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Jan. 14 Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines

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After careful review of the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in consultation with local public health agencies, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is updating our isolation and quarantine guidelines starting Tuesday, January 18. Even with these changes, anyone who feels sick should stay home and get tested before coming to school.

Due to the large volume of cases and workforce issues since winter break, we are prioritizing isolating individuals who are sick, informing people about positive cases and contact tracing to the best of our ability. We appreciate your support and patience with our staff during this challenging time.

Isolation Period

Isolation is used to separate people with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 from others. SPPS will maintain a 10-day isolation period for students who test positive for COVID-19. Students with symptoms of COVID-19 that have not been tested must follow the SPPS COVID-19 Exclusion Decision Tree to determine when it is OK to return to school. 

SPPS is taking a more conservative approach to isolation periods for students than the CDC recommendation because of the need for students to be unmasked during meals and other implementation challenges at school.

10 day isolation graphic

Quarantine Period

Quarantine is used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others. Individuals who are identified as close contacts to non-household members will follow new guidance with a reduced quarantine of 5 days. The last date of exposure is considered day zero.

5 day quarantine graphic

Quarantines due to household contact

Staff and student quarantines from household contacts are being adjusted from 10 days after the last day of contact to 10 days total. The quarantine period starts the day after symptoms began or testing occurred, whichever is earlier.

household isolation graphic

Students are exempt from quarantine IF:

  • They have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days AND do not currently have symptoms of COVID-19, or
  • They completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccination (two doses in a two-dose series or one dose in a one-dose series) at least 14 days before the exposure AND do not have symptoms of COVID-19

Quarantined individuals are encouraged to test prior to returning to school. If symptoms develop or your child tests positive, submit a report to the SPPS COVID-19 Reporting System to receive information about next steps and do not send them to school. Individuals cannot “test out” of their required quarantine period even if they have a negative test. After the 5-day quarantine, continue to watch for symptoms through day 14. If symptoms begin, stay home, isolate from others and get tested right away.

Students who were told to quarantine before the above guidelines went into effect may be able to return sooner than originally communicated. Students who are currently quarantined are allowed to return 5 days earlier than previously communicated if they do not have any symptoms. 

Face Coverings

Face coverings continue to be required for everyone without a masking exemption in SPPS buildings. If possible, students should wear a multilayered mask or double mask with a cloth and/or disposable mask. Extra masks are available at school for students who need them.

Testing and Vaccination

Testing and vaccine resources and other information about reducing the spread of COVID-19 is available on our website at Weekly testing is encouraged for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, at community testing locations or through free at-home test kits through Vault Health. Rapid antigen test kits are prioritized for sending home with symptomatic students, because that’s when they work best. Additional rapid test kits have been ordered and will be available soon for both students and staff. 

Find upcoming vaccine clinics at