LA County scraps modified quarantine requirement for asymptomatic, vaccinated close contacts

Two students walk along Walker Beach with mountains in the background.
Pomona College will no longer require vaccinated, asymptomatic students to follow modified COVID-19 quarantine protocols when they come into close contact with someone who tests positive. (Cecilia Ransburg • The Student Life)

Fully vaccinated, asymptomatic college students who come in contact with positive COVID-19 cases will no longer need to follow modified quarantine rules, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in an Oct. 21 update to guidelines. Pomona College updated its COVID-19 policy to reflect these changes, President G. Gabrielle Starr announced in an email Tuesday. 

Previously, all asymptomatic students identified as close contacts of COVID-19 cases were placed in modified quarantine, in which they were only allowed to attend classes, pick up food from dining halls and attend academic events until they were released from isolation by Student Health Services after testing negative 3-5 days post exposure.

Individuals in modified quarantine were not allowed to attend social events, team practices or eat inside dining halls. That’s no longer the case under the new guidelines.

Now, these students will no longer need to quarantine or restrict any of their activities if they come in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. They will only be required to self-monitor for symptoms and get tested 3-5 days after exposure.

These changes in guidelines do not affect symptomatic students or students who are not fully vaccinated due to medical or religious exemptions. Students who exhibit symptoms or are unvaccinated will still be placed in standard quarantine if identified as close contacts.

“The shift was driven by data gathered as the semester progressed, and our own Student Health Services contributed to the conversation with public health officials on this matter,” Starr said.

Despite the fact that some restrictions are loosening, Starr also encouraged students to continue wearing masks, testing and following other COVID-19 safety steps, citing officials’ concerns about a potential winter surge.

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