limits on student participation in extracurriculars and other school activities to mitigate health and safety risks. 

All school staff must participate in weekly school testing through January, even if they are vaccinated.