FAQs for Teachers and School Admins

The frequently asked questions below pertain to common concerns for teachers and school administrators about how to handle COVID-19 related issues for students and staff. These were compiled by the Kent County Health Department using Centers for Disease Control guidelines which are linked where appropriate.

Isolation is for people who are COVID positive. It separates people who are infected with the virus from people who are not infected. It usually lasts 10 days.

Quarantine is for people who are well but are exposed to someone who is COVID positive. It keeps someone who might have be infected with the virus away from others. It lasts 14 days since the last possible exposure.

A teacher or staff person that tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home. The teacher or staff person may return to school after 3 days with no fever and respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

CDC Guidelines - When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

A student, teacher or staff person that lives in the same house as someone who tests positive for COVID-19 must remain out of school the entire time the family member is in isolation (typically 10 days) plus 14 additional days of quarantine. The total time out of school would be at least 24 days.

CDC Guidlines - Quarantine if you might be sick

Yes, if the school has a system in place for working from home this is encouraged. An employee with mild symptoms should be able to work from home as well.

No, asymptomatic people who test positive can still spread the virus. A teacher or staff member that has a household member that tests positive and is considered a close contact must quarantine during the household member's isolation period and 14 days after the isolation period ends.

Yes, the classroom should be closed, cleaned and disinfected. It is recommended to close off the area for at least 24 hours. If that is not feasible, wait as long as possible and then clean and disinfect the classroom following CDC guidance.

CDC Guidelines - Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

The entire class must be quarantined and monitor for COVID-19-related symptoms.

Yes, the children who were in the classroom are still considered close contacts and must quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

No, if the sibling was not a direct contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19, then they should monitor for symptoms and can continue attending school.

If the student is experiencing any COVID-19-related symptoms, they might have COVID-19 and they should not attend school. They should contact their regular medical provider and get tested for COVID-19.

If they test negative for COVID-19, then they can return after 24 hours.

CDC Guidelines - What to Do If You Are Sick

The school is responsible for communication to families of students. However, the Health Department can provide guidance as needed.

The Health Department will work closely with School Administration recognizing there are many factors to be considered when closing a school.

No, the teacher, staff person or student who tested positive can return to school after 3 days with no fever and respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

The health department does not recommend a retest. Sometimes a person will continue to test positive even though they are no longer infectious.

The general timeline is 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

Yes, this is one reason it is wise to keep students in small cohorts.

No, the COVID-19 test only indicates the presence of the virus the moment the test is taken.

No, a person can become COVID-19 positive any time during quarantine (the 14 days after the exposure).

No, students who have already tested positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine again. We are still learning about the virus and there is a possibility of reinfection.

CDC Guidelines - Quarantine If You Might Be Sick

Yes, students or teachers with proven cases of COVID-19 will still need to quarantine. We are still learning about the virus and there is a possibility of reinfection.

The identity of the child or teacher should be protected as much as possible. Close contacts will be contacted and only given information related to their exposure. The name of the COVID-19 student or teacher will be shared on a need to know basis only.

The decision to send a child to school or not will be made jointly by the parent and school with guidance from the child’s medical provider.

There are no current restrictions for staff members or students who travel out of state. However, everyone should assume COVID-19 exposure and monitor for symptoms.

No, the CDC does not recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for clothing face coverings. However, a face shield that covers the eyes, nose and mouth can be worn in addition to a cloth mask if desired. Moreover, a face shield may be worn by younger children who are not required to wear a cloth face mask.

24. If a building is K-8 or 5-6, or otherwise serves students in grades PK-5 and 6 and higher, can the school choose to do strict cohorting and therefore not require facial coverings for student?


25. Does the Governor’s Executive Order No. 2020-153 apply to schools?

No, schools are not considered public spaces.

For children in preK-5th can remove their masks once they are settled into their classroom per the Michigan 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap. It is recommended that children be give a brown paper lunch bag with their name written boldly across the front. Children should take off their mask and place it in the lunch bag when it is not in use. It is not recommended to use plastic bags as the masks may be moist from the child’s breath and the plastic promotes bacterial/viral growth.

As required in the Michigan 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap, student desks must be wiped down after each class period (page 27 of Michigan 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap).

If the students are older (middle school and up) we recommend that the students themselves wipe down their desk using an EPA-approved agent and follow the labeled instructions. If the instructions do not require the use of gloves, then no gloves should be required. Each student can have one towel or wipe, do the wipe down, and throw the wipe or towel out on their way out of the room. With smaller children, an adult would have to rapidly do the cleaning in between classes.

Yes, the decision of whether a student at a center-based school will be required to wear a mask will be made by the students’ physician, family and school personnel.

Bus drivers should wear a mask anytime a student is getting on or off the bus. Once the students are seated and the driver begins to drive the bus driver may lower the mask to prevent their glasses from becoming foggy. Bus drivers must not wear a face shield because it alters their ability to see. Bus companies should consider placing a plexiglass barrier between the driver and the students.

No, not necessarily. The KCHD recommends that students be given assigned seats on buses. should a student become COVID positive, only the other students that sat close to this student would need to quarantine. The best way to know who is contact is through assigned seating. An additional safety measure is that students should be spread out on the bus as much as possible.

Special precautions should be taken including social distancing and smaller cohorts. For more guidance see page 20 of the Toolkit.