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Responding to Suspected or Confirmed Cases

What do we do when there are confirmed cases?

WHY

To ensure the health of the local community, LEAs may have to take additional measures when a student, teacher, or staff member has symptoms, has been in contact with someone infected, or is diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

WHAT

Testing for COVID-19 

  • Recommended: LEAs should recommend testing for students and staff who display symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Reporting COVID-19 Cases

  • Laboratory Confirmed Cases: Notify the local health department where the workplace is located if there is a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 at the workplace.
  • Hospitalization of Staff: Employers should report serious injury, illness, and death, including hospitalization and death from COVID-19, to Cal/OSHA, even if work-relatedness is uncertain. 

According to the CDPH

  • Isolation separates those infected with a contagious disease from people who are not infected; and
  • Quarantine restricts the movement of persons who were exposed to a contagious disease in case they become infected. 

Isolation recommendations

For those diagnosed with COVID-19 (vaccinated or unvaccinated), follow the CDPH Isolation Guidance

 

Image to stress this section has been updated

Quarantine recommendations   

Quarantine recommendations vary by type of exposure. 

 

  • Quarantine for vaccinated close contacts or previously infected persons 
      • Vaccinated persons: Those who are vaccinated and asymptomatic can refrain from quarantine following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Fully vaccinated persons are recommended to be tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days. (Refer to CDPH Fully Vaccinated People Guidance for more information.)
      • Previously infected person: If an exposed person tested positive for COVID-19 before their new, recent exposure and it has been less than 3 months since they started having symptoms from that previous infection (or since their first positive COVID-19 test if asymptomatic), they do not need to quarantine, as long as they have not had any new symptoms since their recent exposure to someone with COVID-19.
      • Also self-monitor and follow best practices for 14 days: All exposed persons, even those who were fully vaccinated or previously infected and do not have to self-quarantine, should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and strictly adhere to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., wearing a mask, maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from non-household members, frequently performing hand hygiene, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) for 14 days following the last date of exposure.  

For more information, visit CDPH’s Guidance on Isolation and Quarantine for COVID-19 Contact Tracing.

 

  • Quarantine recommendations for unvaccinated persons

For most unvaccinated persons who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, CDPH recommends the exposed person get tested and self-quarantine at home. 

For these contacts, those who remain asymptomatic, meaning they have NOT had any symptoms, may discontinue self-quarantine under the following conditions:

          • Quarantine can end after Day 10 from the date of last exposure without testing; OR
          • Quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen is collected after Day 5 from the date of last exposure and tests negative.

To discontinue quarantine before 14 days following the last known exposure, asymptomatic close contacts should:

          • Continue daily self-monitoring for symptoms through Day 14 from last known exposure; AND
          • Follow all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., wearing a mask when around others, hand washing, avoiding crowds) through Day 14 from last known exposure.

If any symptoms develop during this 14-day period, the exposed person must immediately isolate, get tested, and contact their healthcare provider with any questions regarding their care. For more information, visit CDPH’s Guidance on Isolation and Quarantine for COVID-19 Contact Tracing.

Local health jurisdictions may be more restrictive in allowing the above options for shortened quarantine, based on local circumstances, resources, and exposure settings.

  • Modified quarantine recommendations for unvaccinated students when wearing a mask in K-12 indoor settings.

When both parties were wearing a mask in any school setting in which students are supervised by school staff (including indoor or outdoor school settings and school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems), unvaccinated students who are close contacts (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet) may undergo a modified quarantine as follows. 

They may continue to attend school for in-person instruction if they:

          • Are asymptomatic; 
          • Continue to appropriately mask, as required;
          • Undergo at least twice weekly testing during quarantine; and
          • Continue to quarantine for all extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and activities within the community setting. 

For more information, visit CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year.

 

Recommendations for staying home when sick and getting tested:

Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools and prevent spread to others. 

 

  • Follow the strategy for Staying Home when Sick and Getting Tested from the CDC.
  • Getting tested for COVID-19 when symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 will help with rapid contact tracing and prevent possible spread at schools.
  • Advise staff members and students with symptoms of COVID-19 infection not to return for in-person instruction until they have met CDPH criteria to return to school for those with symptoms:
      • At least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
      • Other symptoms have improved; and
      • They have a negative test for SARS-CoV-2, OR a healthcare provider has provided documentation that the symptoms are typical of their underlying chronic condition (e.g., allergies or asthma) OR a healthcare provider has confirmed an alternative named diagnosis (e.g., Streptococcal pharyngitis, Coxsackie virus), OR at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset.

For more information, visit CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year.

 

TOOLS

CDPH has a robust State- and Federally-funded school testing program and subject matter experts available to support school decision-making, including free testing resources to support screening testing programs (software, test kits, shipping, testing, etc.). 

 

Resources for schools interested in testing include: 

 

The sharing of identified case information data with state and local public health professionals is necessary to ensure that they can respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19 who have been present at a school site, track and understand the extent of disease transmission within the state, and support communities with appropriate prevention strategies and support. 

 

Mandated Reporting

Notify the LHO:

Schools are required to report COVID-19 cases to the local public health department.

 

Reporting Cases to the Local Health Officer: Schools are required to report COVID-19 cases to the local public health department as per AB 86 (2021) and California Code Title 17, Section 2500. 

 

FERPA Authorization: Schools are authorized under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to disclose personally identifiable information without parental consent to local health departments regarding COVID-19 testing and cases. (20 USC § 1232g(b)(1)(I).)

 

Notify Cal/OSHA:

LEAs and private schools in California must notify Cal/OSHA of inpatient hospitalizations and deaths among employees, even if work-relatedness is uncertain. 

 

What to Report: For COVID-19, this includes inpatient hospitalizations and deaths among employees, even if work-relatedness is uncertain. 

 

How to Report: Cal/OSHA prefers calls by phone but will also accept email reports that follow the Title 8 section 342 requirements. See the CAL/OSHA guidance for details on reporting and contact information for district offices

 

TOOLS

RESOURCES

For more information about how this tool was created and answers to other questions, see the FAQ section.  

The Health & Safety Guidebook for California LEAs
The Health & Safety Guidebook for California LEAs was developed in collaboration with the
California State Board of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and other technical assistance partners.