CommunityCoronavirusCovid-19

State Puts Brakes on MoCo’s ‘Test to Stay’ COVID Program

Montgomery County officials said its “test-to-stay” program, designed to keep large numbers of students out of coronavirus quarantines, has been delayed due to new guidance from Maryland health authorities.

The program, which was supposed to start last week, would have allowed unvaccinated students exposed to the virus while unmasked in such settings as lunchrooms to avoid quarantine if they were tested daily.

However, Earl Stoddard, the county’s assistant chief administrative officer, said the state health department made it clear that such a setup was not “appropriate,” WTOP reported.

“We are not moving forward,” Stoddard told the county’s board of health. “We’re not launching the test-to-stay program. That is not to say we’re not ready to do it — if the state changes its guidelines, we’ll immediately move to do it. But obviously, we’re trying to follow to the degree possible what the state has laid out.”

For now, the county’s policy says students who are masked at the time of exposure don’t have to quarantine if they are a close contact of a positive case, as long as they get regular weekly screening tests.

Students potentially exposed while eating in the lunchroom still must quarantine for 10 days if they are a close contact of a confirmed positive but may return to class after the seventh day if they get a negative PCR test after the fifth day, WTOP reported.

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