Guidance for Return to Work and School

The Georgia Department of Public Health offers information and guidance about returning to work or school after you have been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive. You can view and download all the DPH school guidance on the DPH website.

Helpful information is also available through the Centers for Disease Control website.

Returning to Work or School After COVID-19 Exposure or Infection

Appropriate quarantine and isolation are crucial in reducing the spread of COVID-19. How long will you need to stay home if you’ve been exposed or if you test positive for COVID-19? Explore the following web sections for answers to many of your questions about returning to work or school after exposure or infection with COVID-19.

Quarantine vs. Isolation

Quarantine and isolation may sound similar, but they’re not the same. The guidance is different for someone in quarantine and someone in isolation.

Quarantine separates people who have been exposed to a contagious illness like COVID-19 to prevent them from spreading the illness to others if they become sick. Isolation separates people who have a contagious disease from people who are not infected.

In other words, if you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 but don’t know if you are infected, you would quarantine to see if infection develops. If you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test, or if you’ve been exposed to someone with the illness and now you have symptoms too, you would isolate to avoid infecting others.

Click on the sections below to learn more about the quarantine and isolation rules, and when you can safely return to work or school.

I’ve Been Exposed to Someone with COVID-19

You’ve been in close contact (less than 6 feet apart for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has COVID-19. What should you do next, and when can you return to work or school?

Quarantine Rules

I’ve Tested Positive
or I Am Sick

You’ve tested positive for COVID-19, or you were exposed to someone with the virus and now you’re sick. What should you do next, and when can you return to work or school?

Isolation Rules