BURLINGTON, Vt. (WVNY) – The Vermont Agency of Education has told local school districts to stop COVID-19 contact tracing and surveillance testing of students and staff. Instead, education leaders say schools will start giving out rapid antigen tests to staff members and students’ families which can be administered at home. School nurses will still be able test anyone who develops symptoms on school grounds.

Officials with the state agency said the school guidance is being changed because of the Omicron variant. They said the pandemic tools used successfully thus far by K-through-12 schools can’t keep pace with how quickly Omicron is spreading.

Unvaccinated students who’ve been in close contact with an infected patient will be allowed to attend school in person as long as they test negative at home each day. Vaccinated students will be able to attend in person without testing.

The state agency still needs to plan logistics of this new guidance with local school administrators.