|INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) today announced changes in COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools and childcare programs to reflect declining cases across the state. The department also will begin to reduce its COVID-19 response operations because there is less demand for testing and substantial availability of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment at health provider locations. “These changes reflect the rapid decline in COVID-19 cases as we emerge from the omicron surge and the fact that all school-age children have been eligible to be vaccinated since November,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “While they do not remove the need for continued vigilance, they will ease the reporting burden on schools and help ensure that children can stay in school. ”Beginning Feb. 23:Schools no longer will be required to conduct contact tracing or report positive cases to IDOH.Schools no longer will need to quarantine students who are exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, regardless of vaccination status or whether the school requires masks.Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for five days and may return on Day 6 if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication so long as symptoms are improving, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Individuals should wear a mask through Day 10 any time they are around others inside their homes or in public.Schools are expected to continue assisting local health departments with notification in the event of an outbreak or cluster and are encouraged to continue to share information with families when a case is identified so parents can monitor their children for symptoms.Similarly, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is lifting quarantine requirements for children exposed at their childcare program. Children who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home for five days regardless of symptoms. It’s recommended that children who can correctly and consistently mask return on Day 6; for those who cannot do so, it is recommended they return on Day 8. Indiana’s positivity rate has fallen from 33.6 percent on Jan. 19 to 13.1 percent on Wednesday. Demand for testing also has fallen significantly. As a result: The IDOH testing and vaccination clinic across from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will end operations on Saturday, Feb. 26.IDOH will suspend its testing and vaccination strike teams that had been deployed across the state but will continue to make mobile vaccination and testing units available upon request. Indiana National Guard support for long-term care facilities and hospitals will end March 14, and no new requests will be accepted after Feb. 26.Hoosiers in need of COVID-19 testing can find a site at www.coronavirus.in.gov. Individuals seeking a COVID-19 vaccine can visit www.ourshot.in.gov.