MDHHS shortens quarantine, isolation guidance for students and staff at K-12 schools

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jan 10, 2022

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has updated its COVID-19 guidance regarding quarantine and isolation for K-12 schools.

In a Monday press release, MDHHS said quarantine and isolation could be shortened to five days in some circumstances, which reflects a recent update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MDHHS is reminding that isolation refers to when someone is infected with the virus and has tested positive, even if asymptomatic. Quarantine refers to when someone might have been exposed to the virus.

K-12 students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms should isolate regardless of vaccination status.

  • If positive without symptoms, monitor from first day of exposure through day 10
  • Isolate for five days from onset of symptoms or after testing
  • If symptoms improve, return to school and wear a mask for days six through 10.
  • If unwilling or unable to wear a mask, stay home for 10 days.

Those with a fever are advised to stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication.

Close contacts of a COVID-19 case:

  • Do not need to quarantine if they had the virus within the last 90 days or are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. If a person doesn't fit this criteria, they should wear a mask and test every other day for six days after exposure.
  • Should still monitor symptoms while wearing a mask for 10 days after exposure

People who are exposed may:

  • Quarantine for the first five days, test on the fifth day and wear a mask around other for days six though 10
  • Test every other day for six days after exposure and mask around others for 10 days, or quarantine for 10 days is unable or unwilling to wear a mask.

For the first 10 days after exposure, watch out for COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. If symptoms develop, get tested immediately and isolate while waiting for results. If results are positive, continue to follow the isolation recommendations.

If symptoms don’t develop, test at least five days after exposure.

Health officials recommend avoiding others, especially those who are immunocompromised or at high-risk of serious disease.

MDHHS said COVID-19 transmission in schools is reduced significantly when people are vaccinated, wear masks, distance themselves, test, isolate and quarantine consistently. The state is also continuing to recommend universal masking in K-12 schools to help maintain an in-person learning format.

“We always advocate for preventative measures that keep our children safe,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive, said in a statement. “Children of school age – ages 5 and up – are now eligible to get vaccinated, and children ages 12 and up are eligible to get boosted. In addition to masking and testing, we feel confident that schools can remain as safe as possible for our children.”

More information can be found on the state’s website. If you’re looking for a vaccine, visit

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.