Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Poway Unified School District

On January 9, 2024, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. Subsequently, the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency collaborated and updated the COVID-19 Decision Table for K-12 schools on January 22, 2024. The updated guidance will allow individuals to follow a more symptom-based approach as they usually do for other illnesses. 

Poway Unified’s COVID-19 policy is now aligned with the updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health and SDCOE. Students and staff who test positive and are asymptomatic may remain in school or at work. Students and staff who test positive and are experiencing symptoms may return to work or school when they start to feel better, their symptoms are mild and improving, and they have not had a fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medications. There is no longer a '5-day' rule to stay home following a COVID-19 positive test if the individual is asymptomatic or feeling better. 

Below is a summary of the updates:

  • “Infectious period” is now defined as:
  • For COVID-19 cases with symptoms, it is a minimum of 24 hours from the day of symptom onset:
  • COVID-19 cases may return if 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
  • Their symptoms are mild and improving.
  • For COVID-19 cases with no symptoms, there is no infectious period for the purpose of isolation or exclusion. If symptoms develop, the criteria above will apply.

Changes to Testing Recommendations

  • CDPH no longer recommends testing for all close contacts and instead recommends testing only for:
  • All people with new COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Close contacts who are at higher risk of severe disease or who have contact with people who are at higher risk of severe disease.

Masking recommendations after testing positive have not changed. Students who test positive are still encouraged to wear a mask when around others indoors for 10 days from when they tested positive or until they have two negative tests taken one day apart. Staff members who test positive must continue to wear a mask through Day 10 per CalOSHA guidelines.

The COVID-19 Decision Table for K-12 Schools can be found here.