Request for Return to Work/School Letter

When can my employee/student who tested positive for COVID-19 return to work or school?

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms have improved. 

*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending the duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts.

ExampleMaria started having moderate COVID-19 symptoms on October 1st. She got tested on October 3rd and the result was positive. She must isolate through October 11th. She can return to work/school on October 12th, as long as she has been fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved.

Persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who never develop COVID-19 symptoms may discontinue isolation and other precautions 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

Example: John was tested on October 1st and the result was positive. He never has any symptoms. He must isolate through October 11th. He can return to work/school on October 12th. 

Employers should not require a sick employee to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to return to work. Employees with COVID-19 who have stayed home can stop home isolation and return to work when they have met one of the sets of criteria listed above.

When can my employee/student who was named as A close contact to COVID-19 return to work or school?

Persons who are a close contact to a person who has COVID-19 must quarantine for 10 days from the last date of exposure. Even if they feel healthy or test negative for COVID-19, they must stay home for 10 days. Quarantine can end after day 7 if the close contact receives a negative test result. Close contacts must wait until day 5 to be tested.

Example: Heather was in close contact with Saul on November 1st. A few days later, Heather found out that Saul tested positive for COVID-19 and was infectious on the 1st. Heather must quarantine through November 11th. She can return to work/school on November 12th. If Heather is able to be tested on November 6th or later and receives a negative test result, she can return to work/school on November 9th.

Persons who live in the same household as someone who has COVID-19 and cannot avoid continued close contact must quarantine for 10 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation after 10 days. Persons cannot avoid close contact when they are providing direct care to the person who is sick, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate the person who is sick, or live in close quarters where they are unable to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

Example: Andrew’s daughter Amy developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 on November 1st. Amy must isolate through November 11th. Because Andrew provides direct care to Amy and cannot isolate her in a separate part of the house with no contact, Andrew’s quarantine period is from November 1st through November 21st. He can return to work/school on November 22nd. If Andrew is able to be tested on November 16th or later and receives a negative test result, he can return to work/school on November 19th. 

Request a Letter to Return to Work or School

Due to the high volume of COVID-19 cases and calls, the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (OPH) is encouraging residents to complete an online request to expedite the process of obtaining a letter to return to work or school. If you were contacted by a contact tracer, please reach out to them first.

Please complete this form and submit it electronically. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for staff to complete the request timely. Upon completion of the online request, OPH staff will contact you to verify the information provided on the form. Please allow 2-3 business days for a reply. This form is for Montgomery County residents only. Residents of other jurisdictions should contact their local health department or PA DOH for assistance.

Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Bucks County Health Department

Chester County Health Department (for residents of Chester and Delaware Counties)

PA DOH for areas with no County/Municipal Health Department 1-887-PA-HEALTH (1-887-724-3258)

If you have questions specific to contact tracing and/or requesting a letter, please email montcocontacttracing@montcopa.org

Report a Workplace Positive Case

To report a workplace positive, please contact MCWorkplaceCOVID19@montcopa.org