What to do if a Student Becomes Sick or Reports a New COVID-19 Diagnosis at School*

What to do if a Student Becomes Sick or Reports a New COVID-19 Diagnosis at School*
What to do if a Student Becomes Sick or Reports a New COVID-19 Diagnosis at School*pdf icon[PDF - 55 KB, 1 page]

Additional flowcharts are being created to cover more topics (such as cohorting, quarantine, isolation, and testing among cohorts) and actions based on the number of cases in a school.

Scenario based on geographic area with community transmission of SARS-COV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Student(s) shows signs of infectious illness consistent with COVID-19.**
  • Teacher or staff excuses student(s) from classroom, cohort/pod or area within the school. Alert the COVID-19 POC.
  • COVID-19 POC takes student(s) to isolation room/area and ensures student(s) is properly supervised. The parent, guardian, or caregiver is called. Arrangements are made for student(s) to either go home or seek emergency medical attention. Note: If multiple ill students must be placed in the same isolation room/area, ensure mask use and stay at least 6 feet apart while supervised.
  • Parent, guardian, or caregiver picks up student(s). Parent, guardian, or caregiver contacts healthcare provider for evaluation and possible COVID-19 test.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that the ill student(s) occupied. Ventilate the area(s), wait as long as possible before cleaning to let virus particles settle (at least several hours), and use personal protective equipment (including any protection needed for the cleaning and disinfection products) to reduce risk of infection.

Student negative COVID-19 test result.***

  • Student(s) return to school following existing school illness management policies.

Student positive COVID-19 test result.

  • Student(s) found to have COVID-19 and begins home isolation.
  • COVID-19 POC starts a list of close contacts **** of the ill student(s) and informs staff, parents, guardians, or caregivers of close contacts of possible exposure.
  • COVID-19 POC works with local health officials to assess spread and support follow up with staff, parents, guardians, or caregivers of student(s) that had contact with the ill student(s).****
  • Parents, guardians, or caregivers of close contacts are advised to keep their children home (quarantine for 14 days) and to consult with the student(s)’ healthcare provider for evaluation and possible COVID-19 test.
  • Members of the ill student(s)’ household and staff who had close contact with the student are advised to quarantine for 14 days. Options to shorten quarantine are described here[1], but keep in mind this increases risk of spread.
  • The ill student(s) can return to school and end isolation once the following are met:
    • 10 days out from the start of the symptoms, AND
    • Fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, AND
    • Symptoms have improved.


Note: COVID-19 POC = the designated point of contact (a staff person that is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns, such as director)
[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html

** The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children include fever or chills, cough, nasal congestion or runny nose, new loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, diarrhea or vomiting, stomachache, tiredness, headache, muscle or body aches, and poor appetite or poor feeding (especially in babies under 1 year old).

*** With no known close contact.

**** Close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more within 2 days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask.

***** To the extent allowable by applicable laws regarding privacy.