The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has updated the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit isolation and quarantine guidance to align with updated guidance from Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The new guidance outlines what individuals should do if they contract or are exposed to COVID-19 to help slow the spread to others. 

The updated guidance changes how long and under what conditions staff and students need to be excluded from school because they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19 (isolation and quarantine).  Please note that every COVID situation has unique circumstances and requires investigation that may alter these general guidelines.

The new guidance provides the following definitions:

Isolation – Separating yourself from others because you have symptoms or tested positive

Quarantine – Separating yourself from others because you are a close contact of a known positive person

Staff and students who have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should  get tested and isolate from others while waiting for a result. If testing is not possible, follow the guidance below as if the person is positive.

  • Isolation: Staff and students who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, and
    • Do not have symptoms – should isolate from others for 5 days, then wear a mask for 5 additional days.
    • Have symptoms – should isolate from others until fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving. Individuals should isolate for at least 5 days since symptoms began and then wear a mask for 5 additional days.
  • Quarantine:  Staff and students with symptoms who are exposed to someone with COVID–19 should consult your school nurse for quarantine guidance
  • Quarantine: Staff and students without symptoms who are exposed to someone with COVID-19:
    • Not vaccinated – stay away from others for 5 days, recommend testing on day 5 after exposure, and if they test negative, return to school while wearing a mask for 5 additional days.
    • Vaccinated and eligible for a booster, but not yet been boosted – stay away from others for 5 days,  recommend testing on day 5 after exposure, and if they test negative, return to school while wearing a mask for 5 additional days.
    • Vaccinated, and have either received a booster or are not yet eligible for a booster – individuals do not need to stay away from others, but should wear a mask for 10 days.
  • Household Contacts:  If someone in your household is positive consult your school nurse for quarantine guidance

 StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit guidance that remains unchanged includes:

  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated after close contact in a classroom or other school setting do NOT need to quarantine if masks were being worn appropriately and consistently by both the person with COVID-19 and the potentially exposed person.

View the updated Toolkit here. If you have any questions, please email StrongSchoolsNC@dhhs.nc.gov. Thank you.