Montgomery County Public Schools has again updated its coronavirus quarantining policy now that rapid antigen tests are available to the system’s schools.
The new policy states that close contacts of a symptomatic student with a negative rapid test won’t be asked to quarantine, though a follow-up PCR test, which is more accurate, is recommended for the student. If that test is also negative, close contacts won’t need to quarantine, but if a positive result emerges, unvaccinated close contacts will need to quarantine.
Unvaccinated close contacts of a symptomatic student with a positive rapid test must quarantine for 10 days and cannot return before then, even with a negative test result.
Parents will have to give written consent for their child to be tested, with consent forms available both online and by request from the school. For symptomatic students without a form on file, their parents or guardians will be called for verbal consent.
“Testing is an important prevention strategy that will help us keep schools open and safe and help to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” MCPS officials said Tuesday in a letter to parents. “This strategy, along with mandatory vaccinations for staff, masks, handwashing, maximizing the use of outdoor spaces, and staying home when sick will help keep students learning in school, five days a week while keeping them and staff members safe.”