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Covid FAQ

Last Updated: 1/4/2022 12:31 AM

Frequently Asked Questions for COVID-related Situations


If you have additional questions after reading this document, please refer to the Health and Safety Plan Summary at the link below, or contact your school’s principal.     Health and Safety Plan

What is the definition of close contact?
A close contact for children in school is defined as someone being within 3 to 6 feet of a  COVID positive individual for more than 15 minutes if either individual was not masked. When both students are masked, they are only a close contact if they are less than 3 feet apart for 15 minutes or more. Students who are within 6 feet of each other for 15 or more minutes and are not masked are considered close contacts.

What type of COVID test does my child need?
For students who have symptoms of COVID-19 and a known exposure, a PCR or molecular test is advised.  If a student with symptoms and a known exposure has had an antigen (rapid) test and it is negative, they will need to get a PCR or molecular test.

If a student has symptoms and no known exposure, either an antigen(rapid), PCR, or molecular test is acceptable.

If a student has a known exposure but no symptoms, either an antigen (rapid), PCR, or molecular test is acceptable.

*Please note, home tests are not acceptable

If a student has a pending COVID test, they cannot attend school until all results are back and negative.  The exception to this is students who are fully vaccinated with a known exposure and do not have symptoms.  They may attend school while fully masked pending the results of their test.

When will parents be notified if there is a COVID-19 positive individual in school?
Parents/guardians will be called and/or an email will be sent if their child is determined  to be a close contact (see definition above) of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. 

My child has a sore throat and cough but I think it is allergies, can they come to school? 
COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19). Seasonal allergies triggered by airborne pollen can lead to seasonal allergic rhinitis, which affects the nose and sinuses, and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, which affects the eyes.

COVID-19 and seasonal allergies share many symptoms, but there are some key differences between the two. For example, COVID-19 can cause fever, which is not a common symptom of seasonal allergies.  Because some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies are similar, it may be difficult to tell the difference between them, and you may need to get a test to confirm your diagnosis.

If your child is experiencing their usual seasonal allergies and we have documentation from their pediatrician, your child can come to school.  If your child has never had seasonal allergies but has symptoms, stay home and consult your pediatrician.  If your child’s allergy symptoms are worse than usual, stay home and consult their pediatrician. 

My child has only one symptom but does not meet the clinical criteria for a COVID-19 evaluation (only fever, for example).  What should I do?
If your child only has one symptom and no known COVID-19 exposures, they may have an illness of infection that is not COVID-19.  Please consult the RTMSD “When to Keep Your Child at Home” for guidance about when the child can return.

Regardless of vaccination status, any person with new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate and be evaluated  for SARS-CoV-2 testing.

When should I keep my child home from school?

It is critical that all families partner with the school district to help ensure that our students and staff remain safe by monitoring potential symptoms of COVID-19 in their children and keeping children home who are sick.

Based on the Pennsylvania Department of Health current exclusion criteria, please keep your child home from school and get a COVID test if your child has

ONE or more of the following:

  • New cough, lack of smell or taste (without congestion), shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing,

OR TWO or more of the following:

  • Fever (oral > than 100 temporal >99.5), sore throat, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, headache, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

If your child has these symptoms or is not feeling well, please keep them home and get a COVID test. If a student comes to the nurse’s office and meets the above criteria, they will be sent home and will require clearance to return to school as per the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommendations.  Please have a plan on how to pick your child up from the school immediately if you receive a call from the school nurse.

A link to other symptoms that would require your student to remain home can be found on the RTMSD website under “When to Keep Your Child at Home”.

Can my child go to school if a household member was exposed to COVID and/or is waiting for the results of a COVID test?
Yes, unless your child has a known exposure or is having symptoms associated with COVID-19, they can attend school if a household member is waiting for the results of a COVID test.

Does my child need to quarantine after they travel out of state (domestic or international)?
As of March 1, 2021 the Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for Mitigation Relating To Travel is no longer in effect. Required quarantining periods are no longer in effect.

If my child is quarantined, will they be able to zoom into classes like last year?
If your child is under quarantine or isolation or will experience an absence greater than 5 days due to a medical reason,  your child may Zoom into their classes beginning on the first day of their absence to hear the instruction being presented. However, unlike in last year’s hybrid model, the teacher’s attention and engagement will remain on those students who are present in the classroom. Therefore, students who are “zooming in” should not expect direct engagement by the teacher. This provides the best learning experience for the majority of our students, while also allowing those students who are absent to have some level of exposure to classroom instruction. Assignments will be provided to the student through learning platforms. Shorter absences of less than five days will be handled as they have in the past with make-up work provided to the student upon the student’s return to school.  Your child’s absence will be considered an Excused Absence and will not be counted towards the number of cumulative absences for truancy.

When can my student Zoom into class?

  • While waiting for a test result when symptomatic
  • During a 5 day isolation period
  • When quarantining at home due to being identified as a close contact
  • Absence greater than 5 days due to a medical reason

What happens when my child becomes sick at school?
If your child is experiencing symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 they will wait in the quarantine area, will be required to wear a mask, and need to be picked up immediately.  The school nurse will provide instructions regarding what is necessary for the student to return to school.

What do I do if my child tests positive for COVID-19 and I find out the results after school hours?
Please keep your child home from school, start thinking with whom your child was in close contact (within 3 feet for longer than 15 minutes), and contact your school's nurse. Your child’s nurse will respond upon their return to the work day.  If you have any medical-related questions, please contact your primary care provider.

Masks/face coverings

Mask Guidelines

  • No neck gaiters or bandanas are permitted and masks with valves are not considered COVID-19 safe.
  • Masks are required on buses.
  • Masks should cover the nose, mouth and fit under the chin.
  • Multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric (mask should block light when held up to bright light source)

Grades K-6

Students in K-6th grade and all staff that teach or provide services to students in those grades are required to wear masks while indoors in school buildings until vaccination implementation for students in this age group occurs. The Board will meet by December of 2021 to review masking for this age group with regard to the status of vaccination for this age group as well as community transmission rates.

Grades 7-12

Please refer to the table below for masking guidelines for these grade levels.

County Transmission Level

7-Day Incident Rate per 100,000


7-Day Percent Positivity

Masking Status Grades 7-12









5% - 7.9%





8% - 9.99%







*If a county has values in two different transmission levels, then the metric that is higher determines the level of community transmission.