The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19 can remain in school if they undergo testing — as three New York City schools closed in one day.
The “test to stay” approach allows kids who aren’t jabbed and have been in “close contact” with an infected peer to keep going to class if they test negative for the virus at least twice during the week after exposure, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House press briefing.
Previously, the CDC’s official guidance for schools required unvaccinated students to stay home for 10 days after exposure, while fully vaccinated students were able to remain in school provided they didn’t develop symptoms.
The CDC still recommends all children wear face masks indoors, according to the New York Times.
“[It] allows unvaccinated students to stay in school even if they are exposed to the virus,” Walensky said.
“If exposed children meet the criteria and continue to test negative, they can stay in school.”
She added that the CDC will release two reports with “evidence supporting the use of ‘test to stay’ and how well it worked” in two communities including Lake County, Illinois and Los Angeles County, California.
The announcement came one day after New York City’s Department of Education shuttered three schools due to COVID-19 infections Thursday — the most in a single day this academic year.
It also comes amid a surge in the highly transmissible, but likely more mild, Omicron variant across the US.
Closed schools that returned to remote learning in New York City included Eagle Academy for Young Men II in Brooklyn, PS 18 in the Bronx and Robert E. Peary School in Queens.