School Manual

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COVID-19 School Manual
(Updated 3/2021)

Schools are not only a place of learning for students, but workplaces for teachers and employees. This manual provides public health recommendations to help make informed decisions to protect students, teachers, and employees.

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What happens if students or school staff test positive for COVID-19?

Students, teachers, or school staff should isolate right away if they test positive for COVID-19. This means to stay home except to get medical care. You should not go to school or work.

If you’ve tested positive, you should isolate until you have been:

  • Fever-free for 24 hours, 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, you should isolate for 10 days from the day you were tested.
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What happens if students or school staff are exposed to someone with COVID-19?

You are at an increased risk of getting infected and infecting others if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Close contact1 means you were closer than 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from someone who tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period2. You may also have a close contact exposure if:

  • You cared for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person who has COVID-19 (hugged or kissed them).
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils with a person who has COVID-19.
  • The person who has COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
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If you were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, up to 2 days before he or she had symptoms, you were exposed to the virus and should quarantine. Even if the person who has COVID-19 didn’t have any symptoms, he or she is infectious up to 2 days before they were tested.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html
2 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/appendix.html#contact

How long do students and school staff have to quarantine?

    These guidelines only apply to exposures that occur at school. They are not intended for use by institutions of higher education or child care settings. The guidelines DO NOT apply if you live with someone who has COVID-19 or are exposed outside of the school setting.

    If both people wore masks at the time of exposure

    Students, teachers, or school staff who were exposed to someone with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine if:

    • The school can verify that both people were wearing face masks (the person who was exposed and the person who tested positive) as defined by State Public Health Order 2020-11, and
    • The person who was exposed does not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

    If at any time during the 14 days after their exposure a person develops symptoms of COVID-19, he or she should isolate and get tested right away. If the person does not have symptoms, he or she should wait 7 days after they were exposed to get tested.

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    If both people were NOT wearing masks at the time of exposure

    Students, teachers, or school staff who were not wearing a mask at the time of exposure or who were exposed to someone who was not wearing a mask may end quarantine:

    • On day 10 without testing. If you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, you can end quarantine 10 days after the last time you had close contact with the person who tested positive.
    • On day 7 with a negative test result. You can get tested on day 7 of your quarantine. You can end quarantine if your test is negative and you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. You must wait at least 7 days after the exposure to be tested. The test can be a PCR or rapid antigen test. You must continue to quarantine until you get your test results back.
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    You need to watch for symptoms until it has been
    14 days since you were exposed to the virus.

    There is a small chance you can still get COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to isolate at home, call your healthcare provider, and may need to get tested again.

    How long do students and school staff have to quarantine if they have a mask exemption or were only wearing a face shield?

    Students, teachers, or school staff who were not wearing a mask at the time of exposure or who were exposed to someone who was not wearing a mask may end quarantine:

    • On day 10 without testing. If you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, you can end quarantine 10 days after the last time you had close contact with the person who tested positive.
    • On day 7 with a negative test result. You can get tested on day 7 of your quarantine. You can end quarantine if your test is negative and you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. You must wait at least 7 days after the exposure to be tested. You must continue to quarantine until you get your test results back.

    Anyone who is exposed should watch for symptoms until it has been 14 days after their exposure. There is a small chance he or she can still get COVID-19. If the person has symptoms of COVID-19, he or she should isolate at home, call their healthcare provider, and may need to get tested again.

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    If students, teachers, or employees live with someone who has COVID-19, how long do they have to quarantine?

    If someone you live with tests positive for COVID-19, it is called a household contact. Household contacts are at a much higher risk of getting infected with the virus.

    Students, teachers, or school staff who are a household contact should quarantine for 10 days from the last day of exposure to the person who tested positive. You must finish the entire 10-day quarantine, even if you don’t have symptoms or test negative. You may not end quarantine before 10 days.

    It can be very hard to stay isolated from people who live in your home. If you live with a person who tests positive for COVID-19, you may keep having exposures and may need to quarantine longer than 10 days. Every time you come into close contact with the person who tested positive while they are infectious, your quarantine starts over because you were exposed to the virus again.

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    Symptoms of COVID-19

    The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children are fever and cough. If students, teachers, or employees have any of the 6 symptoms of COVID-19, they should call a healthcare provider and get tested for COVID-19, even if the symptom is mild. Testing locations can be found at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations.

    Even if they don’t have symptoms, students, teachers, and employees need to be very careful and take precautions at school because children and adults may be asymptomatic. This means they have no signs or symptoms of the virus but can still spread it to others.

    If you think someone has a fever but can’t do a temperature check on a student, teacher, or employee, ask the person if he or she is feeling feverish (the person’s skin may feel hot or be red, or he or she may have chills or be sweaty).

    Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to find out other symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19. The 6 symptoms which are eligible for testing in Utah currently are fever, cough, shortness of breath, decrease in sense of smell or taste, sore throat, and muscle aches or pains.

