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K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs
VDH is committed to the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff in K-12 schools and child care programs. This page contains information on COVID-19 as well as other resources for school and child care officials, parents and guardians, and the entire school and child care community.
COVID-19 Information for K-12 Schools & Child Care Programs
Resources for Parents
VDH, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education, has prepared helpful resources to keep children healthy this school year, including information on COVID-19, immunizations, child well visits, routine oral health, and mental health resources.
Questions about sending your child to school or child care safely?
- AAP COVID-19 Resource Page: Learn more from pediatricians about COVID-19 and how you can protect your family
- CDC COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit
- CDC MMultisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Associated with COVID-19
- VDH COVID-19 FAQs
For School and Child Care Program Facilities
During the 2022-2023 school year, VDH provided COVID-19 testing support to 76% of public school divisions (101) across the Commonwealth, as well as 74 private schools and 2 independent schools.
Schools may send the test kits home with families to conduct testing at home or conduct testing on-site if they have the resources to do so.
To request test kits for your school, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child care facilities may send home tests for students (aged 2+), staff, and parents to have on hand if they need to consider testing. To request test kits for your child care facility, please reach out to your local health district.
Child care facilities will receive Orasure InteliSwab COVID-19 at-home rapid antigen test kits and should review the Emergency Use Agreement and Instructions for Use prior to receiving their test kits.
- For more information on expiration dates please refer to the InteliSwab COVID-19 Rapid Test 9-month to 12-month shelf life extension document.
Increasing ventilation in indoor spaces is one way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. The following resources offer information on how to reduce the potential airborne risk of COVID-19.
If a building has been closed or unused for a period of time, there is an increased risk of exposure to hazards including Legionella bacteria and lead. Follow the EPA’s guidance for Water Quality in Closed/Reduced-use Buildings to reopen school buildings.
For School and Child Care Administrators
For School and Child Care Nurses
Schools and child care programs should notify parents and families of a case of COVID-19 in a member of the school or child care community. Contact tracing should be continued in partnership with local health departments when there are outbreaks or when sustained transmission is thought to be occurring within the school or child care program (see School and Child Care Administrators section for template letters). Schools and child care programs should continue to communicate isolation recommendations to the school or child care community.
Schools and child care programs are subject to Board of Health disease reporting regulations. Any person in charge of a school, summer camp, or child care center is required to report suspected outbreaks of any illness that might be spread from one person to another. Schools should refer to the Virginia Administrative Code 12VAC5-90-90 or the VDH outbreak reporting website. If a known or suspected outbreak of COVID-19 occurs among students or staff, the school, child care program, or summer camp should call their local health department to discuss the situation.
A COVID-19 outbreak is defined as 3 more cases within a 14 day period. However, schools may consider a lower threshold for reporting (e.g., 2 cases regardless of level of disease in the community). Early reporting to help public health authorities helps ensure early detection of outbreaks and timely intervention to help prevent the virus’ spread.
The local health department will work with the facility to provide disease control and prevention recommendations to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. Schools, child care programs, and summer camps may also use the VDH outbreak reporting tool to report suspected outbreaks of COVID-19 or other communicable diseases.
CDC recommends that healthcare personnel in schools and child care settings, including school nurses, follow the Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel .
A customized and individualized approach for COVID-19 may be necessary for some children and youth. The CDC provides guidance for direct service providers such as personal care attendants, direct support professionals, paraprofessionals, therapists, and others who may need to consider additional protective measures.
Resources on coping with stress and building resilience among the strong emotions surrounding workplace changes due to COVID-19.
- VDOE Virginia Community Schools Framework : includes resources on basic needs, mental/emotional health, student engagement and motivation, and family engagement
- AAP Bridge2Resources VA: Open Access to Community Resources like financial assistance, food pantries, medical care, and other free or reduced-cost help
- CDC School Connectedness
- Adolescent Health | HHS Office of Population Affairs
- Positive Youth Development | Youth.gov
- Mental Health During COVID | AAP
- Positive Parenting Practices | Adolescent and School Health | CDC
- CDC Children’s Mental Health
The School-Age Vaccination Playbook (PDF) (358KB) includes resources for planning, operating, and executing COVID-19 vaccination clinics at schools. The playbook covers pre-planning steps, necessary communications, mapped out day-of operations, and important legal considerations. Templates for communications, in addition to additional tools and helpful links, can also be found in the playbook.
Page last updated September 13, 2023
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