What are the quarantine guidelines? (As of January 12, 2022)

The quarantine guidelines are for people who were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Day 1 of quarantine starts the day after the exposure.

People in quarantine should:

  • Stay home and away from others for 5 days. After that, continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 more days. To learn more about well-fitting masks, visit the CDC’s website.
  • If you cannot quarantine, you must wear a mask for 10 days.
  • Watch for COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop symptoms, test immediately and begin isolation.
    • If you do NOT develop symptoms, test on day 5 with an antigen home test or laboratory test
    • If you test negative, you can leave your home. Continue to wear a mask around others for another 5 days
    • If you test positive, isolate for at least 5 days from the date you test positive. If you develop symptoms, re-start isolation for 5 days from the date you develop symptoms.
    • If you cannot get a test 5 days after the last close contact with someone with COVID-19, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have not had any COVID-19 symptoms. For more information about COVID-19 symptoms, visit the CDC’s website.
      • Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after your date of last close contact when around others at home and in public.
      • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, nursing homes and other high-risk settings until after at least 10 days. For more information on COVID-19 and people who are immunocompromised or high-risk, visit the CDC’s website.

What should I do if my child develops symptoms during quarantine?

If your child develops symptoms, get a test and stay home to start isolation.

Who needs to quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19?

  • Anyone who is unvaccinated (such as children under 5 years of age)
  • Anyone not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including primary (first) vaccines and boosters or additional doses (for some immunocompromised people)

Who does not need to quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19?

  • Anyone up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including primary vaccines and boosters or additional doses (for some immunocompromised people)
  • Anyone who has had a positive viral test for COVID-19 within the last 90 days. A viral test is also called a PCR or nasal swab test. (Antigen tests, or at-home tests, do not count for this.)

If my child does not need to quarantine, what should they do?

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days
  • Test on day 5, if possible. If your child tests positive, they should stay home and start isolation.
  • If your child develops symptoms, get a test and stay home to start isolation.

Can my child go to school during quarantine?

Check with your child’s school to see if they can go to school during quarantine. Some schools have test and stay programs, which allow children to go to school during their quarantine. However, they should not participate in other community activities.

What does it mean to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines?

The CDC recommends that everyone stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. Staying up to date means:

  • Anyone age 12 years and older should get a booster within the recommended timeframe.
    • Boosters are due 5 months after receiving the Pfizer® or Moderna® vaccines or 2 months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson® vaccine).
    • The Pfizer® vaccines are approved for children age 5 years and older. The Johnson & Johnson® and Moderna® vaccines are not approved for anyone under 18 years of age.
  • Moderately or severely immunocompromised people age 5 years and older who received the Pfizer® or Moderna® vaccines as their primary vaccines should receive an additional dose of vaccine 28 days after the second dose. People age 12 years and older should also get a booster within the recommended timeframe.

Rev. 1/2022. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.