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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 guidance 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.
Guidance for COVID-19 in 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- HealthyChildren.org : learn more from pediatricians about COVID-19 and how you can protect your family
- AAP COVID-19: What Families Need to Know - HealthyChildren.org
- AAP COVID-19 and Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) - HealthyChildren.org
- AAP The Science Behind COVID-19 Vaccines: Parent FAQs - HealthyChildren.org
- AAP Mental Health During COVID-19: Signs Your Child May Need More Support - HealthyChildren.org
- CDC COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit (cdc.gov)
- CDC Know What to Expect at your Child's K-12 School or Child Care Program
- CDC Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Associated with COVID-19
- VDH Mask Guidance
- VDH Isolation & Quarantine Calculator. Note: This guidance is for members of the general public and may not apply to all K-12 schools. Please follow your school policy on isolation and quarantine.
- VDH COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
- VDH COVID-19 K-12 School Testing Programs
- Guidance for Sports Participation
- AAP Sports and Physical Activities Guidance (01/27/2022)
Resources for Schools and Child Care Programs
For School and Child Care Administrators
- (UPDATED) Template Letter from Daycare/School: COVID-19 Exposure (7/15/22) (DOCX)
- (UPDATED) Template Letter from Daycare/School: COVID-19 Case (7/15/22) (DOCX)
- (UPDATED) Template Letter from Daycare/School: COVID-19 Outbreak (7/15/22) (DOCX)
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 potential airborne risk of COVID-19.
- EPA Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19
- EPA Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit
- CDC Ventilation in Schools and Childcare Programs
- CDC Ventilation in Buildings
- ASHRAE Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic> (PDF)
- ASHRAE Technical Resources for the Reopening of Schools and Universities .
- AIHA Reopening Guidance for General Office Settings (PDF)
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 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. Schools and child care programs should continue to communicate isolation recommendations to the school or child care community.
- VDH Contact Tracing Overview
- VDOE Health Screening Resources
Schools 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 Rules and Regulations of the Board of Health for requirements.
If a known or suspected outbreak of COVID-19 occurs among students or staff, the school, child care program, or summer camp is advised to call their local health department to discuss the situation. A COVID-19 outbreak is defined as 3 more cases within a 14 day period. 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 new 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 .
- Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Understanding the Difference Between Surgical Mask and N-95 Masks (PDF)
- OSHA N-95 Fit Testing Videos
- Contact your Medical Reserve Corp unit regarding fit testing
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
- Adolescent Connectedness | Adolescent and School Health | CDC
- A Case for School Connectedness - ASCD
- School Connectedness | Adolescent and School Health | CDC
- Adolescent Health | HHS Office of Population Affairs
- Positive Youth Development | Youth.gov
- School Connectedness: Helping Your Child Feel Connected to School | Adolescent and School Health | CDC
- Positive Parenting Practices | Adolescent and School Health | CDC
- The Power of Resilience: Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. at TEDxRockCreekPark - YouTube
- Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth - YouTube
- CDC Children’s Mental Health
The School-Age Vaccination Playbook (Updated 12/2021) (PDF) includes resources for planning, operating, and executing vaccination clinics at schools. The playbook covers pre-planning steps, necessary communications, mapped out day-of operations, and important legal considerations. Templates for consent forms and communications, in addition to additional tools and helpful links, can also be found in the playbook. Note that this playbook is an ongoing work in progress and will be updated in accordance with guidance from the CDC and feedback from clinic planners.
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