Respiratory Illness Recommendations

These recommendations offer information about when to stay home and when to go back to normal activities after respiratory illnesses. Please note that those who test positive for COVID-19 are no longer required to isolate and should instead follow the recommendations below, which also apply to illnesses such as influenza and RSV. 


The following guidelines have been updated starting March 2024. These guidelines are consistent with the most recent guidance provided by NYS Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and have been reviewed by the District Physician. 

When to Stay Home

Individuals should stay home and away from others, including people they live with who are not sick, if they have respiratory virus symptoms that are not better explained by another cause. These symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, and headache.

When to Return

As with any other illness regardless of cause, individuals can go back to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, both of the following are true:

  • Symptoms are getting better overall, and
  • They no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medication.

When going back to normal activities, individuals should take added precautions over the next 5 days, including taking additional steps for cleaner air, hygiene, masks, physical distancing, and testing when they will be around other people, especially older adults, young children, and those with weakened immune systems. 

Keep in mind that people may still be able to spread the virus that made them sick, even if they are feeling better, so it is important to take extra precautions after resuming normal activities.

If individuals develop a fever or start to feel worse, they should stay home and away from others again. They should use the same criteria for returning to normal activities as when they first had symptoms and take added precautions over the next 5 days.