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If a student tests positive for COVID-19, here's how school administrators decide who needs to quarantine

As schools face the reality that some students may eventually test positive for COVID-19, we wanted to walk you through the guidelines put out by the state.

COLORADO, USA — While some schools are welcoming students back to the classroom, others have already opened up and closed down for in-person learning, all within just a couple of weeks. It's expected that some students will eventually test positive for COVID-19. 

Here's how schools around the state take action when a case of COVID-19 is confirmed on campus.

Guidance to schools comes from a long document released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This is a guide for what schools and school districts need to do if students test positive for COVID-19.

So let's say one student tests positive. That student is told to stay home in isolation. 

But the rest of their class or cohort could also be told to quarantine.

To find out if that's necessary school leaders will look at a flow chart, which asks questions like if any other students have symptoms. The state says it's the school's call whether to quarantine others based on one case.

If two or more students or teachers from separate households test positive in a single classroom or cohort, then we have a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.

Again, everyone who has tested positive has to stay home and isolate. But now the rest of the class or cohort must also quarantine.

At this point closing down the school may not be necessary yet, but health experts recommend the school consider a school-wide testing event to determine if there are any more cases.

RELATED: A list of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Colorado schools

RELATED: For working parents, 'supervised' remote learning provides relief

So when are schools told they should shut down in-person learning? 

That would happen if at least 5% of students or teachers in a school have confirmed cases of COVID-19. From there the school would close for 14 days.

Everyone who has tested positive must stay home for 14 days, even if they get a negative test.

You can find more information at this link as well as answers to frequently asked questions from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

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