Get Caught Up: Michigan updates COVID-19 school quarantine guidance for vaccinated, unvaccinated students -- here’s a review

In-person learning resumes for most in Michigan

Girl reaching for stencils in a classroom while wearing a mask. (WDIV)

As Michigan students return to the classroom, MDHHS has updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

MDHHS recommends local health departments and schools work together to quickly isolate COVID-19 cases among students and staff, identify close contacts of those cases and adopt quarantine policies that reduce the risk of transmission in schools while allowing in-person learning. When evidence-based prevention measures, including universal masking, are in place, modifications may be made to the 10- to 14-day at-home quarantine.

Previous coverage: Michigan health department recommends universal masking in schools

School quarantine guidance for asymptomatic students who were exposed to a student infected with COVID-19 varies depending on a variety of circumstances. In all cases, the student who has tested positive for COVID-19 should isolate and follow directions from their local health department. Any individual that displays COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should be tested and isolate as directed.

✔️ Under the new guidance, a student exposed to COVID-19 can remain in school under the following scenarios:

  • A fully vaccinated student (regardless of whether they wore a mask) who came in close contact with a COVID-positive student. The exposed student can remain in school if they wear a mask and monitor symptoms for 14 days after their exposure. They should test for COVID-19 three to five days after their last exposure to the COVID-positive student. If the exposed student tests positive, then the student should isolate and follow directions from their local health department.
  • An unvaccinated student who was masked and exposed to a COVID-positive student who was also masked in an indoor school setting, so long as the students remained at least three to six feet apart. The exposed student can remain in school if they wear a mask, but they should monitor symptoms for 14 days following the exposure.
  • An unvaccinated student who was masked and exposed to a COVID-positive student who was also masked in an indoor school setting, but the students were less than three feet apart and the student tests daily.
  • The exposed student can remain in school if they wear a mask. They should monitor symptoms for 14 days and test daily before coming into the school building for the seven days following the exposure. They should continue to monitor for symptoms for a total of 14 days following the exposure.
  • The exposed student should work with their school district and local health department to determine options available for daily testing. If the student cannot complete daily testing for seven days following the exposure, the student should not remain in school and should follow the guidance below.

⛔ An unvaccinated student exposed to COVID-19 should not remain in school under the following scenarios:

  • If the exposed or COVID-positive student, or both were not wearing a mask. Unvaccinated students who are unmasked are more likely to become ill because they are more likely to have been exposed to larger amounts of virus.
  • The exposed student should not remain in school, and instead the student should quarantine at home for 10 days following the exposure.
    • They may return after day 10 if they have not had any symptoms during those 10 days. They should continue to monitor for symptoms for a total of 14 days following the exposure.
    • The student may return after day seven if they test negative that day and do not have symptoms. They should continue to monitor for symptoms for a total of 14 days following the exposure.
  • A student who was masked and exposed to a COVID-positive student who was also masked in an indoor school setting, but the students were less than three feet apart and the student does not test daily.

“The best protection against COVID-19 are the three safe and effective vaccines we have available, and we urge all eligible Michiganders to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “As many of our students are too young to be vaccinated, masks are an important tool to prevent the spread of the virus and allow for in-person learning to continue uninterrupted.”

(You can view the full MDHHS guidance document here)

Related: Tracking Michigan school districts, colleges requiring masks for 2021-2022 school year


Get Caught Up” is ClickOnDetroit’s Saturday news review to help readers catch up on the biggest stories of the week.


As Michigan students return to the classroom, MDHHS has updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

What the FDA is saying about COVID-19 vaccines for young children

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 as COVID-19 makers are racing to submit clinical data seeking regulatory approval for vaccines in children younger than 12.

In summary:

  • The FDA says clinical trials testing COVID-19 vaccines for children are expected to include a follow-up period of at least about two months, “to allow for proper safety monitoring following the administration of vaccine doses for at least half of the clinical trial vaccine recipients.”
  • This comes after Pfizer-BioNTech said earlier on Friday that it will soon seek global approval to use its COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as 5 years old. Pfizer said it is preparing to make smaller doses of the vaccine for the younger children.
  • “We will be presenting the results from our study on five- to 11-year-olds to authorities around the world in the coming weeks,” Ozlem Tureci, the co-founder of BioNTech and its chief medical officer, told Der Spiegel, a German news site, in an interview published on Friday.
  • The FDA said once the manufacturers complete the relevant portion of their clinical trials, they have to complete the analysis of the data from the studies to understand how safe the vaccine is and how well it works in the clinical trial participants.
  • “The FDA will work closely with each manufacturer to ensure this data analysis is robust and meets regulatory standards. After manufacturers analyze their clinical trial data, they will compile the information and may request an emergency use authorization (EUA) or submit for approval a biologics license application (BLA), as appropriate, for this young population to the FDA,” reads a statement from the FDA.
  • When a completed request for EUA or approval has been received by the FDA, the agency will “carefully, thoroughly and independently examine the data to evaluate benefits and risks and be prepared to complete its review as quickly as possible, likely in a matter of weeks rather than months. However, the agency’s ability to review these submissions rapidly will depend in part on the quality and timeliness of the submissions by manufacturers,” reads the FDA statement.

Read more here.


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About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.