ISDH shortens school isolation policy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kids who test positive for COVID-19 will spend less time out of the classroom under new state guidance. Students can go back to school after five days as long as they are asymptomatic or their symptoms start to improve.

The update allows students who tests positive for COVID-19 to go back to school after five days as long as they aren’t showing symptoms. Once they’re back in the building, they are required to wear a mask at all times, and if they can’t, they’ll have to stay home for the full 10 days.

That policy is the same for schools with and without masks mandates.

However, there are different rules for schools without masks policies when it comes to close contacts. Under the new guidance, students in schools with mask mandates can stay in the classroom even if they’re exposed to someone with COVID-19 as long as they’re not showing symptoms.

The Indiana State Department of Health said those students should get tested at least 5 days after the exposure. If the child develops symptoms, they’ll need to stay home until they test negative.

For schools without mask mandates, the rules vary depending on vaccination status. Students who are exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic can only stay in a school without a mask policy if that student is fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students will need to stay home for five days after exposure. If they’re not showing symptoms, they can go back on the sixth day, but will still have to wear a mask.

ISDH recommends students and staff wear masks in schools, but so far, state health officials have made no mention of a statewide mask mandate for schools.

Right now, Indianapolis Public Schools and Hamilton Southeastern Schools have a mask mandate, while Westfield Washington does not.