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January 2022 Test to Stay information

January 17, 2022

Test to Stay (TTS) for Schools

This guidance is limited to pre-K through grade 12 schools only when pre-K is located in a school building that also serves older students. At this time CDC has not endorsed TTS for use in early childhood education settings.

Test to Stay (TTS) is allowable in schools for asymptomatic, unvaccinated school-based contacts. These contacts can include students, teachers, and staff who had a school-based exposure. TTS is used to avoid school exclusion by testing negative through serial testing using rapid NAAT or antigen tests during a five-day period following exposure. TTS only allows for people to remain in school; all other quarantine restrictions are still in place for those exposed. Vaccination remains the only solution to eliminate all quarantine restrictions.

Process for Test to Stay:

  1. The exposure must have occurred in the school setting and while both the person with COVID-19 and the exposed person were consistently and properly wearing masks.
  2. The exposed person must remain asymptomatic; if the exposed person who is allowed to remain in school through TTS develops symptoms they must immediately be excluded from school for the remainder of their quarantine. This individual should be tested.
  3. The exposed person is tested a minimum of two times during the five-day period following exposure, unless recognition of the exposure is delayed, or weekends or school breaks intervene.
  4. The five-day period is measured in calendar days where the last date of exposure is considered day zero. The first test should be done as soon as possible after exposure is identified, meaning the first day the child is in school after the exposure. If the child is identified as a contact while at school the first test should be done that day.
  5. Schools must continue to work to identify individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 in the event that an individual tests positive.
  6. The test must be conducted, and the results received, before the school day begins.
  7. If the test is done in an unmonitored setting, such as an Over-the-Counter (OTC) test, please follow the OTC test guidance. Parent/Guardian will need to complete the Affirmation for OTC test use for TTS at minimum.
  8. The exposed person who is allowed to remain in school through TTS is not permitted to participate in extracurricular and co-curricular activities. People participating in TTS are allowed to continue to ride the school bus following all existing guidance, including requiring masking.
  9. If testing is done in school, schools will report test results to county health departments.  If testing is done at home, parents will report test results to county health departments here.

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