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Schools reduce required quarantine time
Grant Swallows headshot.jpg
Swallows

Warren County Schools is changing its quarantine requirement to match state and federal health guidelines. 

“The Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control last week updated their guidance as related to the number of days someone has to be in quarantine for a close contact,” said Director of Schools Grant Swallows. “Prior to that, isolation was 10 days and quarantine was 14 days. They have updated their recommendation and guidance that both of those be 10 days.”

Isolation means a person has a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, while quarantine means a person has been in close contact (within six feet) of an infected person. 

Said Swallows, “One of the questions I’d get before would be: if you are a positive case, you only have to be out for 10 days. If you are healthy and been exposed, why do you have to be out 14 days? We understand that the medical community says that’s the incubation period for the virus. As they learn more, they are updating their guidance. We will be moving to that recommendation.”

Quarantine ends after 10 days without symptoms and without testing. However, individuals can shave a couple days off their stay at home by obtaining a negative test result after seven days. 

“There will be a caveat, a first when it comes to stipulations,” said Swallows. “If a person tests negative for the virus after seven days in quarantine, then they would be allowed to return to normal activities. We’ve never had a negative test stipulation in there. We are trying to communicate that to our families.”

The update was given to members of the county Education Committee on Monday. 

“Currently we have 46 students isolated. Again, understand that isolated means a positive test,” said Swallows. “We have 24 staff that are isolated. For students, that’s about .7% of our student population. It’s 1.8% of our staff population. We have 482 students who are in quarantine, which is about 7.9%. We have 30 staff that’s quarantined which is 2.2% of the population.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines Dec. 2.