Untangling COVID-19 guidelines

Article and graphic by Julia Sanabria

The coronavirus has been weighing heavily on everyone’s minds for over two years now. The CDC has a set of guidelines to keep us all safe which changes to fit our nation’s needs. Along with these guidelines, Sonoma County has their own set of rules to keep us healthy as well. Although these guidelines may differ, they all have the same goal: to keep people safe. 

According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, due to the information currently known about the recent Omicron variant, if someone is infected with Covid-19 they have to stay quarantined for a decreased amount of time, 5 days. At that point, being asymptomatic or having COVID-19 like symptoms resolving, one has to stay masked around others for the following five days. 

However, in our school district, it’s confusing because our guidelines are different from both Sonoma County’s guidelines and CDC guidelines. We are following something close to the California state guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. These guidelines state that the student has to receive a negative Covid test from a lab in order to be allowed back to school. Students who were identified as a close contact to a person with Covid must do a modified quarantine. Vaccinated asymptomatic students are allowed to remain at school even if they were identified as a close contact. The same applies for students who were infected with Covid at some point, but had been vaccinated therefore once a negative test is received they can return to school. 

Quarantine is the act of one staying by themselves due to the potential that they have a seriously contagious illness when not yet having a positive Covid test result. Whereas isolation is when you have a confirmed positive test result and stay alone in order to avoid infecting others. Traditional quarantine is when the student stays home ten days after the most recent exposure; if tested after six days the student may return to school if given a negative result. After this the student then must continue to wear masks in a public setting as well as monitoring their symptoms. 

A modified quarantine is when the student is allowed to return to school if they agree to be tested twice a week for ten days, without this traditional quarantine must be completed, no extracurricular activities for that time, and this can end after day 6 if a negative result is obtained. Isolation protocol is when someone is positive for Covid or they refuse to test, but show symptoms. They can not leave their house for at least ten days after the Covid positive PCR test or since they first started showing symptoms, they can return to school after this time as long as they have been fever free for 24 hours and other symptoms have subsided. 

Symptoms of this virus, as stated by the Santa Rosa City Schools website, include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and/or diarrhea.

These different guidelines can be confusing at times, but it is always best to do what you can in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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