Legal Update Memo No. 06-2022 – CDPH Revises its K-12 School Guidance to Give a New Group Tracing Notification Option for Student Exposures (K-12)

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On January 12, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) revised its COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year.[1]  CDPH revised its student quarantine guidance and provided a new “Group Tracing” Notification process as a less onerous option to pre-existing quarantine and contact tracing guidelines for K-12 students.[2] Attached at the end of this Legal Update is CDPH’s sample Group Tracing Notification letter to Parents/Guardians for Student Exposures.

A student “close contact” is defined as more than 15 minutes over a 24 hour period within six feet in an indoor space (including on buses) at school (“exposure”). For students who have been exposed at school to a person who tested positive, K-12 schools can now follow one of the two options:


-For Vaccinated Students, or Students who had a COVID-19 infection within last 90 days, who are Exposed: No quarantine needed unless have symptoms or test positive. Wear a mask for 10 days.

-For Unvaccinated Students who are Exposed – Both Parties Wearing a Mask: No quarantine needed if, for 10 days after, are asymptomatic, undergo twice weekly testing, and excluded from extracurricular school activities (including sports) and community activities – OR – quarantine for five days and return after Day 5 if asymptomatic and a negative test from Day 5 or later.

-For Unvaccinated Students who are Exposed – Unmasked: Stay home for 5 days, can return if no symptoms AND tests negative; and should wear a mask until day 10. Otherwise, stay home for 10 days.


After an exposure (shared indoor space for over 15 minutes in a 24 hour period with a positive case at school), K-12 schools can send a notice to parents of “groups” of exposed students (classmates, sports teammates, extracurricular cohorts, etc.) in lieu of contact tracing.  Regardless of vaccination or prior infection status, or whether masked, students do not have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms or test positive. Students are strongly recommended to get tested 3-5 days after exposure.  Students must continue to wear a mask indoors. Exposed students must participate in testing in order to take part in sports and extracurricular activities.

*Please note that, as of January 8, 2022, for students or employees who test positive, CDPH recommends staying home for at least five days, regardless of vaccination status, previous COVID-19 infection, or lack of symptoms. Isolation can end after Day 5 if asymptomatic and a negative test from Day 5 or later, and the individual stays masked indoors through Day 10. Otherwise, the individual is to stay home through Day 10.[3]

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The information in this Legal Update is provided as a summary of law and is not intended as legal advice.  Application of the law may vary depending on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.  We, therefore, recommend that you consult legal counsel to advise you on how the law applies to your specific situation.

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