COVID-19 Family Checklist
These are some common questions our school nurses have received from families about potential COVID-19 exposure. Please read the information below and contact us if your question is not listed.
My child has had direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person outside of our household. This can be while the individual had symptoms, or up to 48 hours prior to developing symptoms. (Note: The CDC defines “direct contact” as having been within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes in a 24 hr period, or being in the same space for 120 or more minutes.) What are my next steps?
- Individuals who are exposed to someone outside of their own household will not be excluded from school, regardless of vaccination status, as long as they remain symptom free.
- Continue to do your daily health screening prior to coming to school
- Testing is recommended for anyone who is exposed to an individual who tests positive for COVID-19. Testing should take place on day five following the exposure.
- Masking while indoors and distancing to the extent possible is recommended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- If the student develops symptoms, they should be tested and alert the school nurse to the results of that test. A PCR test is a type of COVID-19 test that is collected and run in a lab or on occasion in an office and it is known to be the most accurate. Rapid antigen testing is known to have false-negative results when it is performed too quickly after symptom onset and is not recommended in the first 24 hours of symptoms. Families must provide a doctor’s note or test results and the date when the student is cleared to return to school.
What symptoms should I screen my student for each day before sending them to school?
All staff and students administer a Daily Health Screening before coming to school or work. This check is to assure that individuals are not currently experiencing one of the following symptoms, or have not experienced one of the following symptoms within the last 14 days:
- A fever (100.4 or higher)
- Sore throat
- Congestion/runny nose
- Body aches
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste/smell
Staff and students must stay home from school when sick or showing any of the symptoms listed above.
Please continue to do your daily health screening and follow these guidelines if your student is sick:
- If you are having any symptoms, stay home
- If you only have one minor symptom, you can return to school when that symptom has resolved
- If you have two or more symptoms, or one high risk symptom, you must be evaluated by your healthcare provider and provide a doctor’s note or negative PCR test in order to return to school. Symptoms must also be improving before returning to school.
- Without a doctor’s note or negative COVID-19 test result, you must stay home for five days from the onset of symptoms, and then wear a face mask at all times upon return to school for an additional five days.
- Without a doctor’s note or negative COVID-19 test result, siblings of a sick individual will be excluded from school for 10 days from the symptom onset of the sick individual. Any sibling in this household who is not fully vaccinated will be considered a household member of a presumed positive case. As a result, they will be excluded from school for 10 days from the sick individual’s symptom onset.
My child has one or more COVID-19 symptoms listed on the health screening. What are my next steps?
Contact your health care provider to see if testing is recommended.
- Contact your school nurse to let them know that your child is feeling ill and share what your student’s doctor is recommending.
- Please tell the school nurse if your child has known exposure to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- If testing is recommended, please obtain PCR testing as it is more reliable. A PCR test is a type of COVID-19 test that is collected and run in a lab or on occasion in an office. It is not a rapid antigen test. False-negative results are common in rapid antigen testing when done too soon after the onset of symptoms and will not be able to be accepted for your child to return to school if done in the first 24 hours of symptom onset.
- If testing is not recommended and your student has only one symptom, they can return once that symptom has resolved for 24 hours without the use of medication.
- If testing is not recommended and your student has more than one symptom or one high-risk symptom, your student will need a doctor's note in order to return to school. This doctor's note must include an alternative diagnosis for your student's illness or a negative test. In addition, your student must be fever-free for 24 hours without use of medication, and their symptoms must be improving.
- If testing is recommended by a healthcare provider but not completed by the student, that student will be assumed positive and they will not be able to return to school for at least five days days from the onset of their symptoms. Without a doctor’s note or negative COVID-19 test result, siblings of a sick individual will be excluded from school for 10 days from the symptom onset of the sick individual. Any sibling in this household who is not fully vaccinated will be considered a household member of a presumed positive case. As a result, they will be excluded from school for 10 days from the sick individual’s symptom onset.
What should I do if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
- Contact the school nurse, building or grade level principal, teachers and school counselor to make them aware of your student’s exclusion from school.
- Special School District: If your child receives SSD services, please contact their case manager as well so they can plan for continued services while they are excluded from school.
- LEAP: If your child attends LEAP, please contact that teacher as well.
- Students who test positive will be excluded from school for five full days from the start of symptoms or the date of their positive test. Following the five days, students may return if they are fever-free and their symptoms are improving. Students must continue to wear a mask at all times for an additional five days.
- Students who for any reason cannot wear a face covering all day (ex: Early Childhood Education and students with medical exemptions) will be excluded from school and must isolate at home for 10 full days.
- Your child will be anticipated to be excluded from school for at least five days days beginning at the onset of their symptoms.
- It is recommended that you schedule a follow-up doctor’s appointment for your student to clear them for physical education and/or physical activities. This is due to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidance regarding limited information available on COVID-19 and exercise.
What if someone in my house tests positive for COVID-19?
Individuals who are exposed to a household member who tests positive for COVID-19 should follow these guidelines:
- If you have had both primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are symptom free, you can attend school. Testing is strongly encouraged for all household members, regardless of vaccination status, at the time someone tests positive and again five days later. Please monitor for symptoms and stay home from school if any symptoms develop. Wear your face covering properly, and social distance from others to the extent possible.
- Household members who are not fully vaccinated will be excluded from school during the positive individual’s five day at-home isolation, plus an additional five days. Those 10 days must be followed by five days of wearing a face covering at all times. Students who for any reason cannot wear a face covering all day (ex: Early Childhood Education and students with medical exemptions) must stay at home for 15 full days from the onset of the positive person’s symptoms.
- Note for household members who are not able to be fully vaccinated: If the positive person is able to be fully isolated within the home for the duration of the five day isolation period, then the exclusion for any household contacts would begin with the last date of contact. In order to be considered fully isolated, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must not use any shared spaces in the home (ex: kitchen, living room) and must have their own dedicated bathroom to use. After five days, the excluded individual must obtain a negative PCR test in order to return to school.
Where can I find a COVID-19 test?
We recommend starting with your family’s primary care provider. Other suggestions include St. Louis County Department of Public Health clinics, the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services testing sites, or testing locations outside the St. Louis Metro area.
- PCR testing is the most accurate and preferred test type.
- An antigen test should not be done prior to 24 hours after symptom onset. This is to reduce the chance of a false negative test.
- Home testing will not be accepted at this time for negative tests.