What do employers and staff need to know about COVID-19 isolation? (TK-12; Childcare Programs)
Staff in schools or programs for children and youth should follow the isolation and quarantine guidelines in CDPH’s COVID-19 guidelines for the general public.
Do students/youth still need to quarantine if they were exposed to someone with COVID-19? (TK-12; Childcare Programs)
Exposed students should follow CDPH’s COVID-19 guidelines for the general public and may continue to attend school and extracurricular activities unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.
They should also get tested 3-5 days after their last exposure and wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days.
If my child has a runny nose but no other symptoms of COVID-19, should he/she stay home from school? (TK-12)
If testing is available, it is recommended to test at the onset of runny nose.
It would be unlikely for a child to experience runny nose as the only symptom of COVID-19. If a child has a runny nose but no other symptoms of COVID-19, it would be reasonable to allow that child to remain at school, provided the child does not develop any other symptoms of COVID-19.
When can a symptomatic student return to school? (TK-12)
Before returning to school, a student with symptoms of COVID-19 should have either:
- A negative COVID-19 test: If the student tests negative, they can return to school when at least 24 hours have passed since resolution of any fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and other symptoms have improved. The negative test result should be provided to the school, and a doctor’s note is not needed.
- OR a medical note that details an alternative explanation for the symptoms: A doctor’s note* is only valid for returning to school if:
- The student’s symptoms are identical to those of a documented underlying chronic condition (e.g., asthma, allergies, or diabetes);
- OR the healthcare provider determined, through a medical evaluation of the person, that there is an alternative, named diagnosis (e.g., Strep throat or hand foot and mouth disease) that explains the symptoms experienced.
- OR 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms, symptoms have improved, and student has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
*For a doctor’s note to be valid documentation of the above situations, the doctor must provide a written explanation that includes all of the following: certification that a medical evaluation was completed; an alternative explanation for symptoms; and a statement that COVID-19 testing is not indicated.
When can a case or close contact return to school or childcare? (TK-12; Childcare Programs)
Individuals who tested positive for, or were exposed to, COVID-19 can return to school if they meet the criteria detailed in CDPH’s COVID-19 guidelines for the general public. Infected and exposed students should, and infected and exposed employees must, wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days.
Individuals who refuse testing and/or evaluation should be treated as a COVID-19 case and can return based on the usual isolation criteria of 10 days after symptom onset and 24 hours after resolution of fever and improvement of other symptoms.
FDA-authorized antigen home tests are recommended for testing to return to school or childcare settings after COVID-19 exposure or during isolation.
Children under 2 years of age with COVID-19 infection must test negative to discontinue isolation after Day 51.
1CDPH says that testing is not necessary for children under 2 to return to childcare after Day 5 of isolation, but Santa Clara County requires testing for children under 2 for return from isolation. This is the only area where Santa Clara County guidance differs from current CDPH Guidance for Child Care Providers and Programs.
How should we notify families of COVID-19 cases in the school or program? (TK-12; Childcare Programs)
CDPH recommends that schools:
CDPH strongly recommends that schools utilize (or begin transitioning to) the notification-based model provided in Group Tracing Approach to Students Exposed to COVID-19 in a K-12 setting. In this approach, students are notified of their exposure, test 3-5 days after, and stay in school unless they develop symptoms or test positive).
View a Sample Group Tracing Notification Letter to Parents/Guardians of Students Exposed to COVID-19 in School (updated 07/01/22) here: | English | Spanish | Vietnamese |
Should students, teachers, and other school staff be routinely tested? (TK-12)
CDPH’s School Testing Overview outlines the State of California’s recommendations and support for testing of students, teachers, and other school staff. In addition to testing of symptomatic individuals and close contacts, screening testing can be helpful in preventing COVID-19 transmission on campus.
Note that in CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools, 2022-2023 School Year, antigen tests are recommended as the primary option for detecting COVID-19 in schools, compared to PCR tests.