INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – During Governor Eric Holcomb’s weekly COVID-19 press briefing, the Indiana Department of Health announced changes to the definition of a close contact at schools and quarantine measures that go into effect Monday.

“Data from individual schools in the state and across the U.S. indicate that it is rare for student infections to occur from exposure in the classroom when all parties are masked,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box. “That data shows that only about 3 – 5% of infections occur in the classroom.”

Throughout the pandemic, the department of health has defined a close contact as someone who is within six feet of a positive individual for 15 minutes or longer. Those individuals have been required to quarantine for 14 days.

Dr. Box said that many schools report that they have only been able to separate students by three to four feet in classrooms which have not resulted in increased cases.

After weighing the data, the Indiana Department of Health announced that the need to quarantine or contact trace will no longer be required if students and teachers remain at least three feet apart and are wearing a mask at all times in the classroom.

“This is for the classroom setting only. It does not apply to lunch, athletics, band, orchestra, choir or any other school setting where students may gather. Nor does it apply to classroom where students have been allowed to remove masks,” Dr. Box said.

Changes to quarantine options include:

  • 14-day quarantine is still the safest option
  • 10-day quarantine if the person never develops symptoms and wears a mask at all times when returning to school
  • 7-day quarantine if a negative PCR nasal swab test is conducted on Day 5, 6 or 7 or a negative rapid antigen test upon return to school on Day 8

This information will be shared with schools across the state this week.

View the Indiana Department of Health School Dashboard here.