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September 28, 2021

What Salt Lake County parents need to know about updated school quarantine policies

Kindergartner Isaac Nshuti wears a mask as he does an assignment at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Salt Lake City on May 12, 2021. Back to school in Salt Lake County comes with a new “normal” for quarantine guidelines — if your students meets one of the four criteria to stay in class. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — For many children across the Salt Lake Valley, the return to school is just a week away, and most districts now have updated quarantine policies for COVID-19.

Because no vaccine was available this time a year ago, exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 meant a child needed to quarantine and stay home from school. But now, your child can stay in school — if one of four things happen:

  1. Your child is fully vaccinated, meaning it’s been at least two weeks since the final dose.
  2. Both your child and the child or adult with the confirmed case of COVID-19 wore masks.
  3. Your child wore an N95 mask at the time of exposure.
  4. The child who was exposed already had COVID-19 (and recovered) in the past 90 days.

If none of those conditions apply, your child will need to quarantine before returning to school, according to Salt Lake County Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp.

However, he added: “Whether you quarantine for 10 days or wear a mask for 10 days, on day seven, you’re able to get tested, and if you test negative and don’t have symptoms, you can return to school or no longer wear the mask in school.”

Schools may still require COVID-19 testing if a school reaches a certain threshold of infection, Rupp said. Regular testing will also be available.

“Four of the five public school districts in Salt Lake County are going to offer testing a couple of times a week to students who wish to be tested,” he said.

According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, only 44% of students over the age of 12 are vaccinated against COVID-19 in the area.

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