MCPS Reduces Quarantine and Isolation Period for Students Beginning March 1

by Patrick Herron

Montgomery County Public Schools have updated their quarantine and isolation periods from 10 days to five, effective March 1. Full details below from MCPS:


Beginning March 1, MCPS will be moving from a 10-day isolation and quarantine period for students to a 5-day isolation and quarantine, if certain health conditions are met. This aligns with our requirements for staff, and the recommendations of the CDC, Maryland Department of Health and our local DHHS.

Isolation – Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 5 days.

  • If on day 5 the student has no, or improving, symptoms and has been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication, the student may return to in-person instruction on Day 6.
  • Day 1 for positive students is the day after on-set of symptoms or day after the date tested if asymptomatic.

Quarantine – Unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts must quarantine for 5 days.

  • If on day 5 day, symptoms have not developed and the student has not tested positive for COVID, the student may return to in-person instruction on day 6.
  • Day 1 for students identified as close contacts is the day after the last exposure.
  • The new guidance regarding quarantine will replace the current guidance of taking a test on day 5 to return on day 8. If a student in quarantine take a test on day 5 and it is negative, they may return to school on day 6.
  • This new guidance will apply to exposures in and out of school, including household exposure.

Isolation and Quarantine

  • We will strongly recommend any student who is in isolation or quarantine take a rapid test before returning to school. If families do not have rapid tests available from prior distributions, we will make tests available for pick-up or mail tests to families who are unable to pick up a test at school. Testing will be a recommendation only and will not be required to return from isolation or quarantine.
  • Students who return after a 5 day isolation or quarantine period must wear a mask at all times around others, except while eating or drinking.
  • Students who are unable to consistently and correctly wear a well-fitting mask must complete a 10-day isolation or quarantine period.

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