The Department of Education put into effect Jan. 31 decreased quarantine periods for students and staff who had contracted COVID-19, reducing the isolation period from 10 days to five.
The aim of this is to ensure that students can still get back to school faster, while still taking precautions to prevent widespread infection within classrooms.
This isolation period change also includes unvaccinated students and vaccinated staff and faculty, who will be able to return to class day six to day 10 following a positive test result, as long as they haven’t had a fever within the last 24 hours and wear well-fitted masks that follow CDC recommendations – as all in-person New York City public schools require. In order to return to classes on day six, following a positive test result, students and faculty must exhibit no symptoms as well as test negative using two at-home rapid tests, or a test administered by a healthcare professional.
This new change in isolation period also includes faculty and staff members employed in NYC public schools, with the goal of maintaining higher attendance rates within schools and ensuring that NYC students do not fall behind academically. These changes have been implemented in accordance with current Centers of Disease Control (CDC) recommendations. For students and children younger than five years of age, the isolation period still remains at 10 days.
Since the surge of the COVID-19 variant exponentially increased in the winter months, Omicron has been trending downwards in recent weeks indicating a potential turning point for the battle against the virus. The COVID positive infection rate has decreased 10% from what the numbers were just a month ago, and deaths and hospitalizations have similarly begun a gradual downward trend.
Additionally, during a press conference on Jan. 30, Mayor Eric Adams announced a new free antiviral medication initiative aimed to deliver at-home COVID antiviral medications, as well as a move to allow individuals to get vaccinated in their own homes. This medication delivery initiative aims to make access to medications while positive with COVID-19, and increase services to COVID patients while According to Mayor Adams, nearly 75% of New Yorkers are now vaccinated, and to bolster this the Adams administration aims to make COVID-19 prevention and treatment even more accessible than before.
“The city will also offer at-home delivery of COVID antiviral pills to eligible New Yorkers who need them, and we’re going to do it with the magic New York word – we’re going to do it for free. For free,” said Mayor Adams on Jan. 30, “Delivering the antiviral pills to you at home if you’re an eligible New Yorker and is for free.”
The decision to deliver these medications to infected individual’s homes was made in order to prevent another widespread spike in positivity cases by limiting the number of people infected individuals interact with, as well as providing a medication that can help mitigate the contagious nature of this virus. NYC is currently one of very few places internationally that offers same-day delivery for antiviral medications.
“Oral antiviral pills (…) for five days helps stop the virus from reproducing, which reduces the amount of virus in the body, and prevents symptoms from getting worse,” said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “With these new treatments, and of course, our life saving vaccines, we now have the tools to mitigate the worst of Covid-19.”