Quarantine and isolation periods are now shortened for kids in child care programs with universal masking from 10 days to 5 days.
“We know the 10-day period has been difficult for families to manage and has affected business operations for providers,” said Oregon Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee in a release announcing the changes.
“This adjustment should give greater flexibility to help respond to COVID-19 cases in care, while still keeping a focus on safety.”
The guidance from ELD maintains the 10-day exclusion period “if there is not universal mask wearing.” However, it says if requiring staff to quarantine or isolate for 10 days would create a “significant hardship,” then “ELD advises program managers to consult with their local public health authority.”
The guidance also says individuals who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days are considered to have immunity and do not need to quarantine. Anyone up to date with vaccines and boosters are also exempted from quarantine but both groups should still monitor for symptoms.
Children who cannot be vaccinated and haven’t had COVID-19, must quarantine if they are exposed.
Unlike K-12 settings, where schools may use a test-to-stay program to keep students in school and out of quarantine, that is not an option for child care programs “at this time.”
Oregon health officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger said with vaccines unavailable for Oregon’s youngest children and varying masking policies, rules are different for child care programs compared to schools.
“While masks are recommended for all individuals two years old and up, there are child care sites where children under age five do not wear masks,” Sidelinger said.
“The nature of interactions in these settings results in prolonged and often close contact. Masking helps to decrease the risk of spread and allow for a shorter return after illness or exposure into these settings with low rates of vaccination overall, especially with the high amounts of community spread throughout Oregon.”