Find out what to do if you or your child has been exposed to COVID-19.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and/or your child's primary care provider or pediatrician will contact you with specific quarantine guidelines, which are unique to your child's exposure and history. In general, these guidelines apply:

If your child is not vaccinated:

  • Have your child stay home for 10-14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
    • Ten to fourteen days since close contact exposure without testing OR
    • Seven days since close contact exposure and after receiving a negative test result (you should wait 5 days after exposure before getting a test – unless you have symptoms)
  • Watch your child for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, have your child stay away from people you live with, especially those at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

If your child is fully vaccinated:

  • If your child is fully vaccinated, they do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

If your child had COVID-19 within the last 3 months:

  • If your child has previously tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered and is subsequently exposed to someone with COVID-19 within 90 days of their original diagnosis, they do not have to stay at home or get tested again, as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
  • Monitor your child's symptoms. If your child has an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Speak with your child’s pediatrician before going to a testing location, as many locations require a referral before they will test you.
    • Whether vaccinated or not, if your child has symptoms, they should be tested.
  • Your child’s pediatrician will provide instructions for testing. There are a variety of testing locations available in the community. Find testing locations in central AR and northwest AR.
  • Until your child's test results are available, everyone in the household should stay home and away from others. If your child's test result is positive, please follow their primary care provider's recommendations for treatment and follow the quarantine guidelines above) for the rest of the household.
  • If possible, have the sick child (and anyone else who has symptoms) keep away from others and use a separate bathroom.
  • Make sure everyone your child lives with who is 2 years and older wears a mask covering their mouths and noses whenever they are with others. Anyone with symptoms or anyone who is caring for the child with symptoms must wear a mask.

COVID Exposure Flow Chart

Kids should quarantine if they have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over 24 hours) with someone who has COVID-19 unless they have been fully vaccinated.

  • Your child should quarantine for an appropriate amount of time:
    • Ten to fourteen days since the day of the close contact exposure without testing OR
    • Seven days since the close contact exposure and after receiving a negative test result (you should wait 5 days after exposure before getting a test – unless you have symptoms)

  • Watch your child for fever (100.4◦F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, have your child stay away from people you live with, especially those at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated kids do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated kids should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

In some cases, kids exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will not need to quarantine if they don’t have any symptoms and if both the infected and exposed individual were consistently and correctly wearing a mask.

  • Notify your child’s school or child care program.
  • Have your child isolate at home for at least 10 days.
    • If your child is immunocompromised or is hospitalized, your child may need a longer isolation period of 20 days. Talk to your child's pediatrician.
  • Have your child stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home.
    • Have them use a separate bathroom, if available.
    • Have them limit contact with pets.
    • Attempt to have one adult care for one sick child
  • Monitor your child’s symptoms:
    • Symptoms include fever, cough, or any of these COVID-19 symptoms
    • Follow care instructions from your child’s pediatrician.
    • Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If your child is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
      • Trouble breathing
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion
      • Inability to wake or stay awake
      • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
      • *This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 if you think your child is experiencing a life-threatening emergency.
  • Call ahead before visiting your child's doctor. Do not go to a doctor's office, urgent care, hospital, or emergency department without calling first to get safety instructions.
  • Have your child wear a facemask when around other people, even if at home or in the car.
  • Your child may be able to return to child care/school only when all the following conditions are met:
    • It has been at least 10 days* since symptoms started and
    • Overall symptoms have improved and
    • Your child has had no fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.
    • Please check with your child's school/child care center for other requirements for returning to school/child care. Additional requirements may apply for your child to return to physical activity and/or sports.
  • If you (the caregiver) are vaccinated and your child tests positive, you do not need to quarantine. However, you will need to get tested on days 3-5 after your child tests positive and again at any point if you develop symptoms.
  • If you (the caregiver) are unvaccinated (and remain asymptomatic), you will need to quarantine with your child.
    • You should quarantine for an appropriate amount of time-based on health department/CDC recommendations:
      • Ten to fourteen days since the day of the close contact exposure without testing OR
      • Seven days since the close contact exposure and after receiving a negative test result (you should wait 5 days after exposure before getting a test – unless you have symptoms)
    • Watch for fever (100.4◦F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially those at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Wear a mask at all times when you are around other people in your household.

*If your child has been hospitalized or has problems with their immune system, they will not be allowed to return until at least 20 days after symptoms start.

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