What are the different scenarios where my family might have to quarantine during the school year even if no one in our household tests positive for COVID-19?

The New Hampshire Division and Health and Human Services released a “COVID 19 School Toolkit” on September 9th that lays out a couple of different scenarios that might mean a family might need to quarantine during the school year even if no one in their household tests positive for COVID-19.

Travel outside of New England

Scenario A – Whole Family Travels Outside New England

Right now, per the Governor’s orders, any family member that travels outside of New England will need to quarantine from school for 14 days upon their return to New Hampshire. They can return to school after those 14 days assuming they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. A negative test during this quarantine time period will not allow you to come back early per the New Hampshire Public Health Guidelines. 

Scenario B – One Family Member Travels Outside New England and Becomes Symptomatic Back in New Hampshire

If you have a family member that travels outside of New England and develops COVID-19 symptoms when they return, all other members in your family now become “household contacts.” Household contacts will need to quarantine until that family member,  who traveled outside of New England, tests negative for COVID-19.

As a school district, we are recommending the family member who travelled outside of New England gets tested, so that if it comes back negative the students who are “household contacts” can come back to school sooner.  (Assuming they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms)

If your family chooses not to get tested, then the household contacts would need to quarantine for 14 days and could return to school after that time period assuming they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

If you have a family member that travels outside of New England, and they do not develop any symptoms of COVID-19 when they return, then no one from your household will have to quarantine assuming they are not symptomatic themselves.

Being a Close Contact for a confirmed case of COVID-19

A close contact is defined as being under six feet for more than ten minutes.

If one of your family members is determined to be a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, they will need to quarantine for at least 14 days from their last close contact with the confirmed COVID-19 case. It is recommended that they get tested during this quarantine as well, but a negative result will not shorten the length of the quarantine. If after 14 days of quarantine since contact with the confirmed COVID-19 case, and they do not have any symptoms, they can return to school with or without a negative test.

During this time period, when one of your family members is quarantined for being a close contact, all other members of the household will be considered “household contacts.” Those household contacts cannot return to school, and quarantine themselves, until the member in your family that is the close contact tests negative for COVID-19.

As a school system we are recommending that the family member who is determined to be a close contact gets tested, so that a negative test result will allow any student that is considered a household contact to come back to school sooner.