5 Day Quarantine: Yay or Nay?

Shortened quarantine times are now the new normal for Blaine Bengals.

5 Day Quarantine: Yay or Nay?

Preston Ringer, Writer


I was recently trapped in quarantine. It started when I got COVID-19 from a get-together and had to sit out from school for five days. I’m one of those students who doesn’t like school, but hates missing out on it. This made the quarantine time very challenging, since I felt I was absent from things, and falling behind. I knew I had to quarantine though, since I had most of the symptoms and had the positive test. However, when I realized the quarantine time had been shortened to five days instead of ten, I was genuinely thrilled. I got to go back to school, but I had to wear a mask for five days. This was fine by me, since I didn’t have to fall behind on my classes anymore, especially band class, which I can’t do at home.



By now, many of us have been affected by COVID-19 in some way. It’s been with us for a solid two years. And one of the things that comes with COVID-19 is quarantine. This is the period of time when you have to be alone in a room, or isolated with your family following a positive test or after being around someone that had COVID-19.

Quarantine has historically been a 14-day thing, but things have been changing. It went from 14 at the start of the pandemic, and now it’s 5. But why? Covid has attacked in variants, and knowledge of the virus has increased, those might be some of the many reasons behind it.


Why Should They Shorten the Quarantine?

The quarantine started out at 14, went to 10, and now 5 days. So what’s the deal? Well, it was shortened the first time thanks to more factual evidence as to when COVID is the most prevalent. The first drop to 10 days was for the people without symptoms. Then, they dropped it for everyone on the 27th of December, 2021 thanks to another wave of evidence as to when you are most likely to spread it. This leads to the question…


When Are You Most Likely to Spread COVID?

A recent C-Net article wrote that the CDC said the quarantine is to be shortened to five days, only if the patient has no symptoms, has improving symptoms, or has been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Also, from the same article, you are most likely to spread COVID-19 one to two days before symptoms and two to three days after symptoms start. Since Omicron is so contagious, you must wear a mask after the five-day isolation for at least five days afterwards. This is all proof of the increased knowledge gained as time has gone on. 


*Important note: After quarantine time, try to avoid the use of cloth masks, since they aren’t great at stopping Omicron.*



One of the likely reasons for the shortened quarantines is the different variants of COVID. The earliest standard variant was the most dangerous and got people the sickest. However, it was the least contagious. Since it was the most dangerous, the quarantine times were lengthy, to try to prevent any spread of the disease whatsoever. However, there’s likely another reason behind the 14-day quarantine from the first “wave.” We didn’t know much about it, and we wanted to stay as safe as possible. 


After the first variant, we got Delta. Delta was a slightly less dangerous but more contagious variant. The Delta variant peaked in the USA in September of 2021, meaning the knowledge of this disease was greater. By this point in time, we had been dealing with the pandemic for well over a year.


And then there’s Omicron, the most infectious but least dangerous. This variant is currently the most prominent, and many people have been infected. And at this time, we have more knowledge of the disease than ever. The CDC likely realized this one was least dangerous, so they loosened the chokehold on the guidelines; however, as previously stated, they also had increased knowledge about the pandemic by this time.


How have these changes in quarantine time affected Blaine students?

Now, that’s some background and reasoning for the quarantine times, but how has this quarantine issue affected our fellow students? I decided to ask different people who were affected by quarantine. I asked some individuals as a way to better learn how quarantine hurts or harms groups at this school, as well as individual student life.


Way back in October, the band program got hit hard by a COVID outbreak, and the ten-day quarantine time really hurt us. We lost most of our seniors that were in the marching band, which caused the concert band to lose a lot of sound at the concert. 


Another person who was required to quarantine – back when quarantine was longer – was Dylan Bauer, a senior in the music program. He was forced to miss his first band concert of the year. I asked him if he thought that shrinking the quarantine might be better, due to the fact that some people in the band would’ve made it back in time for the concert if the quarantine was shorter. He said, “I think 5 days is nicer, but worse in a health way.” He did admit, though, that he hated missing the concert. He said, “That sucked a lot to miss, since it’s so much fun. It was a bummer.” The concert went on as planned, though it wasn’t as good as it should’ve been.

Another student recently forced to quarantine was senior Isaiah Demby. He recently missed a week of school from his isolation due to COVID-19. 

“I got tested on Tuesday last week, waited until Friday, got a positive test, so I was stuck in a room, everything by myself.” He did have his trusty Xbox One to play though, just like I did. When I asked his opinion on the shortened quarantine, he said, “A week off was enough time.”


Extra Tips for Avoiding COVID-19, and What to do if You Have It?

Avoiding this variant is tough, but don’t lose hope! According to a recent Eat This, Not That! article, Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu said, “Some of the top ways people are contracting the virus are low vaccination rates, and lack of social distancing. Large social gatherings held in confined spaces with individuals who are not 100% fully vaccinated have also led to an increase in COVID-19 cases.”

Furthermore, keep in mind that getting tested is the best way to make sure you don’t needlessly spread the virus. If positive, follow safety protocols, isolate from others for five days, and then wear a mask for five days after. If a test is negative, make sure to wear a mask if you were exposed.


Stay Safe!