Updates from the Department of Health: Reduction in Quarantine/Isolation Duration; 01/10/2022

As mentioned in our message to families and staff on Friday, the Albany County Department of Health has released some significant changes regarding quarantine/isolation based on this guidance from the New York State Department of Health. The DOH has reduced the required quarantine/isolation duration from 10 days to 5 days if the individual is not showing COVID-related symptoms. 

This does apply retroactively to students and staff who are currently in quarantine/isolation due to illness, testing positive for COVID-19, or having come in contact with a positive case last week. A chart of adjusted return dates can be found below. If the individual is moderately or severely immunocompromised they need to follow the standard 10-day isolation guidance. These individuals may return to school on day six, or later, of their quarantine/isolation under the following conditions:

  • No fever within 24 hours and without fever-reducing medication

  • No runny nose

  • No disruptive cough

  • All other symptoms must be improving 

  • Must wear a well-fitting mask while around others. This should be done until the conclusion of the 10th day after their exposure or positive diagnosis. 

  • If the individual cannot wear a well-fitting mask while around others (i.e. runny nose which would cause the mask to be removed frequently), they should stay in quarantine/isolation until symptoms subside. 

  • As per the Department of Health, during days 6 through 10 the individuals may only report to school/work. They cannot attend extracurricular activities, after-school activities, or sports.

Students and staff need to be healthy before returning to school/work. 

As a reminder, students or staff who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine/isolate when they come in contact with a confirmed positive, but should wear a well-fitting mask while around others and monitor for symptoms for 10 days after the last date of exposure. Also:

  • They should consider testing at day 5 with either a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT, e.g., PCR) or antigen test.

  • If symptoms appear, they should quarantine and seek testing. In this situation, quarantine would end if the test is negative and symptoms have subsided. If testing is not done, isolate according to the guidance above.

Here is a chart with new adjusted release dates based on the new five-day quarantine guidance: 

Day 0 (First-day of onset of symptoms, receiving a positive test, or contact with a positive case)

Original 10-Day Release Date

New 5-Day Release Date if Symptoms have Subsided