Close Contact, Exposure & Quarantine Guidelines

  • The most accurate and updated information concerning COVID-19 is found on the SC DHEC website

    What is exposure?

    Per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), exposure occurs if a person has been in close contact (within three ft (student) to six feet (adult)) for greater than or equal to 15 minutes with a person with COVID-19 over a 24-hour period, starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for those without symptoms, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the person with COVID-19 is isolated. 

    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has continued to update its COVID-19 guidance for schools as well as its School and Childcare Exclusion List since January 4, 2022. 

    What is the criteria to meet "maximally vaccinated" status?

    As of January 8, 2022, for the purpose of DHEC guidance, DHEC considers a person who has completed their primary vaccine series, including an additional dose if immunocompromised, and has had a booster shot if eligible, to be maximally vaccinated.

    What is the criteria to meet "fully vaccinated" status?

    As of January 8, 2022, for the purpose of DHEC guidance, DHEC considers a person who has completed their primary vaccine series (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Janssen vaccine), including an additional dose if immunocompromised, with at least two weeks since their last dose.

    ** These updates are subject to change based on rapidly evolving information. **

    Does SCDHEC allow for BCSD to accept results from at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests?

    Berkeley County School District will now accept home test results based on the updated guidance from SCDHEC. When feasible, the at home rapid test should be proctored by a heath care professional. If the test is not proctored by a health care provider then the parent must complete the DHEC Attestation Form in order for the result to be allowed to qualify an individual for isolation or early release from quarantine. Note that an individual may not be released early from isolation as long as they are having symptoms, regardless of their test result. More information: https://www.bcsdschools.net/Page/36272

    Has BCSD adopted the SC DHEC Test to Stay program as an option? 

    **Per SC DHEC guidance, as of March 1, 2022, BCSD has suspended the Test to Stay Program. More information: https://www.bcsdschools.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=890&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=80691&PageID=1

    In order to keep students in school, BCSD is adding the Test-to-Stay (TTS) Program option for students and staff who are deemed a close contact. The TTS Program will allow students and staff who are not fully or maximally vaccinated against COVID to remain in school under the following conditions:

    1. The close contact must be asymptomatic for the 10 day quarantine period (asymptomatic days 1-10 after exposure).
    2. Student/Staff must wear a mask for the 10 day quarantine period
    3. Student/Staff must have a negative COVID-19 test conducted on days 5-7 after exposure
    4. Student/Staff must monitor for symptoms daily

    More information: https://www.bcsdschools.net/Page/36289


    What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

    If the student receives a postive test result for COVID-19, he/she should isolate at home for at least 5 days regardless of vaccination status. If the student is awaiting test results, he/she should isolate at home while results are pending. 

    What happens if a student is exposed to COVID-19, i.e., is a close contact?

    **Per SC DHEC guidance, as of March 1, 2022, BCSD will stop contact tracing, testing and masking of close contacts without symptoms. More information: https://www.bcsdschools.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=890&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=80691&PageID=1

    Individuals with symptoms and those who have tested positive should continue to report this information to the school nurse.

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

    If a close contact is maximally vaccinated for those 18 years and older, or fully vaccinated for those 5-17 years, or are verified (positive PCR, antigen test, or NAAT, not antibody test) to have been infected with COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, and is asymptomatic-

    The close contact does not have to quarantine for any length of time. However, it is recommended he/she:

    1. Wear a mask around others for 10 days from the date of exposure.
    2. Socially distance to the greatest extent possible (for the same period of time).
    3. If he/she remains asymptomatic, he/she is encouraged to test on day 5. 
    4. If he/she becomes symptomatic, he/she needs to notify the school administrator or school nurse immediately and he/she is required to quarantine for 5 days from the date symptoms begin.  
    5. It is recommended that the close contact take a COVID test 5 days after the exposure regardless of vaccination status. 

    If he/she has received the vaccine doses he/she is eligible for (completed initial vaccination series and booster for ages 18 and up, or completed initial vaccination series for ages 5-17), but is symptomatic:

    1. He/she is required to quarantine for 5 days.
    2. It is recommended that the close contact take a COVID test no sooner than 4 days after the exposure regardless of vaccination status. A negative COVID test is recommended before returning to school. 
    3. Current guidelines allow the 10 day quarantine to be shortened to 5 days. The student may return to school on the 6th day (with a recommended negative COVID test), the signed parent letter agreeing to daily temperature checks and required mask wearing from day 6 to day 10.  

    If he/she has NOT received the vaccine doses he/she is eligible for (completed initial vaccination series and booster for ages 18 and up, or completed initial vaccination series for ages 5-17):

    1. He/she is required to quarantine beginning 5 days from the date of exposure.
    2. It is recommended that the close contact take a COVID test no sooner than 4 days after the exposure regardless of vaccination status. 
    3. Current guidelines allow the 10 day quarantine to be shortened to 5 days. The student may return to school on the 6th day with a negative COVID test, the signed parent letter agreeing to daily temperature checks and required mask wearing from day 6 to day 10.

    Information concerning the SC DHEC Test-to-Stay program option can be found here: https://www.bcsdschools.net/Page/36289

    Anyone considered a close contact will be asked the following questions:

    1. Have you been fully vaccinated? (Either the J&J, or both shots of Moderna or Pfizer) The student/parent/guardian does not have to respond to this question. 
    2. If yes, please provide verification of the completed vaccination card.
    3. Do you currently have any Covid symptoms?

    Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine (BCSD will continue to report positive COVID-19 cases)

    • BCSD will follow the SC DHEC requirements when reporting positive cases and contact tracing.
    • Students exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will wait in a protective isolation area until picked up by a parent/guardian (within the hour). While in the isolation area, the student will be asked to wear a mask covering nose and mouth per the SC DHEC guidelines.
    • BCSD will follow the most up-to-date quarantine and isolation guidelines as recommended by SC DHEC.
    • The principal and/or the school nurse will report all positive cases to the BCSD COVID-19 Dashboard/Database. The Nursing Services Coordinator will compile information from the COVID-19 Dashboard/Database and will forward it to SC DHEC.
    • Students will not be required to quarantine if the student or parent/guardian provides verification of vaccination. 

    Please be aware of the following COVID-19 symptoms

    The CDC reports people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms -- ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Please watch for the following.

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker

Please understand that this tool was not created and is not managed by Berkeley County School District. It has been placed on this page as a resource that is also available and offered as a shared tool on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.