More schools using "test-to-stay" strategy to minimize quarantines

·1 min read

After tens of thousands of kids were sent home to isolate due to COVID-19 exposure in the first days of in-person schooling, more districts are starting to pivot toward a "test-to-stay" strategy, the New York Times reports.

What's happening: Many schools are largely using a contact tracing method in which close contacts of someone who tests positive for the virus must isolate at home.

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  • But a new study from The Lancet found about 2% of school-based close contacts ultimately tested positive for the virus, meaning schools were keeping 49 uninfected students out of class every time one student tested positive, per the Times.

  • That same study suggests a "test-to-stay approach" — or allowing asymptomatic kids who test negative for the virus to stay in school — can be safe, per the Times.

Why it matters: The consensus largely supports the importance of in-person schooling for kids.

  • But schools are searching for a less disruptive way to minimize risk beyond sending kids home.

What they're saying: "At this time, we do not recommend or endorse a test-to-stay program," the CDC told the Times. "However, we are working with multiple jurisdictions who have chosen to use these approaches to gather more information."

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