The Indiana Department of Health is changing its COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools and childcare programs throughout the state. Among the changes, schools will no longer have to report COVID-19 cases to the state or conduct contact tracing beginning February 23.
In its announcement Thursday, the IDOH said the changes reflect declining COVID-19 cases in Indiana.
Schools will also no longer need to quarantine students who are exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, regardless of vaccination status or whether the school requires masks.
The IDOH says individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for five days and may return on the sixth if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication. Those individuals are encouraged to wear a mask through day 10 any time they are around others inside their homes or in public.
“These changes reflect the rapid decline in COVID-19 cases as we emerge from the omicron surge and the fact that all school-age children have been eligible to be vaccinated since November,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said in written remarks. “While they do not remove the need for continued vigilance, they will ease the reporting burden on schools and help ensure that children can stay in school.”
Despite the changes, the IDOH says schools are expected to continue notifying local health departments in the event of an outbreak or cluster. They are also encouraged to share information with families when a case is identified.
Additionally, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is lifting quarantine requirements for children exposed at their childcare program. Those who test positive should isolate at home for five days and the IDOH says they can return on the sixth day if they can correctly and consistently wear a mask. If not, it is recommended they return on day eight.
The health department is also planning to end its testing and vaccination clinic across from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on February. The testing and vaccination strike teams throughout the state will be suspended as well, however the IDOH says it will make mobile vaccination and testing units available upon request.
The state adds Indiana National Guard support for long-term care facilities will end on March 14 and no new requests will be accepted after February 26.