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Coronavirus: 3 paths for students, teachers who develop symptoms in Minnesota

The guidance is available for all Minnesota families.

After receiving numerous inquiries from parents confused about what to do with their children in the event that they develop any symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health has released detailed guidance that should help answer any questions of parents or school staff. 

Ultimately, there are three paths a person should follow, one for persons with more common symptoms associated with COVID-19, another for anyone experiencing less commons symptoms, and a third path for anyone who has close contact with someone known to be infected with the coronavirus. 

More common symptoms: fever of 100.4℉ or higher, new onset and/or worsening cough, difficulty breathing, and new loss of taste or smell.

Less common symptoms: sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, excessive fatigue, new onset of severe headache, and new onset of nasal congestion or runny nose.

Path 1: People with 1 of the less common symptoms

  1. Evaluate that symptom and determine if the person is well enough to stay in the school or program. 
  2. If yes, attend or remain in school or program. 
  3. If no, they should stay home or be sent home and consider an evaluation from a health care provider or COVID-19 testing. 
  4. If evaluated and/or tested, follow second path numbers 3 – 7. 
  5. If the person is sent home, they can return to the school or program 24 hours after the symptom has improved. 
  6. The person’s siblings or household contacts do not need to stay home or quarantine

Path 2: People with more common symptoms or 2+ of less common symptoms

  1. If yes, the person stays home or is sent home, and their siblings or household contacts stay home or are sent home.
  2. The person with symptoms is either seen by a health care provider for an evaluation and COVID-19 test or they do not seek a medical evaluation. 
  3. If the person does not seek a medical evaluation, they must stay at home in isolation for at least 10 days from the time their symptoms started until symptoms are improved and no fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medications. Siblings and household contacts must stay home and quarantine from all activities for at least 14 days starting with the day they were last in contact with the person who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. 
  4. If the person receives an alternate diagnosis to explain the symptoms, they can then return to school or the program 24 hours after symptoms have improved or as directed by a health care provider. Siblings and household members do not need to stay home or quarantine any longer once the alternate diagnosis is known. 
  5. If the person tests negative for COVID-19, they can return to school or the program 24 hours after symptoms have improved. Siblings and household members do not need to stay home once the negative result is known.
  6. If the person tests positive for COVID-19, they must stay at home in isolation for at least 10 days from the time the symptoms started until symptoms have improved and no fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medications. Siblings and household contacts must stay home and quarantine from all activities for at least 14 days starting with the day they were last in contact with the person who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Path 3: Close contact

A close contact is defined as coming within six feet for at least 15 minutes of someone who is infected. In such a scenario, a person must: 

  1. Quarantine and stay home from all activities for at least 14 days since the last day of contact with the positive case. Even if the close contact receives a negative test result, they need to complete 14 days of quarantine before returning to school or program. Close contacts should seek COVID-19 testing 5-7 days after last contact with the positive case. The siblings and household members of the close contact do not need to stay home or quarantine.
  2. If a person who is a close contact develops symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19, the person must stay home in isolation for at least 10 days from the time their symptoms started until symptoms are improved and no fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medications. Siblings and household contacts also must stay home and quarantine from all activities for at least 14 days.

“The biggest thing we want people to understand is that any Minnesotan – including children – who has been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 needs to stay home for a minimum of 14 days,” said MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann. 

“You can’t test out of quarantine after an exposure. There’s no way to shorten the incubation period. So how you spend your time outside of school has a direct impact on your ability to attend school in-person.”

Here are some helpful links: 

COVID-19 attendance guide for parents and families

COVID-19 Decision Tree for people in schools, youth, and child care programs

Home screen tool for COVID-19 symptoms

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