Everyone has a Role in Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
- Tell their parents or teacher if they feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Stay home from school and other activities if they feel sick or test positive for COVID-19
- Check for symptoms of illness every day before school. If their child has a temperature of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, the child has a fever and should stay home from school.
- Keep their child home from school if they feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Before school starts, tell the school if their child has a health condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Review and update their child’s plans (Individual Healthcare Plan, Individualized Education Plan, 504 plan) with the school.
- Review and update personal and emergency contact information with the school.
School Faculty and Staff Should
- Stay home from school or work if they feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow the isolation guidance from the school nurse and health department if they test positive for COVID-19.
- Follow the quarantine guidance if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- Encourage students to wash their hands with soap and water often.
School Administrators Should
- Make sure all teachers, employees, and the school nurse understand privacy laws and how these laws relate to any information the school is given by the health department. This includes privacy laws that protect students, teachers, and employees.
- Provide a safe learning environment for students, teachers, and employees. This includes considering their emotional and social needs.
- Review plans (Individual Healthcare Plan, Individualized Education Plan, 504 plan) for students with special healthcare needs with the student’s parents.
School Nurse Should
- Work with the local health department and school administration to identify students, teachers, and employees who have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19.
- Understand privacy laws and how these laws relate to any information the school is given by the health department. Protect the privacy of the student, teacher, or employee who tests positive or is exposed to someone with COVID-19 as much as possible.
- Notify the parents of students, eligible students, teachers, and employees if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in school.
- Provide guidance on quarantine options, checking for symptoms, and when to get tested.
- Work with school administration to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the school.
- Wash their hands with soap and water often.
Masks are not required. However, there is clear scientific evidence that wearing a face mask reduces the spread of COVID-19. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend everyone in a school wear a mask at this time, whether or not they are fully vaccinated. The CDC also recommends all people, even if they are vaccinated, wear a mask indoors if they live in an area with high transmission.
Parents may choose to have their child wear a mask at school if they want. In areas where there is no mask requirement, the decision to wear a mask at school remains optional.
Utah law outlines the process for health departments to establish mask requirements if needed. Utah law prohibits a “local education agency, an LEA governing board, the state board, the state superintendent, or a school from requiring face masks to attend or participate in in-person instruction, LEA-sponsored athletics, LEA-sponsored extracurricular activities, or in any other place on the campus of a school or school facility.” A health department could issue an order requiring masks in schools; however, the legislature has set forth a process that must be followed which requires approval from the state or county elected officials as well as a 30-day limit on the order. The law also allows the legislature or elected county officials to overturn an order at any time.
Testing for COVID-19
Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and get tested. You should not attend school or participate in extracurricular activities if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Isolate at home, call a healthcare provider, and get tested for COVID-19 right away, even if your symptoms are mild. Symptoms of COVID-19 may look like other common illnesses, such as strep throat, colds, flu, or allergies.
If you are fully vaccinated and get symptoms of COVID-19, isolate right away and call a healthcare provider. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested or if your health condition may be something else. Being vaccinated will not make you test positive for COVID-19. This means if you test positive after you are vaccinated, you have COVID-19 and can spread the virus to others. This is rare, but can happen.
Stay home while you wait for your COVID-19 test results.
What Information can a School Disclose when Someone in the School Tests Positive?
A school may disclose that someone at the school tested positive for COVID-19, as long as the facts alone or in combination with other information released, do not identify the person. The school may not publicly release the personal health information of any student, such as the student’s name or whether they tested positive for COVID-19. The school may not publicly release the name of an employee who tests positive for COVID-19.
Isolate at home if you test positive for COVID-19
You should isolate right away if you test positive for COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. This means to stay home except to get medical care. You should not go to school, work, church, group gatherings, or extracurricular activities.
If you’ve tested positive, you should isolate until you have been:
- Fever free for 24 hours without medication, and
- Your respiratory symptoms have improved for 24 hours, and
- It has been at least 10 days since you first got sick.
If you did not have symptoms, isolate for 10 days from the date you were tested.
You are infectious and can spread the virus to others starting up to 2 days before you first had symptoms and until your isolation period is over. If you never had symptoms, you are infectious for 2 days before the day you were tested for COVID-19.
People who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 are at an increased risk of getting infected and infecting others. Close contact means someone was closer than 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) to a person who has COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer in a 24 hour period while they were infectious. Contact tracing is how public health workers find the close contacts of someone who has COVID-19.
Contact Tracing Protocol in Schools
The school nurse works with the health department on contact tracing. Once this occurs, the school nurse will notify students, parents, teachers, and employees if they were exposed to COVID-19 at school. People who are tested for COVID-19 will get their test results from the healthcare provider or testing location where their sample was collected.
- The health department will call anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. It may take a few days for the health department to call the person who tested positive. They will ask the person who he or she may have been in close contact with up to 2 days before he or she got sick or tested positive.
