1 of 5 | The CDC on Thursday dropped several COVID-19 guidelines in response to what it says is the current state of the pandemic in the United States. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer recommending that students who are exposed to COVID-19 quarantine at home, in a set of updated guidelines released Thursday.
The agency is also no longer recommending routine COVID-19 testing for most people who do not have symptoms, according to the new guidance issued with the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
"Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes," the CDC said in a statement.
Administrators at K-12 schools and early care and education centers are advised to "manage exposures based on local context and benefits of preserving access to in-person learning."
"Schools and ECE programs can also consider recommending masking and/or testing for a classroom in which a student was recently exposed who is unable to consistently and correctly wear a mask," CDC said.
The new guidance also does not differentiate over whether or not people are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
"The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years," CDC senior epidemiologist Greta Massetti told reporters Thursday.
Advice for people who do test positive for COVID-19 has not changed.
The CDC still recommends that people isolate for at least five days, and can end isolation after five days if they have no fever. Masking is also still recommended for 10 days after recovery from the virus.
"High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection and the many available tools to protect the general population and protect people at higher risk allow us to focus on protecting people from serious illness from Covid," Massetti said.
Most of the guidelines will continue to rely on the CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels benchmarks, which incorporate hospitalization figures into determining whether individual counties carry a low, medium, or high level of the virus.