Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

Children and Teens Experiencing Homelessness

Children and Teens Experiencing Homelessness

Summary of Recent Changes

Key points

COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is caused by a virus that is mainly spread from person to person. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it. This virus has made many people sick.

How to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

Here’s what you need to know to help protect yourself and people you care about from COVID-19.

  • Stay in touch with your case workers, group home staff, or shelter staff. They can help you understand what’s happening with COVID-19 in your community.
  • Get vaccinated as soon as you can if you are 12 years or older. You can talk to your case workers, group home staff, or shelter staff to help you find a vaccine near your location. You can also search on your own: Find a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Get consent if you live in a state that requires a parent or legal guardian to give you permission to get the vaccine. You can talk to your case workers, group home staff, or shelter staff to find out if you need consent and how to get it.

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • You are fully vaccinated 2 weeks after your second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or 2 weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.Find out what you can do after you are fully vaccinated.
  • If you are staying in a shelter or other group home, wear a mask any time you are not in your room or on your bed/mat (in shared sleeping areas). See How to Wear Masks for more information.

If you are not fully vaccinated:

  • Wear a mask when indoors and when staying in a shelter. If you need to remove your mask, stay at least 2 arm lengths (6 feet) from other people.
  • When outdoors, stay 6 feet from other people. If you can’t do that, wear a mask.
  • Avoid hanging out in groups when possible.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

  • You can get sick from other people who are sick, so try to stay away from them as much as possible. Let a case worker or shelter staff know if you or others are sick and may need a doctor.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If you don’t have soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

If you get sick

  • Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, a hard time breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell. If you have any of these symptoms, let someone (like a case worker) know so you can get help, if needed.
  • If your symptoms get worse (like you have trouble breathing or pain/pressure in your chest, confusion or pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone), call 911 or get immediate help from a doctor or medical professional.
  • Stay away from other people as much as possible.
  • Whenever you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash, and wash hands immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Continue to wear a mask when you are around other people.
  • Ask for help from case workers, group home staff, or shelter staff to find a safe place to stay while you get better.


Take care of yourself mentally and emotionally

Stay connected even if you have to be apart.

  • If you feel sad, lonely, scared, or anxious, reach out for help from a counselor or case worker or call the youth homelessness hotline at: 1-888-373-7888.
  • Reach out to your family, friends, and case workers on the phone or online if possible.
  • Use a buddy system to make sure you and your friends are safe.
  • Be aware that there might be changes in locations or hours of operation for food, housing, mental health, substance use, and healthcare services.

Need help? Know someone who does?

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:

Call 911

Disaster Distress Helpline: call or text 1-800-985-5990

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Lifeline Crisis Chat

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224