SCDHEC has issued new recommendations that reduce the length of time for COVID-19 isolations and quarantines.

In an effort to make the 2022-2023 school year safe and productive, DHEC has made some changes in guidance, and is encouraging everyone to take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. DHEC also updated its guidance online in response to CDC’s Aug. 11 update.

DHEC’s updates include:

  • Schools and childcare centers are encouraged to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) during non-outbreak periods.

  • Parents are urged to vaccinate their children against COVID-19.

  • DHEC will no longer require close contacts to quarantine during times when there are no active outbreaks, but those who are sick with COVID-19 or test positive must continue to isolate, meaning they must stay at home.

  • Schools can take advantage of several options to test for COVID-19.

  • Schools and childcare centers are urged to follow updated DHEC guidelines during outbreaks.

While DHEC will no longer require people who have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 to quarantine during non-outbreak periods, the agency is recommending that schools and childcare centers follow CDC guidance for quarantine, masking, vaccination, testing, etc. Those who have COVID-19 or test positive still must stay at home, regardless of the severity of their symptoms.

According to the 2022-2023 School and Childcare Exclusion List, those who isolate can only return to school if: 

  • It has been at least five days since symptoms started and 24 hours since the last fever (without using fever-reducing meds.), 

  • Symptoms are significantly improving, and  

  • A mask must be worn days six to 10 unless the person tests negative on two rapid antigen tests performed on days six and eight, then they may remove the mask after the negative test on day eight.

    • If either test on day six or eight is positive, the mask must be worn through day 10 and no further testing is recommended.

    • If a mask is not worn as instructed above, a 10-day isolation must be observed.