    What happens if students, teachers, or employees are exposed to COVID-19 more than once?3

    If you are exposed to COVID-19 again (a new exposure) within 90 days of testing positive for COVID-19 and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you don’t need to quarantine or be tested again during this 90-day timeframe.

    You should follow these guidelines for 14 days from the date of your last exposure:

    • Take your temperature before school or work.
    • Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day.
    • Wear a face covering when you are at school, work, or around people you don’t live with.
    • If you get sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate for at least 10 days after your symptoms start and call a doctor or healthcare provider to find out if you should get tested for COVID-19 again.

    If you are exposed to COVID-19 again (a new exposure) and it has been more than 90 days since you tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine and get tested again. If you get sick or have symptoms while on quarantine, isolate and call a doctor or healthcare provider. However, you may meet the criteria to end quarantine found here.

    3 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/contact-tracing.html

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    Safety precautions for students and school staff who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19

    • Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day, including taking your temperature if possible. If you do not have a thermometer, check your skin to see if it feels warm or looks red. A helpful booklet called, “What to do if you are on quarantine or isolation,” can be downloaded at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/protect-yourself/.
    • Stay home and away from other people as much as possible. Don’t go to school, work, extracurricular activities, religious services, family gatherings, or other activities until your quarantine is over or you have met the testing requirements to end quarantine early.
    • Wear a face mask if you need to leave your home for essential errands like getting groceries or to get medical care. Only leave your home if you have to.
    • Limit the number of visitors to your home. This is especially important if you or someone you live with is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
    • Clean surfaces that you touch often with your hands (phones, doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink handles, countertops, and anything metal).
    • Wash your hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
    • Open the windows as much as you can to improve the ventilation and increase air exchanges in rooms.
    • Do not share food or utensils with other people.
    • Do not share personal items like a toothbrush with other people.
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    Test to Stay (testing for school outbreaks)

    When a school meets the outbreak thresholds outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual, the local education authority (LEA) in consultation with the local health department should offer rapid antigen testing for all students and staff.

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    Students:

    • Must isolate at home if they test positive.
    • May continue in-person learning if they test negative.
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    A student with special healthcare needs who is unable to participate in testing because of chronic physical, mental, or behavioral limitations or are unable to use a different type of test, can continue to attend school in-person if his or her parents request it.

    Teachers and staff are expected to continue their normal job duties in-person if they choose not to get tested or test negative. They should isolate at home if they test positive or follow quarantine guidelines if they were exposed to COVID-19.


    Contact tracing will be done for anyone who tests positive.

    Students, teachers, or staff who are exposed to a person who tests positive should follow the quarantine guidelines found here.

    • You don’t have to quarantine if both you and the person who tested positive were at school and were both wearing masks at the time of the exposure. The person who tested positive needs to isolate for at least 10 days, even if you were both wearing a mask.
    • You need to quarantine if you were exposed at school, and either you or the person who tested positive were not wearing masks. You may end quarantine on day 10 without testing, or on day 7 with a negative test result. There may be certain situations where you may need to get a 2nd test before you can return to school before day 10.

    The “Test to Stay” option has different timeframes for when a person who tests positive should start isolation. If you test positive as part of “Test to Stay,” your isolation begins the day you are tested, not when your symptoms begin. You must isolate even if you don’t get symptoms. The health department will determine the dates close contacts were exposed and when quarantine begins.



    Test to Play (testing for high school extracurricular activities)

    Students, teachers, and school staff may participate in extracurricular activities if they:

    • Are tested for COVID-19 at least once every 14 days. The test can be a PCR or rapid antigen test.
    • Are not in isolation or quarantine.
    • Don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19.
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    One-time extracurricular activities or events that are held indoors, like a school dance, are also included in the Test to Play requirements. This means participants are required to get tested for COVID-19 within 2 days of the start of the event if it is held indoors. Masks are required for both indoor and outdoor one-time extracurricular events.

    You are expected to wear a mask at all times during extracurricular activities, unless you are engaged in competition play that requires heavy physical exertion or if wearing a mask could be dangerous (like swimming in a pool). You are also expected to physical distance as much as possible during extracurricular activities. This means to stay at least 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) away from other people as much as possible.

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    Participants:

    • Must isolate at home if they test positive.
    • May participate in the extracurricular activity if they test negative, are not in isolation or quarantine, and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Who choose not to get tested will be unable to participate in the extracurricular activity.
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    Positive test results from the Test to Play events do NOT count toward a school outbreak threshold.


    Contact tracing will be done for anyone who tests positive. 

    Students, teachers, or staff who are exposed to a person who tests positive should follow the quarantine guidelines here.

    • You don’t have to quarantine if both you and the person who tested positive were at school and were both wearing masks at the time of the exposure. The person who tested positive needs to isolate for at least 10 days, even if you were both wearing a mask.
    • You need to quarantine if you were exposed at school, but either you or the person who tested positive were not wearing masks. You may end quarantine on day 10 without testing, or on day 7 with a negative test result. There may be certain situations where you may need to get a 2nd test before you can return to school before day 10. 
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    The “Test to Play” option has different timeframes for when a person who tests positive should start isolation. If you test positive as part of “Test to Play,” your isolation begins the day you are tested, not when your symptoms begin. You must isolate even if you don’t get symptoms. The health department will determine the dates close contacts were exposed and when quarantine begins.


