Quarantine guidelines for schools in NJ cut in half despite COVID wave

The New Jersey health department has halved recommended isolation and quarantine periods for students and school staff to five days, giving districts more flexibility as COVID closes classrooms across the state.

While the guidelines issued Monday are voluntary, they still raised concerns among some medical experts amid record numbers caused by the highly contagious ommicron strain. The department’s COVID activity reporting system currently shows all areas of New Jersey experiencing red or “very high” levels.

“The timing seems unsafe to me,” said Robin Cogan, a preschool nurse in Camden County and executive director of the New Jersey School Nurses Association. red, I can’t understand the thought behind it.”

Health officials are recommending isolation for people who are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19 and quarantine for those exposed to the virus. Previous guidelines in New Jersey called for a 10-day period.

Ms. Brown, a first grade teacher at school number 5, instructs her class and students at home simultaneously using video conferencing and smart boards in Cliffside Park, NJ on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Nearly a third of New Jersey’s school districts operated remotely last week as they faced increasing cases and staffing shortages caused by COVID. Most infected children have mild symptoms. Still, the microwave wave has sent more children to hospital in New Jersey in recent weeks than at any time in the 22 months of the pandemic.

Governor Phil Murphy declared a new public health emergency on Tuesday, extending his authority to mandate masks in schools. Murphy said Monday that students and teachers will have to wear masks for the “foreseeable future” given the “tsunami” of new COVID cases.

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