New COVID protocols for pre-K-12 RI students, staff begin Monday

Coronavirus

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 may not have to quarantine as long, according to new guidance from the R.I. Department of Health.

In response to the surge in cases and updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Department updated its recommendations for preventing the virus in Pre-K through 12 schools.

Starting Monday, vaccinated Pre-K through 12 students and staff who are close contacts of someone that tested positive for the virus no longer have to get a negative test result to end quarantine if they do not have symptoms.

The state’s test-to-stay concept will now shift to a new monitor-to stay-protocol.

Students and staff not vaccinated will still need to quarantine while outside of school, but can still attend class.

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Students and staff who either have, or develop, symptoms should isolate at home, contact a healthcare provider, and get tested.

For students and staff who do test positive, the Health Department now recommends shortening isolation and quarantine to five days, with a return on day six if experiencing no symptoms or improving symptoms and no fever for 24 hours.

These students and staff should still wear a well-fitting mask for an additional five days at school, at home, and with others.

Not all schools are adopting the new guidance just yet. Warwick school leaders sent a letter to parents saying they plan on waiting until next Monday to implement the new rules.

They are choosing to wait because they said they hadn’t received a new playbook from the state with guidance in writing, which is what they use to develop district protocols. The letter said there were still some questions regarding how the new rules would be implemented.

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