K-12 Schools and Childcare Facilities

Things to Know:

  • Stay Home When Sick. If you are feeling ill or have a fever, cold symptoms, bronchitis, or have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, or a new rash, stay at home until your fever is gone for 24 hours and your other symptoms are improving.
  • MCDPH and ADHS are fully aligned with the CDC’s COVID-19 guidance for K-12 Schools and Childcare Facilities
  • If you have COVID-19, follow CDC’s Isolation guidance. The CDC posts guidance to help individuals better understand timeframes for what to do if sick (isolation).  Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19.
  • If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested. Quarantine (staying at home if exposed) is no longer recommended for most people.
  • MCDPH interim guidance for monkeypox for K-12 Schools and Childcare is now available.
  • Update Webinars See information for school officials on our update webinars for Community Partners.

Monitoring for Illness - Stay Home When Sick

To maintain a healthy school environment, children, teachers and staff who exhibit symptoms of any infectious disease should be excluded from school, per school policy. 

Schools should encourage all students/parents, staff, and teachers to self-monitor for symptoms of illness at home prior to leaving for school. Childcare facilities should also instruct staff and families of children attending their facility to conduct symptom monitoring or implement procedures for on-site screening prior to check-in.

Test for COVID-19 and consider testing for other infectious diseases like flu if appropriate.

Stay home if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever (greater than or equal to 100.4 F or 38 C)
  • Subjective chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue* 
  • New rash

*Children should not be sent home if fatigue is their sole symptom.  

For children or staff who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, see the information about home isolation.

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K-12 Schools and Childcare Guidance

COVID-19

MCDPH is in complete alignment with CDC Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs (updated 8/11/22)  

Updates to K-12 Schools and Childcare guidance include: 

  • All students and staff should be encouraged to remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.  
  • Schools should continue to base their COVID-19 mitigation strategies on the CDC Community Level in Maricopa County. 
  • Schools should focus on keeping students and staff who are sick out of school and away from others. 
  • Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate away from others for 5 full days after testing positive (with Day 0 being the day symptoms start or the date of positive test if no symptoms) and wear a well-fitting mask or respirator through Day 10. 
  • There is no recommendation to quarantine exposed persons, except in high-risk congregate settings (homeless shelters, correctional facilities and nursing homes), which means routine case investigation and contact tracing is no longer necessary for most K-12 settings. 
  • CDC continues to recommend that people with a known COVID-19 exposure wear a well-fitting mask or respirator for 10 days following exposure and to test for COVID-19 after 5 full days following exposure. 
  • There is no recommendation for Test-to-Stay.  
  • Masking should be encouraged for anyone who wishes to mask and individuals at higher risk for severe disease. 
  • Universal masking is recommended when the CDC Community Level is high in Maricopa County. 
  • Screening testing is recommended only for high-risk activities (see CDC Guidelines) during high COVID-19 Community Level, or in response to an outbreak. 
  • Cohorting students is no longer recommended. 
  • Schools experiencing an outbreak should contact MCDPH and consider adding prevention strategies regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level including the following:
    • Wearing well-fitting masks or respirators and/or 
    • Improving ventilation (for example, moving school activities outdoors, opening windows/doors, using air filters); 
    • Screening testing and/or 
    • Case investigation and contact tracing

Monkeypox Interim Guidance

The risk of children getting infected with monkeypox virus is low in the current outbreak. Children and adolescents are more likely to be exposed to monkeypox if they live with or have close contact with a known case of monkeypox. As cases of monkeypox in Maricopa County increase, it is likely that children will be identified as household contacts of cases. While children are currently at lower risk of exposure in the current outbreak, they are at increased risk for severe disease, especially children less than 8 years old.

To maintain a healthy school environment, children, teachers and staff who exhibit symptoms of any infectious disease should be excluded from school, per school policy.

CDC Freqently Asked Questions

MCDPH interim guidance for monkeypox (PDF) 

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Reporting Communicable Disease Cases and Exposures to Public Health

COVID-19

Maricopa County K-12 school nurses or administrators and childcare providers may use our online reporting form below to report confirmed cases and outbreak concerns, specifically:

  • Single or multiple cases of confirmed COVID-19 in students/children, teachers, and staff
  • An outbreak concern*

    *MCDPH defines school outbreaks of COVID-19 as follows:
    • ≥3 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students/children or staff with onsets within a 14-day period, who are epidemiologically-linked, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing

Monkeypox

Currently, K-12 schools and childcare providers are not required to report suspected cases of monkeypox to public health. Cases are reported to public health by healthcare providers and laboratories for individuals who test positive only. MCDPH investigates those positive cases, including identifying close contacts. If we learn of a facility exposure during our investigation, MCDPH will notify that school or childcare facility and will guide the facility on any needed notification or exclusion.  

If a school or childcare provider learns of a laboratory confirmed case of monkeypox, you may report it to MCDPH by calling 602-506-6767 to receive guidance. 

Other Communicable Disease Reporting (non-COVID) school/childcare reportable conditions, please continue to report to public health by completing a Communicable Disease Reporting Form and faxing the completed forms to 602-372-8935.

School and Childcare COVID-19 Reporting Form

To complete this form, please be prepared to report:

    • School or childcare point of contact information 
      • Email address required; please include your childcare facility-associated or school-associated email  address
    • Basic school or facility information
    • Information about case(s):
      • Contact information
      • Demographics
      • Test date for PCR or antigen laboratory results
      • Symptom onset date
      • Grade / homeroom / classroom
      • Date of last attendance

After successful submission of the form, the point-of-contact will automatically receive guidance material via email from Public Health that will aid with managing facility or campus-related exposures, contact tracing, and notifying parents and staff.

For questions regarding use of the online reporting form, please contact us.

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Public Health Guidance

Notice of Exposure/Outbreak Template Letters

If close contacts were identified following a COVID-19 exposure at school or an outbreak has occurred, schools may use the following letter templates to send to parents and staff. Schools and childcare facilities are encouraged to report outbreak concerns to MCDPH by completing the COVID-19 Online School and Childcare Report Form.

  • School & Childcare Child or Staff Exposure: English | Spanish (Word - Rev. 8/30/22)
  • School Outbreak Notification Letter: English | Spanish (Word - Rev. 8/30/22)

Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

COVID-19

Monkeypox

  • If a school or childcare provider receives notice of a suspect case, that suspect case should be excluded per the facility’s normal illness policy. 
  • Asymptomatic close contacts or household contacts should not be excluded.  
  • Per CDC, persons diagnosed with monkeypox should isolate until their rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.  Since this can take several weeks to occur, diagnosed persons with rash or lesions (and no respiratory symptoms or fever) can be allowed to return to work before the rash resolves, as long as they are masked around others and cover their lesions with clothing or a bandage for the full isolation timeframe. The decision to allow return to work should be an internal policy decision based on the circumstances of the workplace environment. 

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Contact Us

School Staff & Administration

If you are reporting cases of COVID-19 in your school or are seeking official guidance, please first see our Reporting Cases and Exposures section. Be sure to view our biweekly webinars for the most updated guidance and answers to questions being asked by our school community. If further clarification on any topic is needed, please contact us.

Parents/Caregivers

  1. You can speak to someone directly by calling our CARES Team at 602-506-6767 Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm.
  2. You also can submit your questions through our Contact Us web form.

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