U.S. CDC no longer recommends students quarantine for COVID-19 exposure

Marisela Maddox, a parent of students Atlas and Hero Smookler, works as a substitute teacher at the Austin Jewish Academy as the spread of the Omicron variant leads to teacher shortages amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Austin, Texas, U.S., January 20, 2022. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

Aug 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer recommend quarantines or test-to-stay programs at schools or daycare centers for people exposed to COVID-19, the agency said in updated guidelines on Thursday.

The agency also said it was no longer recommending unvaccinated people quarantine after exposure as around 95% of the U.S. population has either been vaccinated, had COVID-19 already, or both.

"This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives," CDC scientist v said in a statement.

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The CDC said it had updated its recommendations that people exposed to COVID-19 should wear a high quality mask for 10 days and test on the fifth day after exposure, regardless of vaccination status.

"Both prior infection and vaccination confer some protection against severe illness, and so it really makes the most sense to not differentiate with our guidance or our recommendations based on vaccination status at this time," Dr. Massetti told reporters.

The CDC's school guidance also removed recommendations to keep children in cohorts in order to reduce the likelihoood of COVID-19 exposure.

While the agency removed its test-to-stay recommendations for schools, it did say schools could consider implementing screening for COVID-19 for high-risk activities like close contact sports or at key times of the year.

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Reporting by Michael Erman, editing by Deepa Babington and Howard Goller

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