Since September 2021, and as explained in our prior post, Executive Order 13G and Implementation Guidance for Executive Order 13G issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (“DPH Guidance”) have required school boards to comply with various requirements regarding COVID-19 vaccination, exemption, and testing for covered workers. In the weeks leading up to, and during, the winter break, there were several important updates to the DPH Guidance as a result of the prevalence of the Omicron variant, the high demand for COVID-19 testing, and a focus on prioritizing testing for symptomatic individuals, which we previously summarized here.
On January 6, 2022, in light of developments in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and clinical testing shortages stemming from an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate, the DPH issued an Amendment to Implementation Guidance for Executive Order 13G (the “Amended DPH Guidance”), which addresses changes to testing requirements, documentation of test results, and protocols for return to work after a positive COVID-19 test result. Specifically, the Amended DPH Guidance reiterates certain provisions from the DPH Guidance and includes the following changes:
- Covered workers who are subject to weekly testing do not have to test when teleworking for 100% of the weekly testing period, but such individuals must submit a test result before returning to their worksite.
- Home or self-testing with an FDA approved or authorized COVID-19 test kit now constitutes an acceptable method to comply with the weekly testing requirements for workers who are exempt from or opted out from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
- A positive test result from home or self-testing with an FDA approved or authorized COVID-19 test kit is acceptable proof of COVID-19 infection. However, for individuals seeking a temporary waiver from the testing requirement on the basis of being infected with COVID-19, the individual’s healthcare provider must still complete a temporary waiver request and may note that the individual has provided the provider proof of a positive test result from such a COVID-19 test kit on the form as part of their certification.
Return to Work After Receiving a Positive COVID-19 Test Result
- Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 should (1) contact their medical provider to seek advice for disease management, and (2) contact their human resources designee to report their positive test result.
- Based on recently updated CDC guidance, it is now recommended that, regardless of their vaccination status, individuals who have had COVID-19:
- isolate for 5 days;
- return to work and other activities on day 6 or later, provided they have been fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are improving;
- continue to wear a mask at work and maintain distance around others for the 5 days following return to work;
- stay at home if still sick after 5 days and follow district guidance for absence from work for a period of 14 days; and
- continue to observe all masking and social distancing protocols that are in effect in schools and school-sponsored activities.
For questions regarding the Amended DPH Guidance, please contact Jessica Richman Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, Andy Bellach, email@example.com, Natalia Siera Millán, firstname.lastname@example.org or Dori Pagé Antonetti, email@example.com.