Quarantine rules in schools changed, minister announces
Regulations for quarantine of Covid-19 contacts in schools have been changed, the education minister revealed yesterday.
Diallo Rabain said in a letter to senior education staff that vaccinated people who tested positive for the coronavirus would have to quarantine for seven days and provide a certified clear lateral flow test at the end to return to school.
People who tested positive and who are not vaccinated will have to quarantine for ten days and provide a clear lateral flow test at the end of the period before they can go back to the classroom.
Vaccinated people who are close contacts of infected individuals will not have to quarantine, but should monitor their symptoms and take a lateral flow test every day for seven days and upload the results to a special site.
Anyone who is a close contact and has tested positive for the coronavirus inside the previous three months will also not have to quarantine, but will have to monitor symptoms and use a lateral flow test every day for seven days, unless a new variant was suspected.
Close contact pupils and staff who are unvaccinated but taking part in antigen/weekly saliva screening programmes will take a PCR test and, if clear, can return to the classroom.
But they will have to monitor symptoms, take a weekly antigen/saliva test and lateral flow test every day for seven days.
Pupils and staff who are close contacts, unvaccinated and not taking part in an antigen/weekly saliva screening programme will have to quarantine for ten days.
But Mr Rabain emphasised in an amended letter issued later that orders to quarantine were the responsibility of the Department of Health.
He added: “Depending on the circumstance, the Department of Health may require a person to still quarantine.”
Mr Rabain said that everyone quarantined under the previous guidelines would have to check with health officials if they could move to the revised guidelines.
He added a seven-day antigen test reporting form for close contacts had been created to allow monitoring.
Mr Rabain said senior education staff would be given more information on the test reporting form soon.
The letter added that people ruled to be casual contacts should make sure they know the symptoms of coronavirus infection and watch for them.
It said their movements do not have to be restricted, but that casual contacts should follow public health guidelines at https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus.
Mr Rabain wrote: “Should they develop symptoms they must self isolate and phone their GP immediately for advice.”
The letter added that Commissioner of Education Kalmar Richards will discuss the monitoring of the new policy with senior education staff tomorrow in a Zoom meeting.
It said that instructions would be given on registration and log in for access to seven-day antigen tests.
It is understood that a separate meeting will be held between school principals and the Department of Health.