COVID-19 Back-to-school guidanceUpdated July 25, 2022 at 7:03 a.m.
School and extracurricular activities have many academic, emotional and social benefits for children. However, as students return to the classroom after summer break, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still spreading.
As you prepare for and start the 2022-2023 school year, continue to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Taking all precautions available will provide the most protection to children and the community – and help students have a safe and healthy school year.
Everyone ages 6 months and older is eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness.
In addition, individuals ages 5 and older are eligible to get a COVID-19 booster shot. Staying up to date on your vaccines is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If your child is eligible, schedule their COVID-19 booster before school begins.
Learn more about the benefits of vaccination, where you can get vaccinated and answers to other frequently asked questions on our COVID-19 vaccine information page.
Face mask recommendations
Per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we recommend that everyone over the age of 2 wear a properly fitted face mask when in public indoor places in areas with high COVID-19 community levels. You can find your COVID-19 community level here.
If your COVID-19 community level is low or medium, you can choose to wear a mask based on your personal preference and level of risk. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about your child’s risk of illness from COVID-19.
Wearing a mask is a key way to prevent the spread of the highly contagious variants during periods of increased COVID-19 spread. When wearing masks, children should bring several masks to school so that they have a backup if one or more of their masks get dirty or damaged. See more information about when to wear a face mask, and tips to help your child wear a face mask.
Other safety precautions for students
Proper hand hygiene is an important step in lowering risk of COVID-19 infection, as well as other illnesses. Provide your child with hand sanitizer to bring to school and encourage them to wash or sanitize their hands frequently.
In addition, if your child shows any symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, keep them home from school to prevent the spread of illness. You can get a COVID-19 test if your child is exposed to COVID-19 or shows symptoms. Learn more about COVID-19 testing options.
Considerations for high-risk patients
While COVID-19 precautions are important for all students, they are extremely important to protect the health of high-risk individuals. Individuals with weakened immune systems may not be fully protected from COVID-19 even if they are fully vaccinated.
If your child has a health condition that puts them at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, talk with your child’s pediatrician or specialist about the best ways to keep them healthy.
If it is determined that your child is unable to attend school and needs homebound instruction, you can request the appropriate paperwork from your child’s school for the physician to fill out. The school will review the documentation and determine if your child is eligible for the homebound program.
Recommendations for keeping students healthy may change depending on the level of COVID-19 spread. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.
- Children’s Health COVID-19 hub
- CDC guidance for COVID-19 prevention in schools
- American Academy of Pediatrics: COVID-19 guidance for safe schools
- What to do if your child is exposed to COVID-19
- 8 tips to keep students healthy during COVID-19
- Back-to-school anxiety during COVID-19
- When to keep children home sick from school