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State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

August 24, 2020

All Californians

Guidance on Returning to Work or School Following COVID-19 Diagnosis

Guidance on Returning to Work or School Following COVID-19 Diagnosis

​This guidance is intended for individuals, except those who work in health care settings, who have tested positive for COVID-19. CDPH recommends adherence to the current CDC guidance on discontinuing isolation and returning to work or school, summarized here for easy reference. Workers in health care settings should follow CDC guidance for health care personnel and any relevant CDPH All Facilities Letter directives.


Individuals who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and who have had symptoms, may return to work or school when:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without use of fever-reducing medications), AND
  • Other symptoms have improved.


Individuals who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 who never develop symptoms, may return to work or school 10 days after the date of their first positive test for SARS-CoV-2. 


Requiring a negative SARS-CoV-2 test prior to returning to work or school is not recommended. Instead, employers and schools should follow the time- and symptom-based approach described above in determining when individuals can return to work or school following COVID-19 diagnosis.


Return to work or school guidelines for all individuals or for specific settings may differ in certain local health jurisdictions in California; individuals should also consult with and follow guidance from their local health departments.

Originally Published on August 24, 2020