COVID-19 Testing and Quarantine
COVID-19 testing is one important tool in the multiple layers of safety deployed by San Juan Unified to protect everyone’s health. If your test result indicates that you are, may be, or may have recently been infected with COVID-19 you will be asked to quarantine and a process will be implemented to identify those who may qualify as close contacts that also need to be quarantined.
Type of Tests
There are two types of COVID-19 screening tests.
Antigen (rapid test) - this type of test detects protein fragments that are specific to the virus. It produces results in about 15 minutes that can be interpreted on site without the need to send the sample to a laboratory. It is useful to detect current and active infections. The test does have a high false negative rate and is more likely to miss individuals in the early stages of an infection or those who are at the end of an infection. The false positive rate with this test is very low. If the test returns a positive result it is highly likely that the COVID-19 virus is actively present in your system.
PCR - this type of test detects genetic material (RNA) specific to the virus. It can detect infections within days of exposure even among those who have no symptoms. The turnaround time is longer as the test is processed in a laboratory setting, meaning results are usually not available for 24 to 72 hours. PCR tests can be highly sensitive depending on the manufacturer and lab used with some able to detect remnants of past infections as well as current infections. Due to the sensitivity of this test, it is possible for this test to reflect a positive result, but not be actively infectious; this is sometimes referred to as a false positive.
Antibody - this type of test detects your immune system’s response to the virus. This type of test is not used to determine active infection or quarantine periods.
When being screened for COVID-19 your result may be reported in one of several ways. Different tests and providers will use different language but most have similar categories to those presented here.
Negative (Not Detected) - The test did not detect the virus in your system.
Positive (Detected) - The test detected the proteins (antigen test) or genetic material (PCR test) associated with the virus in your system. This result is valid whether or not you have any symptoms.
Presumptive Positive - The test found marginal traces of material associated with the virus in your system. This could be from an early infection or an infection that has nearly run its course.
Inconclusive - An inconclusive result is most often the result of not enough sample material being collected on the nasal swab. It indicates that the test was unable to be successfully run and make a determination.
Damaged or Error - This result indicates that there was a problem with the sample collected. This is most often the result of a test tube breaking in shipment or coming unsealed within its bag.
The requirements to quarantine have been adjusted by health officials as more has been learned about the virus and community health conditions change. Please check back frequently for any changes to the quarantine requirements currently in place.
Who sets requirements?
San Juan Unified is required to follow all county health, Cal/OSHA and California Department of Public Health requirements related to quarantine practices. The federal Centers for Disease Control does publish recommendations which are taken into consideration but they cannot be utilized unless adopted by state and local agencies.
What is quarantine?
Quarantine is a strategy used to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by preventing and limiting contact between those who have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive person and may be infected and other individuals who have not. When required to quarantine, an individual may not be on school grounds for any purpose - this includes both students and staff members unless specifically approved for retesting (see retesting information below). The quarantined individual should remain at home and not travel outside of their home where they could come into close contact with other individuals.
How long does someone have to quarantine?
Exposed to Someone who has Tested Positive
Exposure generally occurs when an individual spends cumulatively more than 15 minutes (within a 24 hour period) within six feet of a COVID-19 positive person. However, the threshold for exposure may be much less if the conditions of the exposure occurred during high-exertion athletics, particularly if indoors. If you are determined to have been exposed you will be required to quarantine.
- The quarantine will last for 10 days from the last date of exposure.
- The quarantine will not be lifted if the exposed person tests negative for COVID-19.
- Post-exposure testing only demonstrates the health or COVID status prior and up to the point of the test. It does not predict whether the virus will develop during the remaining days of quarantine.
- The quarantine may be lifted early if the individual who tested positive demonstrates their test is the result of a past infection or a false positive test result (see retesting information below).
Exception to Quarantine
- Individuals who have been fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine if exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. To be eligible, the following conditions must be met prior to or at the time of exposure:
- Have been vaccinated with both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
- 14 days or more have passed since their final vaccination was administered.
- Be within 90 days of their final vaccination being administered.
- Show proof of vaccination in the form of their vaccination record from a vaccine clinic or health professional.
How long does someone who receives a positive result have to isolate?
Positive or Presumptive Positive Test Result
A presumptive positive result is treated the same as a positive result. The individual in question must isolate immediately upon notification of the test result. Contact tracing to identify exposed close contacts will begin.
- The isolation period will last for 10 days from the earlier of when symptoms began or when the test was taken (if asymptomatic)
- May be lifted early if a doctor provides documentation that the individual is not currently infectious (i.e., is likely to have been previously infected).
- May be lifted early if the individual obtains one negative result from a PCR test taken between 24 and 48 hours after the original positive test and the following additional conditions are met:
- The individual must currently be and have been asymptomatic for the previous 14 days
- The individual must not be currently identified as an exposed close-contact under direction to quarantine in any other positive case
- The individual must have no known exposures to a COVID-19 positive person within the previous 14 days.
- Antigen tests are not acceptable.
Where can a student retest if needed?
Students and staff who are asymptomatic (not currently experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms) can test at any of the district’s COVID-19 testing locations via PCR test. (https://www.sanjuan.edu/covidtest).
Students who have received a presumptive positive or positive result and wish to challenge the result should retest.
Symptomatic, but unconfirmed or untested persons
Those who are symptomatic but do not have a confirmed COVID-19 test result or known exposure must follow the staying home if sick guidance.