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Maine Dept. of Education announces significant changes to student quarantine policies

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The Maine Department of Education announced significant changes Thursday to its policies for what students and staff should do if they test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to a person with the virus.The revisions come days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced shorter quarantine and isolation times as Maine students and staff prepare to return from Christmas break.Under the new rules, students and staff will no longer be considered a “close contact” if they are exposed to someone with the virus in an outdoor setting or on a school bus, as masks are required on Maine school buses.Also, any student or staff member who participates in its local pooled testing program will no longer need to quarantine if they are exposed to a positive case, regardless if that exposure happens at school or in the community. Previously, students had to quarantine if they had been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the community, regardless if they participate in pooled testing.Isolation and quarantine periods will also be shortened in accordance with U.S. CDC guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19.Department officials are still recommending universal masking inside all school buildings and buses, regardless of someone’s vaccination status.

The Maine Department of Education announced significant changes Thursday to its policies for what students and staff should do if they test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to a person with the virus.

The revisions come days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced shorter quarantine and isolation times as Maine students and staff prepare to return from Christmas break.

Under the new rules, students and staff will no longer be considered a “close contact” if they are exposed to someone with the virus in an outdoor setting or on a school bus, as masks are required on Maine school buses.

Also, any student or staff member who participates in its local pooled testing program will no longer need to quarantine if they are exposed to a positive case, regardless if that exposure happens at school or in the community. Previously, students had to quarantine if they had been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the community, regardless if they participate in pooled testing.

Isolation and quarantine periods will also be shortened in accordance with U.S. CDC guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19.

Department officials are still recommending universal masking inside all school buildings and buses, regardless of someone’s vaccination status.

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