COLUMBIA - A 'test to stay' option will now be an option for Missouri public school students and staff who are obligated to quarantine due to being a close contact.

The 'test to stay' option was added to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's reopening and operating guidance, which was updated on Oct. 8.

According to the guidance, close contacts would be able to stay in school and forgo quarantining if they continue to test negative for COVID-19 and do not show symptoms. 

The guidance says quarantine outside of school setting is recommended, but close contact students may stay in school and participate in extracurricular activities.

The new modified quarantine option follows the state's relaxation of the CDC'S 14-day quarantine.  In November 2020, Missouri announced that students and staff who were in close contact would not have to quarantine if both individuals were wearing masks at the time of the exposure.

The first test would be administered upon identification as a close contact. Test two and three would be rapid tests within the first seven days of the quarantine period.

Students wishing to participate in an extracurricular activity must take a rapid antigen test on the day of participation and receive a negative result prior, according to the guidance.

Districts participating in test to stay are also eligible for the COVID-19 Supplemental Funding Program for K-12 Schools.

Columbia Public Schools, Fulton Public Schools, Southern Boone School District and Jefferson City School District did not return KOMU's call for comment. Mexico Public Schools says they are reviewing the guidance.

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