Testing Positive, Group Contact Tracing, and Quarantine FAQs

Testing Positive, or When Someone Gets Sick

Last updated Mar. 24, 2022

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, what is the protocol for the school?

Students who test positive will be asked to immediately isolate at home for at least 5 days.

The student may return to school after 5 days have passed since symptoms began, even if symptoms began after the positive test as long as:

  • Symptoms are getting better, and
  • No fever for 24 hours, without taking medicines for fever like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), and
  • A negative test collected on or after Day 5.

If the child is not retested, they must stay home for 10 days after the start of symptoms and may return after the above three bullets are also true.

What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

Students who test positive will be asked to immediately isolate 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.

Will students be receiving excused absences if they are missing school because they are symptomatic, tested positive for COVID-19, or are quarantined?

Yes, students will receive excused absences if they are missing school due to COVID-19 symptoms, if they have tested positive, or if they are quarantining. Families should conduct daily health screening with their children everyday before they come to school and students should stay home if they are sick to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

What happens if there is a cluster of cases within a PK classroom?

  • You will be notified of this situation.
  • Anyone (not just close contacts) who was in the room AND not up to date on COVID-19 vaccination or who had COVID-19 in the past 3 months, needs to quarantine for the full 10 days, with no option to return early with a negative test.
  • You can return on day 11 as long as you do not have symptoms. 

Group Contact Tracing

Last updated Mar. 30, 2022

What is group contact tracing?

When there is a COVID-19 case, SFUSD will enact group contact tracing as a step to decrease the number of missed school days for students. 

How is this different from the current contact tracing protocols?

SFUSD previously enacted an individual contact tracing approach, whereby students who tested positive will have to be isolated, and those who are close contacts will have to follow quarantine protocols based on whether they are symptomatic and/or are vaccinated. This contact tracing approach is permissible under SFDPH guidance.

SFUSD is enacting group tracing, which allows students who may be close contacts to stay in school unless they have or develop symptoms. Testing is recommended but not required in the group tracing approach. This approach is also permissible under SFDPH guidance.

Why is group tracing being implemented?

SFUSD is follow SFDPH guidelines and implementing group tracing to decrease the number of missed school days for students and maximize in-person instruction, which has multiple benefits and is safe.

What are the protocols for students who tested positive?

Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home immediately and notify the SFUSD COVID Support Hotline at 415-660-9850 or covidreporting@sfusd.edu or their school site. They will receive a Positive Memo, which details testing, isolation, masking, and other requirements to return to school.

How does vaccination status impact quarantine protocols for symptomatic vs. asymptomatic students?

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 in order to return to school.

What is the testing protocol for when a positive case has been confirmed at a school?

When a positive case has been confirmed at school, the school community will receive a group tracing memo which outlines health and safety protocols associated with recommended testing.

It is recommended, but not required, that students and staff who receive the Group Tracing Memo get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after the exposure, or right away if they start to show symptoms. Students and staff should consider taking another test one week after the last test they took if they receive more than one Group Tracing Memo in a week.

Can I choose to have my child quarantine if they receive a group tracing memo?

Yes, you may choose to keep your child home due to receiving a group tracing memo. Absences will be excused.

Quarantine Protocols

Last updated Mar. 24, 2022

When can schools accept a negative COVID‑19 test done at home?

SFUSD will accept rapid antigen and PCR or molecular tests, including over the counter home tests.

How does my child's vaccination status affect whether they need to quarantine?

People who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have had COVID-19 in the last 3 months do not have to quarantine after close contact as long as they do not have symptoms.

In addition, even if a child is unvaccinated, they only need to quarantine for outdoor exposures at schools if close contacts happened:

  • During high-contact sports or dance
  • Student and infected person were unmasked and stationary

For close contacts or those in a room where a cluster of cases occurred:

  • Staff or students who are up to date on vaccination or who had COVID-19 in the past 3 months can avoid quarantine if they are a close contact. For staff to be up to date on vaccination, 1 week must have passed after their booster. For students to be considered fully vaccinated, 2 weeks must have passed since their 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested immediately.

What instruction will my child receive when they are missing school due to choosing to quarantine during group tracing?

If a student chooses to quarantine, they should reach out to their school and request independent study. Independent study is a contract between home and school that aims to make sure learning continues during the time away. During quarantine, students are provided with asynchronous (independent learning) activities from their classroom teachers. This includes both digital and non digital assignments. 

This page was last updated on July 20, 2022