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New York City Shortens COVID Quarantine Period For Students And Teachers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New policies affecting New York City's public schools take effect Monday. The city is shortening COVID quarantine and isolation periods.

Teachers and students in kindergarten and up who test positive are now required to isolate for five days instead of 10 if they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported.

The policy applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

"I think that, as long as they don't have any long symptoms then it's OK," one parent said.

"Well they need an education, but also safety. That's how I look at it," another parent said. "I'm not with it."

Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams said the city is seeing a rapid drop in cases.

"They remain high, but clearly they are declining. Hospitalizations are down, COVID deaths are down," Adams said.

Still, 2,300 New Yorkers died in January.

According to Adams, the city's vaccination rate is higher than the national average. Eighty-five percent of adults are fully vaccinated. Seventy-six percent of adolescents are, but only 36% of kids ages five to 12 are.

"I urge all parents to extend the protection of vaccination to your kids," New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said.

There was good news Sunday for those who test positive for COVID; New York City announced it's offering free, same-day delivery of two COVID antiviral pills.

The medication is available for anyone with a prescription who is at high risk.

"Taken for five days, help stop the virus from reproducing, which reduces the amount of virus in the body and prevent symptoms from getting worse," Dr. Chokshi said.

In New Jersey, the number of positive cases dropped from more than 9,000 on Friday to closer to 2,000 on Sunday.

Gov. Phil Murphy said it's time to restore a sense of normalcy.

"We're not going to manage this to zero. We have to learn how to live with this," Murphy said.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib said the BA.2 variant could slow case decline, but symptoms seem to be mild.

"There's some critical questions. Is it more contagious? It appears to be more contagious. Data out of Denmark from the Serum Institute suggests it's about 1.5 times more contagious than the strain of Omicron that has made it around the U.S.," Gottleib said.

The latest study out of the U.K. suggests a fully-boosted person may be more protected against the new variant.

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