Labor-shortages, CDC-changes, five-day-quarantine, oh my!

In May 2020, the demand for workers dropped significantly. Because of the drop in available jobs, the number of people unwilling to work went unnoticed. That is until the last eight months, when the demand for workers increased, but the number of willing professionals is still continuing to decrease in what is being dubbed the “Great Resignation.” 

There is plenty of speculation as to why this is the case: people want more money, they do not like their job, they want more flexibility, they need to care for children, they have health risks concerning the coronavirus, or they are simply too stressed or burnt out. Another speculation is that people are turning away from traditional 9-to-5 jobs and starting small businesses or growing a digital platform to become social media influencers. Bottom line is that there is a noticeable decrease in people willing to work in their current environment. 

Recently, there has been a change in the CDC guidelines concerning quarantine and isolation, which many believe to be related to the labor shortage. The guidelines are as follows-

Quarantine for unvaccinated: stay at home for five days, wear a mask, watch for symptoms, and get tested.

Quarantine for vaccinated: no quarantine needed, wear a mask, watch for symptoms, and get tested.

Isolation for symptomatic: stay home for five days and until you are fever-free for 24 hours (without medication), wear a mask, and avoid exposure to high risk. 

Isolation for asymptomatic: stay at home for five days.

Many speculate that the changes with the new CDC guidelines relate to the lack of working people in the workforce. By shortening quarantine/isolation, it will allow more people to work as normal, filling in for the missing laborers. 

NOTE: Quarantine is for those who have been exposed but do not necessarily test positive. Isolation is for those who have tested positive for the virus.

In accordance with the new CDC changes, the CUSD updated their quarantine/isolation policy as of Jan. 3rd in an attempt to reduce remote learning. The guidelines are as follows-

NOTE: Students are considered unvaccinated until proof of vaccination is provided. 

Any student with symptoms is required to stay at home for 24 hours. 

Quarantine for unvaccinated and asymptomatic: wear a mask at school for 10 days OR wear a mask for five days and provide a negative COVID test.

Quarantine for vaccinated and asymptomatic: attend school as normal.

Isolation: isolate for five days; after five days, students may return if asymptomatic and wearing a mask. 

This means that students who tested positive for COVID and those exposed may spend less time at home, and students who are exposed but are vaccinated may not spend any time at home at all. As always, the school is in charge of contact-tracing in the case of a positive test. 

Other than the fact that the shortened isolation/quarantine period allows more students and staff on campus, the school has not made any other changes. “Really, it’s just business as usual. This is just what we do. We continue to work because we’re living in the same world that [the students] are,” said Principal Heather Patterson. 

As always, the CDC and Chandler Unified School District recommends wearing a mask and good hand-washing practices in addition to staying home if you are feeling sick. To find out more about the CDC or CUSD guidelines, visit their websites.