- The health department will notify the school nurse if a student, teacher, or employee who works in the school or with students tests positive for COVID-19. The health department gives the name of the person who tested positive and the date of last exposure to the school nurse. If a parent calls to notify the school that their child has been tested or tested positive, the school nurse will confirm the test result with the health department before notifying close contacts of possible exposure.
- The school nurse will notify eligible students or students’ parents, teachers, or employees who may have been exposed to the person who tested positive. The school nurse will provide quarantine information and guidance on how to check for symptoms, and when to consider testing.
- Only students, teachers, or employees who came into close contact with the person who tested positive will be notified of a possible exposure.
Contact Tracing Flow Chart
Contact Tracing: School Nurse investigates case, seating charts, classroom, close contacts for exposures.
School Nurse requests verification from the health department to confirm the positive.
- Identification: School Nurse compiles a list of close contact exposures who are unvaccinated and have not had COVID in the past 90 days.
- Documentation: School Nurse ensures documentation of positive cases on health department dashboard.
- Communication: School Nurse communicates return from isolation date with office for attendance, teacher, and school administration
- Follow-up as needed.
- Identification: School Nurse contacts employees who have been exposed to determine vaccination status, history, and provide guidance
- Documentation: School Nurse notifies the School Nurse Specialist of positive employees and ensures documentation on health department dashboard
Quarantine recommendations after a school exposure
If you are exposed to someone at school who tests positive for COVID-19, you can continue to come to school if:
You are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (2 weeks after your final dose), or
You and the person who tested positive were both wearing a mask, or
You have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, or
You were wearing a N95 or KN95 mask, even if the person who tested positive was not wearing a mask
For anyone who does not meet the criteria above, the standard protocol after an exposure is to quarantine. Quarantine at home if you are exposed to COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated. We consider anyone who was within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes, to be exposed. You should not go to school, work, church, group gatherings, or extracurricular activities. Isolate and get tested if you get symptoms of COVID-19 after you were exposed, even if you are fully vaccinated or recently had COVID.
Here are the options for students and staff who are exposed to COVID-19:
- Quarantine at home for 10 days.
- Quarantine at home for 7 days and then get tested. If you test negative and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you can return to school.
- Wear a mask at school for 10 days.
- Wear a mask at school for 7 days and then get tested. If you test negative on day 7 you don’t have to wear a mask anymore.
Although you can end quarantine after day 10 if you don’t have symptoms or after day 7 if you test negative, you still need to take safety precautions and watch for symptoms for 14 days after you were exposed.
The best ways to stop diseases from spreading in schools or throughout our communities are for everyone to be vaccinated and for those who have the disease⏤or have been exposed to the disease⏤to quarantine or isolate at home until they can no longer get other people sick.
Quarantine at home for 10 days, or
Quarantine at home for 7 days and then get tested. If you test negative and don’t have any symptoms you can go back to school, or
Wear a mask at school for 10 days, or
Wear a mask at school for 7 days and then get tested. If you test negative, you don’t have to wear a mask anymore
No matter which option is chosen, if you get symptoms of COVID-19 after being exposed to someone who tested positive, isolate right away, call a healthcare provider, and get tested, even if your symptoms are mild or you have been vaccinated.
Exposure to COVID-19 at home
While this section provides recommendations and options for school exposures, recommendations for exposures at home have not changed.
If you are not fully vaccinated and live with someone who has COVID-19, you should quarantine at home for 10 days, even if you don’t have symptoms or test negative. You are at a much higher risk of getting infected with the virus. It can be very hard to stay isolated from people who have COVID-19 and live in your home. This means you may need to quarantine longer than 10 days if you can’t stay away from the person who is sick. Every time you come into close contact with the person who tested positive while they are infectious, your 10-day quarantine starts over because you were exposed to the virus.
Healthy Hygiene Procedures
Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water:
- After you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze.
- After you use the restroom.
- Before you make or eat food.
- Before and after you care for another person who needs help.
- Before and after you take breaks at work.
- After you put on, touch, or take off a cloth face covering or masks.
If you do not have soap and water, you can use school-provided, foaming sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Try not to touch surfaces many people touch. Avoid shaking hands or touching other people. Use other ways to greet people without touching.
Improving ventilation is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting prevent the spread of COVID-19. Clean and disinfect surfaces every day that are touched frequently.
Physical distancing and cohorting
Schools should implement physical distancing as much as possible to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated. This means to stay at least 6 feet away from other people who are not vaccinated as much as possible. However, studies showed physical distancing of 3 feet in a classroom can be effective when other prevention measures are taken, including mask wearing.
Cohorting (or forming “pods”) can also help reduce the chance of being exposed to COVID-19, especially when it’s hard to maintain physical distance in the classroom. Cohorting keeps groups of students, and sometimes teachers or employees, together throughout the school day. Schools are responsible for making sure cohorting is done in an equitable manner.
Student Symptom Checker
Document all health and injury related visits in the electronic Health Log.
- Temperature of 100.4 or greater
- Cough unrelated to asthma
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste/smell
- Muscle or body aches/pain
- Assist with any immediate needs
- Consult with School Nurse
- Notify parent/guardian to pick up student as appropriate per Canyons School District Health Guidelines
- Disinfect room
- Document all student illness or injuries in the electronic health log
Take temperature. If less than 100.4, offer water and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes in the health room.
