BOSTON (CBS) — As kids return to school, many parents may be wondering what happens to their child’s learning experience in the case they have to quarantine due to COVID exposure.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), there is a chance for students to learn remotely if the school is set up to do it.

DESE says students can join their class remotely if their classroom is set up to handle that.

“If schools have the ability to allow students to join their schedule remotely, then they may do so,” the department said. “Consistent with DESE’s guidance on student attendance, quarantining students who participate in at least half of the school day activities can be marked present.”

However, if a school does not have a remote learning option, the school has to handle the quarantine like any other absence, and they have to work on a way to get the assignments out to the kids.

DESE also sent guidance Wednesday for schools to adopt a Test and Stay program, which can minimize the amount of time required to quarantine outside of school districts.

Under test and stay, a student who is a close contact but asymptomatic can stay in school while getting tested daily and before attending extracurricular activities.

If the school does not have test and stay, asymptomatic students can return after eight days with a negative test or 11 days without a test.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Those exempt from testing in the case they are asymptomatic include anyone that was:

  • Fully vaccinated
  • At least 3 feet apart from a close classroom contact and masked
  • Bus close contact if both parties were masked and bus windows were open
  • infected with COVID within the past 90 days

Meanwhile, students who test positive for COVID will be sent home for at least 10 days. If after 10 days the student feels better and is fever free, they can return to school.

Traditional protocol has students returning after eight days with a negative test or 11 days without a test.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

More information on DESE COVID protocols is available here. Staff