Georgia school contact tracing quarantine rules eased


Gov. Brian Kemp outlined the new school policies in a letter released Thursday.

ATLANTA – Governor Brian Kemp announced new COVID policies for Georgia schools on Thursday, it will ease contact tracing and teacher quarantine requirements, as well as expand testing availability statewide.

Guidelines posted on the Georgia Department of Health website and signed by DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey do not specifically mention contact tracing, but the governor’s communication says schools can remove it altogether — a decision that Cobb County has already announced.

“We know that contact tracing has become more difficult as cases have increased in schools and throughout the community,” the letter said. “While contact tracing is a ‘best practice’, particularly for those at high risk, we understand that it is not always possible in all cases and therefore may be considered an optional service in schools for the moment.”

RELATED: Cobb Schools Halt Contact Tracing After State Updates COVID Guidelines

The administrative order outlines how teachers and staff, regardless of their vaccination status, who have been exposed and remain asymptomatic can return from quarantine within five days “with an additional five days of wearing a properly fitted mask”, while also providing an exception that schools can take to effectively set their own policy.

It states that schools can “choose to adhere to different quarantine requirements as developed by the local school district to facilitate in-person learning,” without specifying what restrictions, if any, may be in place on localized standards, as long as quarantine is placed on someone whose exposure occurred at school and who remains symptomatic.

Basically, he says schools “may consider a Test to Stay protocol” that would allow teachers and students to stay in a classroom after exposure without quarantine as long as they test regularly during what would be a period of quarantine. .

The CDC describes it this way: “Testing to stay (TTS) is a practice of contact tracing and serial testing (testing repeated sequentially) to allow close contacts associated with the school who are not fully vaccinated to continue to learn in person during their quarantine period.”

Governor Kemp’s letter also promises a testing program, at no cost to the school, which “is an expanded version of the program offered last fall.”

“It now allows testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic students, staff, faculty and their family members,” Kemp’s letter reads.

The governor’s letter adds, “Students, parents and educators have made it clear to us that they want to be in the classroom, and we are exploring many methods to continue learning safely and in person…Like you, our primary goal is to keep our children in the classroom with minimal disruption to their education, and we will continue to support you, your faculty, your students, and your parents in accomplishing this mission.”

See the DPH administrative order below:


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