COVID-19 Student Exposure Guidelines

  • Updated Monday, February 22, 2021

    What is exposure?

    Per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), exposure occurs if a person has been in close contact (less than six feet) for greater than or equal to 15 minutes with a person with COVID-19.

    What happens when a student is exposed to COVID-19?

    Once it is confirmed a student has been exposed to COVID-19, the following steps should take place.


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHEC have previously recommended a strict 14-day period of quarantine for persons who had close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case. However, if your child is asymptomatic, current guidelines allow the 14-day quarantine period to be shortened to 10 days.  That is, if your child has not displayed any COVID-19 symptoms, then s/he is eligible to return to school after 10 days of quarantine.  

    Please monitor your child daily and if your child has displayed any of the following symptoms, they must complete the full 14-day quarantine before they can return to school:

    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • New or worsening cough
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Chills
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea or vomiting

    If symptoms develop, a medical evaluation is encouraged.

    A signed form provided by the student's school must accompany the student if they are returning to school after 10 days, but before the 14th-day, of quarantine following exposure. The student will report to the front office on day 11 with the signed form to return to school and will continue to submit to a daily temperature check.  The student will also be required to wear their face covering at all times from day 11 to day 14. If the student does not adhere to these requirements, the student will return to school attendance exclusion until the full 14-day quarantine is completed.

    For those who live in the same house as someone who has COVID-19, they should continue to quarantine until 10 days after the date the person with COVID-19 is told they no longer need to practice isolation, IF asymptomatic. If not asymptomatic, they should complete the full 14-day quarantine.  

    If the student tests positive for COVID-19 or it’s probable the student has COVID-19

    The student may return to school after at least 24 hours have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement of other illness symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell, headaches, etc.); AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or receipt of positive COVID-19 test result.

    If a student has symptoms of COVID-19 and tests negative

    The student may return to school if they test negative for COVID-19 using a PCR test (nose swab, saliva test) AND a medical evaluation determines that their symptoms were more likely due to another cause (e.g. sore throat due to strep throat). In this latter case, the student can return when they meet criteria for that condition. The student will also need to be free of the following for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants):

    • If previously on quarantine prior to symptoms developing, must complete remainder of 14-day quarantine.
    • Resolution of fever (subjective or measured) or fever symptoms (shivering, chills, body aches, etc.)
    • Improvement of other illness symptoms (sore throat, persistent cough, sinus congestion, fatigue, etc.)