Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
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.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Protect Children at School

Protect Children at School
Updated Oct. 25, 2021

School May be Different this Year

Some children will learn at school.
Some children will do remote learning.
Some children will do both.
Schools may close because of COVID-19.
Some schools may open and then close.
Attend school meetings.
Share your concerns during the meetings.

Learning at School May Be Different

Children may be in small groups all day.
Special services at school may be different.
Ask about the plan for special services.
Ask about the plan for activities.

School Will Have Rules to Protect Children

The rules will protect children from COVID-19.
The rules may help schools serve meals.
The rules may help schools offer childcare.
The rules may help schools have after school activities.
Adults can help children learn the rules.
Children with COVID-19 must stay home.
Some children must stay home after being near someone with COVID-19.

Preparing for School

Talk to your child about school rules.
Talk about washing hands often.
Talk about wearing a mask.
Talk about wearing a mask on the bus.
Talk about wearing a mask in a carpool.
Talk about keeping distance from others.
Tell your child to limit sharing.
Sharing objects can spread COVID-19.

Your Child Will Need Different Things for School

Pack an extra mask.
Pack hand sanitizer.
Pack a water bottle.

Children Who Feel Sick Must Stay Home

Children with a fever must stay home.
Children sick with COVID-19 must stay home.
Tell the school when your child is sick.
Make sure the school can contact you.

Here Are Ways COVID-19 Can Make Children Feel Sick

Some children will have a fever.
Some children will have a cough.
Some children will have sore muscles.
Some children will have a headache.
Some children will have a sore throat.
Some children will have a runny nose.
Some children will have a stuffy nose.
Some children will have an upset stomach.
Some children will have diarrhea.

Ask What School Will Do About COVID-19

School should tell you when children are exposed to COVID-19.
School should tell you when someone has COVID-19.
Schools may need to close because of COVID-19.
Have a plan if school must close.
Children may need to stay home because of COVID-19.
Have a plan if your child must stay home.

Changes at School May be Hard

Talk to your child about school.
Watch for signs of stress.
Crying often may be a sign of stress.
Worrying more may be a sign of stress.
Changes in eating may be a sign of stress.
Changes in sleeping may be a sign of stress.
Talk to the school when your child is stressed.

Practice Hand Washing at Home

Practice washing hands each time you get home.
Wash hands often.
Wash hands with soap and water.
Wash hands for 20 seconds.
Sing the happy birthday song twice while washing your hands.
Use hand sanitizer if that is all you have.
Rub the hand sanitizer all over your hands.
Rub your hands until they feel dry.
Washing hands with soap and water is best.

Practice Wearing a Mask at Home

Get more than one mask for your child.
Choose masks that fit well.
The mask must cover your child’s nose.
The mask must cover your child’s mouth.
The mask must fit under your child’s chin.
The mask must be snug on your child’s face.
Make sure your child can breathe easily.
Put your child’s name on the masks.

Practice Taking Off a Mask

Keep your hands off the front of the mask.
Touch only the strings or loops.
Use the strings or loops to take off the mask.
Fold the mask.
Put the mask in the laundry.
Wash hands with soap and water.

Take Care of Yourself

Make sure you get a flu shot.
Make sure your child gets a flu shot.
Be a good model for your child.

Many Children will have to Learn at Home

Children might have to learn at home.
Children might use the internet.
Children may use materials from the school.
Special services may be available with remote learning.
Ask the school about your child’s special services.

Learning at Home is Different

Learning at home may be safer.
Learning at home may be lonely.
Schools can help children connect with friends.

Make a Plan for Remote Learning

Make a schedule with your child.
Schedule time for learning.
Schedule time for other activities.
Find a place for learning.
Find a place that is quiet.
Find a place where your child can focus.

What to Ask Your School about Remote Learning

Ask when your child can connect with teachers.
Ask when your child can connect with friends.
Ask how your school will provide meals.
Ask about special services.
Ask about support for technology.

Original Guidance: Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers


Development of these materials was supported by a grant from the CDC Foundation, using funding provided by its donors. The materials were created by the Center for Literacy & Disability Studies, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at Georgia Tech. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided subject matter expertise and approved the content. The use of the names of private entities, products, or enterprises is for identification purposes only and does not imply CDC endorsement.