New: As of January 18, COVID quarantine/isolation lasts at least five days.* (Previously, the period was at least ten days.) This change is based on the most up-to-date guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities.
*Exception: If you or your child cannot wear a mask routinely during the school day or keep physical distance because of a medical condition or other reason, the quarantine/isolation period will generally continue to be ten days. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Students or staff members who tested positive for COVID can return to school on Day 6 if they
Otherwise, for students and staff who had symptoms, they must continue to isolate until symptoms are improving and there has been no fever, vomiting, or diarrhea for 24 hours.
Exception: Anyone who tests positive but is unable to wear a face mask consistently (e.g., because of a medical condition) must isolate for ten days, even if they have no symptoms or their symptoms improve before the ten days are up.
Unvaccinated household members of a COVID-positive person can return to school on Day 6 if they had no symptoms over the five-day quarantine period and the COVID-positive person was able to isolate from others in the household.
Unvaccinated close contacts can return to school on Day 6 if they had no symptoms over the five-day quarantine period. Masking is required between days 6-10.
Browse below to find more detail about changes to quarantine requirements for staff and students who have COVID and unvaccinated contacts who may be infected. Can’t find the answer to your specific question? Email email@example.com.
Yes. The Maryland Department of Health recently shared new guidance on modified quarantine policies for schools. City Schools takes many steps that minimize the spread of infection and align with the state’s updated guidance. This includes widespread use of rapid antigen tests and PCR tests, along with masking, air filtration, vaccine requirements for staff, and vaccine availability for students age 5 and up.
Reducing the length of isolation and quarantine means students and staff can miss fewer days of school and focus on teaching and learning.
Isolation separates a person with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. This means that anyone who tests positive for COVID should have no contact with other people for at least five days, including members of their own household. (Parents/guardians of children who are too young to be left alone and unsupervised for long periods should take reasonable steps to minimize contact—for example, by limiting interaction to one adult family member, wearing masks at home, and opening windows when feasible.)
Quarantine separates people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. This means that close contacts of someone who tests positive must stay home, but they can have limited contact with other members of their household.
If your elementary or elementary/middle school child is a part of a positive pool or if your child tests positive on an individual rapid test, your school will notify you of the test result. If your middle, middle/high, or high school student tests positive, your school will notify you or you can check for your student’s test results online by following these directions. City Schools' contact-tracing team will also contact you about any household close contacts who need to quarantine and let you know when your child can return to school.
If your child is identified as a close contact of someone in school was has COVID, the contact-tracing team or a staff member at your child’s school will contact you. If you have agreed to in-school testing on the consent form, your child can take a rapid antigen test at school. If the test is positive, your school will contact you with the results and information about the isolation requirements. (If the test is negative, your child can remain in school.)
Not necessarily. A person who tests positive for COVID can return to school on Day 6 if they have no symptoms or if symptoms are improving. According to the Baltimore City Department of Health, this means that the person
If the COVID-positive person has any of these symptoms and they are not getting better on Day 5 of isolation, they should remain home until 24 hours after they begin to improve.
(Note that if symptoms included loss of taste or smell, this may be ongoing but is not a reason to be excluded from returning to school.)
The Baltimore City Health Department manages contact tracing and other aspects of COVID cases outside of school. If you or your child has close contact outside of school with someone who tests positive for COVID, then the Health Department’s quarantine requirements must be followed. If you are contacted by the Health Department and asked to quarantine, please make sure to notify your school.
If students have symptoms and test positive for COVID, they are marked with an excused absence during the isolation period and any additional days they need to recover. If they do not have symptoms or feel better before the minimum five days of isolation have passed, then they can participate in remote learning and be marked present for those days.
Attendance for unvaccinated students who are close contacts of someone with COVID depends on the circumstances:
Participating in City Schools’ in-school testing program means that unvaccinated students can avoid missing school or being marked with unexcused absences. Parents/guardians can consent to testing by completing and returning the form below.
Download the consent form to your school: English | Spanish
Please send a note from your doctor to your school. If your child is not feeling well enough to do remote schoolwork, they will be marked with an excused absence. If your child is well enough for remote learning during the extended quarantine, they will be marked present.