- Yes: Back to class.
- No: Consult with your School Nurse. Then, notify parent/guardian and send home as needed.
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain, CPR/AED
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
- Hand hygiene before and after each student interaction (soap & water or hand sanitizer).
- Use paper bed liner and change after each student.
- Clean the Health Room after each student.
- Take temperature of all students with symptoms of illness.
Canyons School District Health Guidelines
Click on a condition to expand the exclusion/non-exclusion criteria.
Students need to remain home if they feel unwell, have an excessive runny nose, excessive coughing, excessive sore throat, difficulty breathing, or are unable to participate in routine school activities.
Exclude until fever free for 24 hours, respiratory symptoms have improved for 24 hours, and it has been at least 10 days since symptoms began, or 10 days since test date if asymptomatic.
(increased number of loose, watery stools compared with the child’s normal pattern)
Students need to remain home until symptom free for 24 hours or their healthcare provider has cleared them to return to school.
Exclude student if unable to actively participate in routine school activities. Student may return once symptoms resolve.
- Student will be excluded for a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or greater.
- Student may return to school when they have been fever free (less than 100.4 degrees F) without using fever reducing medication for at least 24 hours.
- Exclude from school and notify parents and healthcare provider if sudden severe headache with vomiting or stiff neck that might indicate meningitis.
- No exclusion for common headaches as long as it does not compromise their ability to participate in school activities.
Exclude if the student feels unwell, has a fever, or is unable to participate in school activities. Student may return when they are fever free for 24 hours without using fever reducing medications.
- Exclude: Purulent Conjunctivitis defined as pink or red eye with white or yellow discharge, often with matted eyelashes, eye pain, or redness of the eyelids or skin around the eye.
- No exclusion: Non-Purulent Conjunctivitis defined as pink eye with a clear, watery eye discharge without fever, eye pain, or eyelid redness.
Follow fever exclusion guidelines. Student may return after a healthcare provider determines the illness is not a communicable disease.
No exclusion required if covered and/or health care provider confirms the sore is non-infectious. Student may return when the lesion can be covered or is deemed non-infectious by a healthcare provider.
Positive strep cases will be excluded from school until the student has received 12 hours of antibiotic treatment, feels well enough to participate in school activities, and is fever free.
Student should stay home if they are in severe pain, doubled over, crying, screaming, abdominal injury, diarrhea, vomiting, looks and acts ill. Student may return when symptoms resolve. Severe abdominal pain should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
Exclude. Student may return to school when symptom free for 24 hours.
State legislation that will impact the 2021-2022 school year
There are several state laws that impact how LEAs (school districts), and health departments respond to COVID-19 during the upcoming school year. A brief summary of these laws is provided below. There may be other local, state, or federal laws and regulations that impact schools during the pandemic. Local officials should consult with their own legal counsel for advice on how these or other laws and regulations impact strategies to prevent COVID-19 in K-12 schools.
- All schools in Utah are required to have at least 4 days of in-person instruction per week.
- Test to Stay is required in K-12 schools. Testing events should be done in coordination with the local health department and are required to take place when a certain number of students test positive for COVID-19 in a 14-day window. Schools can request assistance from the Utah Department of Health for Test-to-Stay events.
- The Governor and Utah Department of Health must provide 24-hour notice to the Legislature before declaring a Public Health Emergency or issuing an Order of Constraint. An example of an Order of Constraint includes requiring masks to be worn by all students in schools.
- A local health department must provide 24-hour notice to their county elected officials before declaring a Public Health Emergency or issuing an Order of Constraint.
- The Legislature or elected county officials may overturn a Public Health Emergency or Order of Constraint at any time.
- There is a 30-day maximum time limit on an initial Public Health Emergency or Order of Constraint. The Legislature or elected county officials must be provided 10 days notice if the DOH or LHD requests an extension of a Public Health Emergency or Order of Constraint.
- All new Public Health Emergencies and Orders of Constraint must follow the requirements of Senate Bill 195.
- Does not allow a local education agency (school district), an LEA governing board, the state board, the state superintendent, or a school to require face masks to attend or participate in in-person instruction, LEA-sponsored athletics, LEA-sponsored extracurricular activities, or to be in any other place on the campus of a school or school facility.
- Does allow for a private school to require face masks.
- Does not allow an institution of higher education (like a college or university) to require a face covering to participate in or attend instruction, activities, or to be in any other place on the campus, except for a medical setting at an institution of higher education.
- A governmental entity can’t require a person to get a COVID-19 vaccine that was authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization as a condition of employment, or to participate or attend an activity of the governmental entity.
- This restriction would not apply to a COVID-19 vaccine that receives full authorization from the FDA.
- Employees who work in a public health or medical setting can be required to receive COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization.
- Does not allow funding appropriated by the Legislature to be used for financial incentives, awards, drawings or prizes, or any similar incentive to anyone for receiving a vaccination.