Georgia public school teachers who test positive for coronavirus can return to school if asymptomatic and masked

By Chris Boyette, CNN

Georgia public school teachers who test positive for the virus that causes Covid-19 no longer have to self-isolate before returning to school, according to a letter from Gov. Brian Kemp and the Health Commissioner public Kathleen Toomey to Headteachers which was released on Thursday.

Georgia’s Ministry of Public Health had issued an updated administrative order for isolation and quarantine on Wednesday allowing teachers and school staff to return to work after exposure to Covid-19 or a positive coronavirus test, regardless of either vaccination status, as long as they remain asymptomatic and wear a mask at work.

“Students, parents and educators have made it clear to us that they want to be in the classroom, and we are exploring many methods to continue safe in-person learning – including updated quarantine and isolation protocols. day, reduced contact tracing requirements, and increased testing opportunities,” the letter from Kemp and Toomey states.

Local school districts may still develop and track their own quarantine and isolation requirements, depending on the order.

Reporting positive Covid-19 cases to the state health department is still required, but contact tracing will no longer be mandatory in schools, according to the agency’s updated order.

“We know that contact tracing has become more difficult as cases have increased in schools and throughout the community,” the letter said. “While contact tracing is a ‘best practice’, particularly for those at high risk, we understand that it is not always possible in all cases and therefore may be considered an optional service in schools for the moment.”

The seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases in Georgia on Thursday was 16,072, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At this time last year, the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases in the state was 8,442, the data showed.

CNN has reached out to the Georgia Association of Educators for comment on the updated order.

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