CDC reports on test-to-stay practice at schools

Dec. 21, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is promoting test-to-stay practices in K-12 schools through updated information on its website and in two reports in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The CDC describes test-to-stay (TTS) as “a practice comprised of contact tracing and serial testing (testing that is sequentially repeated) to allow school-associated close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to continue in-person learning during their quarantine period."

The CDC said the purpose of TTS is to “minimize the impact of quarantine and limit school absences after a SARS-CoV-2 exposure in the K-12 school setting.”

The CDC reports on the use of TTS in school districts in Los Angeles County, CA, and Lake County, IL.

In Los Angeles County, a study compared COVID-19 student case rates (CRs) in 39 school districts that implemented TTS to 39 school districts using traditional quarantine. The data spanned September 20-October 31, 2021. The ratio of student COVID-19 case rates in TTS districts compared with non-TTS districts was similar before and after TTS adoption. Schools implementing TTS did not identify tertiary transmission among school-related outbreaks.

Meanwhile, K-12 schools in Lake County, IL implemented TTS during the fall 2021 semester. In a study of 90 schools that implemented the program, secondary transmission remained low, at 1.5% among 1,035 students and staff members enrolled in the program. None of the secondary cases appeared to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to other school-based contacts. However, nine additional cases in five households were identified among household contacts of the 16 secondary cases.

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