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Fargo, West Fargo schools shorten COVID-19 isolation times

The shortened isolation period should also be followed by five days of wearing a well-fitting mask while around others

Coronavirus
Transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.
Photo courtesy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease-Rocky Mountain Laboratories

FARGO — Following new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, area school districts are shortening the isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19 to five days.

Previous guidelines called for those with COVID-19 to remain in isolation for 10 days.

Although the CDC’s recommendations were not specific to K-12 school settings, Fargo Public Schools decided to apply the changes after Fargo Cass Public Health and the North Dakota Department of Health made the same recommendation available to the district.

West Fargo Public Schools also shortened the isolation period to five days, following the CDC’s new recommendations, according to its website.

“The district is working to update all our protocols to align with these adjusted timeframes. Updated documents will be available from our COVID-19 webpage prior to students’ return to school on Monday, January 3,” West Fargo Public School District reported.

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Possible changes at Moorhead Area Public Schools were not released as of Thursday, and attempts to reach a spokesperson there were unsuccessful.

The new recommendations in Fargo schools include: all teachers, students and staff who are currently in isolation beyond the five days and are asymptomatic or have improving symptoms without fever-reducing medicine will also be released, according to a press release from Superintendent Rupak Gandhi.

The shortened isolation period should also be followed by five days of wearing a well-fitting mask while around others, the press release stated.

Those who are exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated should consider quarantining for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days, the release stated.

Those who have been vaccinated and have received the booster shot, or have had an infection in the last 90 days, do not need to be quarantined following an exposure but should consider wearing a mask for 10 days after being exposed, the release said.

The Fargo School District also recommended getting tested for COVID-19 at day five after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
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