(WSYR-TV)– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scaled back its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday afternoon more than two and a half years since the pandemic first hit.
The biggest change from the nation’s top public health agency is their recommendation that Americans no longer have to quarantine themselves if they’ve come into contact with the virus, regardless of vaccination status.
Instead, the CDC recommends that people wear a well-fitted and high-quality face mask for 10 days and get tested on day five. That recommendation stands for schools meaning students can stay in their classroom this fall if they’ve been exposed to the virus, a major shift from last school year when one case would send an entire class home for the week.
The CDC has also dropped its recommendation for routine daily testing at schools as it no longer encourages screening of asymptomatic people without known exposure.
Staying six feet apart for social distancing is also no longer recommended as the center says it’s important to consider the level of COVID-19 in the community and the ability for ventilation.
With no more quarantine recommended for known exposures, the popular “test-to-stay” option many Central New York schools used last year is out the window too.
These changes come as an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have some level of immunity from either vaccination or infection, agency officials said.
However, the CDC still recommends using masks in areas where transmission is high. If you test positive for the virus the agency still recommends you isolate yourself from others for at least five days and vaccination remains the number one safeguard against COVID-19.