DHHS has updated guidance based on CDC requirements. This guidance changes how long and under what conditions staff and students need to be excluded from school because they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19 (isolation and quarantine).
1. Staff and students who have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status should – get tested and isolate from others while waiting for a result. If testing is not possible, follow the guidance below as if the person is positive.
2. Isolation: Staff and students who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, and
Do not have symptoms – should isolate from others for 5 days, then wear a mask for 5 additional days.
Have symptoms – should isolate from others until fever-free and symptoms are improving. Individuals should isolate for at least 5 days since symptoms began and then wear a mask for 5 additional days.
3. Quarantine: Staff and students who are exposed to someone with COVID-19, and
Not vaccinated – stay away from others for 5 days, get tested on day 5 after exposure, and if they test negative, return to school while wearing a mask for 5 additional days.
Vaccinated and eligible for a booster, but not yet been boosted – stay away from others for 5 days, get tested on day 5 after exposure, and if they test negative, return to school while wearing a mask for 5 additional days.
Vaccinated and have either received a booster or are not yet eligible for a booster – individuals do not need to stay away from others but should wear a mask for 10 days.
4. StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit guidance that remains unchanged includes:
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated after a close contact in a classroom or other school setting if masks were being worn appropriately and consistently by both the person with COVID-19 and the potentially exposed person do not need to quarantine.
Students can access Blue Ridge Health School Clinic for COVID testing by calling 828-233-3714. You will be provided a telehealth appointment and a drive-through testing option on the middle school campus. Blue Ridge Health is able to test for Strep and Flu as well.
School nurses are equipped to COVID test students and staff for free. This is available with parental permission only. The test is a nasal swab that the individual will conduct. The school nurse will take the swab and ship it to a lab for testing. The results take 48 to 72 hours to be returned.
The Swain County Health Department also provides free COVID testing at the Swain County Recreation Center on Tuesdays from 8 to 2 and Fridays from 11 to 6.
Please continue to use caution as we continue to battle this pandemic. Remember to wear your mask, maintain a 3 ft social distance or six-foot when unmasked, and consider getting your vaccination or booster.