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Health & Safety Guidelines

Making Schools the Safest

Places in the Community

Image credit: UCSF CARES, Naomi Bardach, and Safe Schools for All

Key Safety Layers

We rely on a “Swiss cheese” model to keep schools safe. Each layer has holes, but when several overlap, they make COVID-19 transmission much more difficult. The layers are:

  • All 5+ in school are vaccinated
  • Testing and staying home when feeling sick
  • Wearing masks indoors and hand hygiene
    • As of April 2022, masking is strongly recommended but not required
  • Improve indoor air quality and stay outdoors when possible

Promoting Behaviors

That Reduce Spread

Face Masks or Cloth Face Coverings

  • As of April 2022, masking is strongly recommended but not required.
  • Masking is a critical public health tool and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask.
  • Wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and will wear consistently.
  • Wearing a well-fitted mask along with vaccination, self-testing, and physical distancing helps protect you and others by reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19.

Hand Washing or Sanitizing

Students and staff must frequently wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, which will be provided.

Students should wash/sanitize hands before:

  • Starting the school day
  • Eating/drinking
  • Putting on face covering

Students should wash/sanitize hands after:

  • Cough/sneezing/blowing nose
  • Using the restroom
  • Eating/drinking
  • Touching hair/face/face covering
  • Touching commonly used surfaces

When Someone

Gets Sick

Screen for symptoms and stay home if you’re sick.

It takes all of us to maintain safe and healthy schools. This means all school staff and students must:

  • Self-screen for COVID-19 before coming to school every day
  • Stay home when sick
  • Wear face masks at all times, except when eating or drinking
    • As of April 2022, masking is strongly recommended but not required
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently





When the person who is infected can give the virus to others.

A person with COVID-19 is considered contagious 2 days before their symptoms start until at least 10 days later, fever is gone 24 hours, and symptoms have improved.

If a person with COVID-19 has no symptoms, they are considered contagious 2 days before their positive test until 10 days after the positive test.

If a person who was initially asymptomatic develops symptoms after testing positive, the contagious period should be considered as two days before the test date and is extended to ten days after the onset of symptoms.

Close contact

Someone sharing the same indoor space with an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period may be considered to be a “close contact” for COVID-19. This includes people living in the infected person’s home, caregivers, classmates, work colleagues within the same office space, and others who may have been close enough to the infected person to be exposed to the virus and possibly infected. A person with COVID-19 may expel virus into the air when they cough, sneeze, sing, speak or even just breathe. This may cause virus particles to build up in an indoor airspace over time and infect others more than 6 feet away. While someone is more likely to become infected if they were within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19, the longer someone is sharing an enclosed airspace with an infected person, especially if the room or space is poorly ventilated, the greater the risk that the exposed person will become infected.


Quarantine is used to keep people who have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others while they may be contagious. After someone has been exposed to COVID-19, they must stay home and away from other people for a recommended period after their last exposure until they meet the criteria to return from quarantine. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or had COVID-19 within the previous 3 months do not have to quarantine after close contact with someone with COVID-19, as long as they are asymptomatic.


Isolation is used to keep people who are infected away from others while they are contagious. This is usually 10 days after COVID-19 symptoms appeared or after they test positive.


To School

TCSOS continues to work with the Tuolumne County Department of Public Health to implement health and safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

For those identified as Close Contacts: Under group tracing, regardless of vaccination status, students and staff may remain in school unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. If they develop symptoms, they should notify their school sites and follow protocols for testing to return to school.

For those with Symptoms: Students who test positive will be asked to immediately isolate themselves at home for at least 5 days. The student can return to school if:

  • 5 days have passed since their positive test was collected (not 5 days after the result was received) and
  • A negative test was collected on or after Day 5
  • If the child is not retested, they may return 10 days after their original positive test was collected.