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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

To keep schools safe, we rely on a “Swiss cheese” model. Each layer has holes, but when several of them overlap, it makes 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
  • Improve indoor air quality and stay outdoors when possible

Promoting Behaviors

That Reduce Spread

Face Masks or Cloth Face Coverings

  • All students and adults must wear a mask or face covering that covers their nose, mouth, and chin at all times, except while eating, drinking, or taking a nap. Only individuals with a documented medical reason not to wear a face-covering will be exempt. This includes family members and caregivers dropping off or picking up children. Your school can supply a face mask for anyone who needs one. If you believe your child should be exempt from wearing a face-covering at school, please present the school with a note from your child’s doctor excusing your child from wearing face-covering at school based on medical reasons. Additional safety measures will be implemented to help keep staff and students safe.
  • When eating or drinking, students will be asked to put their face covering on a clean paper towel, in a paper bag, or in their pocket to limit surface contamination. Wash your child’s face coverings frequently, ideally after each use, and change daily. Launder face coverings with detergent in warm or hot water and dry on a hot cycle. Discard face coverings with stretched-out or damaged ties or straps that cannot stay on the face or have holes or tears in the fabric.
  • Review face mask safety precautions for more on putting on, removing, and caring for face masks.

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
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently

Contact your school immediately, even on a non-school day if:




Student/Staff exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or answers yes to a symptom screening question.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever greater than 100.4° F, chills, cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue



  • Staff member will stay home and quarantine.
  • Get a COVID-19 test.
  • Symptomatic Memo is sent with instructions on next steps and when you are allowed to return to school
  • No broad communication is needed.
Student/Staff tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Keep your student at home.
  • If already at school, send home the person who tested positive and begin home isolation.
  • Send home all close contacts who are not vaccinated for home quarantine.
  • Areas where student and/or staff member spent significant time will be closed and then cleaned and disinfected.
  • Positive Memo is sent with instructions and next steps.
  • A general notification memo will be sent to all school families informing them that someone in the school recently tested positive.
  • Anyone determined to be in close contact with the student/staff member will receive separate communications.
Student/Staff reports being a close contact of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Get a COVID-19 test.

If not vaccinated:

  • Please keep your student at home and quarantine.
  • Send home student/staff who is a close contact

If vaccinated: no need to quarantine if asymptomatic.

  • Close Contact Memo is sent with instructions and next steps.
  • Close Contact Memo will be sent to anyone who reports being a close contact and not vaccinated.
  • No broad communication needed.




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

Anyone who stayed within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes over the course of a day. People should be considered close contacts when the program is reasonably sure that they spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of the infected person during the course of 24 hours. People are not considered close contacts simply because they were in the same group or cohort.

Buses will be considered an “outdoor” environment when identifying close contacts if all COVID-19 safety protocols, including masking and open windows, are in place.


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: TCSOS will continue to implement the standard quarantine of 10 days, which can be shortened with a negative COVID-19 test on day 5 or later. If the close contact has a negative test on day 5, they can return on day 8 of quarantine. Rapid antigen and PCR tests conducted in a clinic or at a testing site are acceptable, home tests are not.

For those with Symptoms: Individuals with COVID-like symptoms may return to school with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Rapid antigen and PCR tests conducted in a clinic or at a testing site are preferred. A negative home test is acceptable as long as your student has not been identified as a close contact in the last 14 days, and symptoms do not include loss of taste or smell.