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Forsyth County Schools offer new quarantine options to students exposed to COVID-19 starting next week

The Forsyth County Schools announced a change to the district’s quarantine restrictions Friday morning, allowing for asymptomatic students who have been directly exposed to COVID-19 to choose between three options.

The new rules, effective Monday, Dec. 7, could allow students to come back to face-to-face classes anywhere from seven to 14 days after exposure, according to the update posted to the district’s website.

Up until the new rules take effect next week, students who face direct exposure, regardless of if they were asymptomatic, have to quarantine for 14 days under the Restart Forsyth rules created before students came back to school in August.

The new rules announced on Friday only apply to asymptomatic students who are under quarantine after being directly exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Those who receive a positive COVID-19 test must still quarantine at home for two full weeks.

Under one of the three new quarantine options for asymptomatic students, they can return to school after only seven days of quarantine under the condition that they take a COVID-19 test. If the student still does not have symptoms after five days, they can take a PCR test. It can take an average of two to three days to get test results back for a PCR test, but many medical experts agree the test is more effective for testing even asymptomatic individuals just days after exposure.

According to the update, schools will not approve a rapid COVID-19 test.

If the student’s PCR test comes back negative, they can turn their test results into the school and, after approval, come back to regular classes and campus activities on the eighth day after exposure.

Another option allows for students to quarantine for just 10 days without a test as long as the student remains asymptomatic. This allows students to return to school on the 11th day after exposure.

The last option for students is to follow the original guidelines and quarantine for 14 days at home after direct exposure.

According to the update, FCS made the changes to the quarantine periods “based on recently released guidance from the CDC and the Department of Public Health.”