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Isolation vs. Quarantine: What’s the difference?

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Academy District 20 leaders say notifications they've sent to parents about students and staff in isolation or quarantine have caused confusion.

A new guide released by District 20 is offering clarification about what it means to isolate or quarantine.

District 20 says the protocol they follow in either circumstance is based on guidance provided by the El Paso County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health.

All districts in the Pikes Peak region follow those same guidelines.

Staff and students who test positive or are probable for COVID-19 are placed in isolation for 10 days.

Those asked to quarantine have been in close contact with someone diagnosed or probable for COVID-19, but haven’t shown symptoms themselves. The quarantine period lasts 14 days.

On Friday, District 20 announced that Air Academy High School will transition to e-learning for the next week because 95 students and eight teachers were placed in quarantine due to coming in close contact "with an individual displaying COVID-like symptoms."

Students and staff in isolation or quarantine aren’t required to get tested for COVID-19, but if they do and test negative, they’re able to return to school; as are students who were considered close contacts.

District 20 leaders say they can't afford any more confusion around what it means to quarantine or isolate.

"Sometimes, people thought 'I've been in quarantine from school but I can still go to soccer practice, I can still go to my youth group,'" says Allison Cortez, Chief Communication Officer for Academy District 20. "When you are in quarantine or isolation, you should not be leaving your home."

In some rare circumstances, individuals have to be out of school for a 10-day isolation period plus another 14 days of quarantine.

District 20 leaders say this happens when someone lives with a person who was placed in isolation.

The close contact must complete the 10-day isolation period along with the person who is positive or probable for COVID-19.

After the isolation period ends, the close contact must also quarantine for 14 days.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can show up to 14 days after being exposed to the virus.

In either case of quarantine or isolation, students and staff in District 20 have to get approval from the district before returning to campus.

Coronavirus / CovidRecovery / Education / Health / Local News / News

Mia Villanueva

Mia is a weekday reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Mia here.

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