K-12 School Guidance
Last updated 3/24/2022
Effective February 28, 2022, Montgomery County has adopted CDC’s COVID Community Level Indicators. This new guidance is applicable to all community settings, including K-12 schools and childcare facilities. Mitigation strategies, including masking, should be determined by the county’s current level of risk. Guidance for K-12 Schools, including Mask to Stay and Test to Stay, have been updated to reflect the changes in mitigation strategies. Recommendations for each Community Risk Level are as follows:
K-12 School Guidance Documents
Outbreak Response: When a school setting outbreak is identified, schools are required to complete contact tracing to identify any close contacts to the positive cases. During the time of outbreak response, schools should collaborate with MCOPH for additional guidance and recommendations for prevention strategies to decrease the risk of spread. These can include testing, Mask to Stay, distancing, and other interventions depending on the extent of the outbreak.
MCOPH’s Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention for K-12 Schools requires school administrators to provide a broad-based notification after a single case of COVID-19 in a K-12 school setting for contact tracing purposes, notifying individuals of potential exposure. The purpose of broad-based notification is to provide awareness of COVID-19 cases in your community to allow individuals and families to make decisions surrounding prevention strategies. MCOPH does not require how schools notify for single cases and school administrations should tailor the communication based on the needs of their community. The tools below can help support these notifications:
- MCOPH Sample Broad Based Exposure Notification Letter
- CDC COVID-19 Sample Letters for School
- CDC’s Contact Tracing: Using Digital Tools
For more information on COVID-19 in Montgomery County, please visit the Montgomery County COVID-19 Data Hub.
CDC has updated isolation and quarantine recommendations for the public. MCOPH has adapted updated isolation and quarantine requirements effective Tuesday, December 28, 2021. For more information visit the CDC’s Quarantine and Isolation site.
COVID-19 REPORTING TO THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Public and private K-12 schools should use the county’s aggregate report form to report all school related cases. For information and questions about reporting, please contact MCSchoolsCovid19@montcopa.org.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH CODE
PA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
PA HEALTH ALERT NETWORK
Unvaccinated HOUSEHOLD CONTACTS
Unvaccinated household contacts may require further investigation, by either OPH or school officials, to determine dates of quarantine.
Unvaccinated household contacts are able to start quarantine from the last date of exposure only if the following conditions are met:
- If the sick person is staying in their own bedroom
- If the sick person is using their own bathroom
- If the sick person is not leaving their bedroom to do anything else with other family members (e.g. eat meals, watch TV, etc.)
- If the sick person is not caring for anyone else in the house (e.g. a sick parent who still needs to care for their children)
If the above conditions cannot be met, then quarantine will be until 5 days after the positive is released from isolation. Masks must be worn on Days 6-10. If a person is unwilling or unable to mask, the quarantine will be until 10 days after the positive is released from isolation.
The CDC has updated isolation and quarantine recommendations for operating Early Care and Education (ECE)/Child Care programs. A detailed version of this guidance can be found on the CDC’s ECE webpage. ECE programs should follow up with OCDEL with questions specific to state licensing COVID-19 regulations.
MCOPH Reporting Requirements
Per the Montgomery County Public Health Code, facilities should report COVID-19 cases to MCOPH when they have 2 or more cases within a 14 day period. Notification can be sent to MCOPHChildcare@montcopa.org or by calling 610-278-6211, press 1 and leave a voicemail.
Please follow-up with the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) and Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) as they may have their own reporting requirements.
Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 can return after a 5 day isolation as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Remain fever free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medication)
- Symptoms improving or resolved, and
- Wear a well-fitted mask on days 6-10
Those who cannot wear a well-fitted mask will have to complete a 10 day isolation.
Individuals who have had close contact to someone with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Remain symptom-free, and
- Are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, or
- Have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days
Individuals who were exposed to COVID-19 and do not meet the above criteria should quarantine for at least 5 full days, and wear a well-fitted mask on days 6-10. Testing is recommended to occur at least 5 days after the exposure.
Individuals who cannot wear a mask should complete a 10-day quarantine.
Terms & Definitions
Quarantine: Separation of an individual reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease, but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been exposed.
Isolation: Separation of an individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected.
Close Contact: an individual who was less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more consecutively to a positive individual