    Do these guidelines change if someone is vaccinated or had COVID-19 already?

    A person is fully immune if it has been 2 weeks since their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Students and staff who are fully immune don’t have to:

    • Quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. However, if you get symptoms of COVID-19 after you were exposed (which would be rare), you should isolate and talk to a doctor or healthcare provider. You may need to get tested for COVID-19.
    • Participate in Test to Play or Test to Stay.
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    Students or staff who tested positive for COVID-19:

    • Don’t have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19 and it has been less than 90 days since they tested positive.
    • Don’t have to participate in Test to Play or Test to Stay if it has been
      less than 90 days since they tested positive.
    • If it has been longer than 90 days since they tested positive, they are required to quarantine as well as participate in Test to Play and Test to Stay.
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    Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe. 

    All COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA are safe and effective at protecting you from the virus. By getting vaccinated, you can end the damage to the economy, prevent more illnesses and deaths in America, and eliminate and eradicate COVID-19.

    Learn More

    How do COVID-19 vaccinations affect quarantine and isolation guidelines?

    You are considered fully immune, or protected from the virus, 2 weeks after your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you were exposed to the virus before you had the chance to get your final dose of the vaccine, or were exposed before your body developed full immunity, you can still get sick with COVID-19.

    Two-dose vaccines: 2 weeks after 2nd shot (you need both shots to be fully protected).
    One-dose vaccines: 2 weeks after shot (you only need one shot to be fully protected).

    Most K-12 students won’t be able to get vaccinated because they are too young to receive the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for people 16 years of age and older. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 16 years of age and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for people 18 years of age and older. Right now, quarantine and school testing protocols- (like Test to Play and Test to Stay) will most likely only impact school staff and teachers.

    It’s likely recommendations for testing, isolation, and quarantine will change as we learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.


    Do I have to get tested for the Test to Play or Test to Stay school testing protocols if I’ve been vaccinated?

    Have not been vaccinated yet


    You must participate in the Test to Play or Test to Stay testing protocols outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual.

    Have been partially vaccinated

    (had only 1 dose of a 2-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna)


    You must participate in the Test to Play or Test to Stay testing protocols outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual.



    If you’ve had your final doses of the vaccine:

    (had 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine)

    If it has NOT been 2 weeks since you were vaccinated


    You must participate in the Test to Play or Test to Stay testing protocols outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual.

    If it has been at least 2 weeks since you were vaccinated


    You are not required to participate in the Test to Play or Test to Stay testing protocols outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual.


    Do students, teachers, or school staff still need to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19 after being vaccinated?


    If you haven’t had your final dose of the vaccine and are exposed to someone who tests positive:

    Have not been vaccinated yet


    Quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. 

    Students, teachers, and school staff should follow quarantine guidelines as outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual.

    Have been partially vaccinated

    (had only 1 dose of a 2-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna)


    Quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. 

    You must participate in the Test to Play or Test to Stay testing protocols outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual.


    If you’ve had your final dose of the vaccine and are exposed to someone who tests positive:

    (had 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine)

    If it has NOT been 2 weeks since you were vaccinated


    Quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. 

    Students, teachers, and school staff should follow quarantine guidelines as outlined in the COVID-19 School Manual.

    If it has been at least 2 weeks since you were vaccinated


    You don’t need to quarantine. However, if you get symptoms of COVID-19 after you were exposed (which would be rare), you should isolate and talk to a doctor or healthcare provider. You may need to get tested for COVID-19.


    Do students, teachers, or school staff still need to get tested if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 after being vaccinated?


    If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and:

    Have not been vaccinated yet


    Isolate and get tested right away.

    Have been partially vaccinated

    (had only 1 dose of a 2-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna)


    Isolate and get tested right away.



    If you are fully vaccinated and have symptoms of COVID-19:

    (had 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine)

    If it has NOT been 2 weeks since you were vaccinated


    Isolate and get tested right away.

    If it has been at least 2 weeks since you were vaccinated


    Isolate and call your doctor or healthcare provider. It is likely that something other than COVID-19 is causing your symptoms. However, your doctor may want you to get tested for COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines do not interfere with the accuracy of the test.


    Do students, teachers, or school staff still need to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

    Yes. You should isolate if you test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, even if you have gotten both doses of the vaccine. The vaccines do not interfere with the accuracy of COVID-19 tests. 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. We know COVID-19 vaccines keep you from getting sick or having severe illness. However, we don’t know yet if the vaccine will keep you from getting the virus altogether.

    Get more information about:


    Why is it important to open schools for in-person learning?

    Keeping your school open if a student, teacher, or employee is exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19

    Case investigations and contact tracing

    Testing

    Extracurricular activities and COVID-19

    COVID-19 outbreaks in schools

    COVID-19 vaccines