New Guidance Shortens Isolation Period Following a Positive COVID-19 Test

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has issued new guidance on isolation following a positive COVID-19 test. The changes align with new CDC guidelines and are focused on reducing the spread of COVID-19 variants in schools with fewer disruptions to in-person learning. 

Use this updated Daily Screening at Home tool for identifying symptoms (available in multiple languages). If you have even one symptom, stay home and get tested. Symptoms include new and worsening cough, fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, excessive fatigue, new or severe headache, new onset of congestion or runny nose.

If you test positive and you HAVE symptoms:

  • Stay home for five days using this calculation: Day Zero is the first day of symptoms or date of a positive test. The next day is Day 1.
  • Return to school on Day 6, if you have been fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving.
  • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask indoors when around others for an additional five days.

If you test positive and you DO NOT have symptoms (asymptomatic):

  • Stay home for five days using this calculation: Day Zero is the date of the positive test. The next day is Day 1.
  • Return to school on Day 6 if you continue to be asymptomatic.
  • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask indoors when around others for an additional five days.
  • If symptoms develop while you are in isolation, restart the five-day count with Day Zero as the first day of symptoms, and return on Day 6 if symptoms are improving.

Below is a graphic from MDH that visually explains the isolation timelines. View additional details from MDH.

If you have symptoms and do not take a COVID-19 test, assume you are positive and stay home until five days have passed and you have been fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask indoors when around others for an additional five days. Please note that we strongly advise taking a COVID-19 test when you have symptoms. If the test is positive, you still only isolate for five days, and you will be exempt from quarantine for the 90 days following your positive test date.

If you have questions, please contact your school's health office.