Health & COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Health & COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last updated February 2, 2021

COVID-19 is in the family of viruses that cause the common cold, so symptoms and prevention measures are similar. A person’s risk for this virus is not dependent on race, ethnicity or culture.

Where can I find health and safety information specific to return to in-person learning?

Where can I find classroom lessons about COVID-19?

How should families talk about COVID-19 with children?

Discuss your child’s questions and concerns with them and help them practice good prevention. Depending on your child’s age, some helpful resources may include: “Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus” and “How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus.”

If families or students have health inquiries, what should they do?

For individual health concerns, please contact your healthcare provider.

What is SFUSD's guidance for social distancing?

The City and County of San Francisco is requiring people to stay home except for essential needs. When you have to go out, stay 6 feet apart from other people. Students should stay home and minimize social contact as much as possible to keep caregivers and adult family members safe.

Children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. However, they can transmit the virus to those most vulnerable. Public health officials recommend that families make arrangements for childcare during closure that avoid leaving children with elderly people who are more vulnerable to the impact of the virus.

What are the immunization requirements for students during distance learning, and when in-person instruction resumes?

The State of California requires all students to be up to date for age on certain vaccines. The only exception is if the student has a medical exemption.

The California Department of Public Health is closely following the rate of immunization during the pandemic. Immunization requirements for admission to school or child care in California for the 2020-2021 school year remain in place for now, whether instruction is happening virtually or in person.

See the current Guide to Child Care (preK) Immunization Requirements and the Guide to K-12 Immunization Requirements. Parents need to submit to their child’s school evidence that these immunization requirements have been met.

What support from the school is available to obtain required immunizations?

School staff such as the school’s administrative assistant, clerk, health worker and school nurse will assist families to meet this requirement. They will...

  • Inform families if a health requirement is not yet met
  • Refer families to community vaccination clinics if requested (even if they don’t have health insurance)
  • Identify the best way to submit immunization and other health records during distance learning

Will students be excluded from school if they aren’t up to date on their vaccines?

SFUSD will work with families to obtain the needed documentation of required vaccines. While in-person learning is not an option, SFUSD will not exclude students from instruction.

What should staff or a student do if they learn that they have symptoms of COVID-19 or is confirmed to have COVID-19?

We have learned a lot since March 2020, when schools and businesses closed and sheltered in place.  We have updated our protocols based on the latest guidance from SFDPH. In the event of a staff, student, contractor, or visitor in our facilities showing symptoms of COVID-19 or testing positive for COVID-19, please follow the SFUSD Quick Guide to the COVID-19 Protocol for Symptoms, Testing Positive: 

  • COVID-19 symptoms include: fever of 100.4F/38C, sore throat, cough, headache, congestion/runny nose, body aches/chills, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, fatigue, new loss of smell or taste. 
  • STAY HOME and inform your principal or supervisor.
  • If symptomatic, get tested and call your health care provider for advice.
  • Home isolate until you meet all the criteria to return to school or work from home isolation:
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared (unless they test negative for COVID-19), and  
    • At least 24 hours with no fever, without taking medicines to lower a fever, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), and
    • Symptoms have improved. The symptoms do not need to be completely better.
    • If you never had symptoms, they can return 10 days after the positive test.
  • If you test positive, your principal or supervisor will ask you questions to identify close contacts at school and work. All close contacts will need to go home on home quarantine. All others will receive notification of the situation, but could continue to work or go to school

If a student or staff is a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, what would they have to do?


A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes, during the time that the person with COVID-19 was infectious.  For pods/cohorts of children under 12yo, SFDPH considers all children and staff in a cohort to be close contacts. 

If you know you are a close contact, inform your principal or supervisor. They may also inform you that you are a close contact, even if you may not know who tested positive.

You will have to be on home quarantine for at least 14 full days. Close contacts must stay in home quarantine for 14 full days after they were last in close contact with the person with COVID-19. If symptoms develop, you must isolate until at least 14 days and symptoms are better (see above).