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What to do if your student is sick?

We know a lot of parents have questions about what to do if their child wakes up not feeling well. We have reached out to our wonderful nurse, Michele Perloff, for guidance on what to do if they wake up under the weather.

If your child has a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, please keep them home until they are completely symptom free, without medication, for at least 24 hours. Please DO NOT medicate your child(ren) and send them to school. If your child(ren) feel sick, please keep them home to rest, drink fluids, and only return once feeling better. Remember, a child can be sick without a fever. If they aren’t feeling well, keep them home!

If your child is sent home during the school day due to fever, vomiting or diarrhea, you must keep them home at least for the whole next day, even if you think they are fine. This 24-hour policy is per the Philadelphia School District.

It is also important to remember that COVID-19 symptoms can mimic a cold, and the only way to know for sure is to get a COVID-19 test. The following is the SDP policy regarding suspected or potential COVID-19 cases due to symptoms or exposure.
  • Vaccinated with symptoms?
    • Quarantine, test on day 3-5 (when viral load is highest), return to school if the test is negative.
  • Unvaccinated with symptoms?
    • Quarantine, test on day 5-7 (when viral load is highest), return to school if the test is negative.
  • Unvaccinated, exposed to confirmed case, and no symptoms?
    • Quarantine for 14 days at home. (Note: your child can return on Day 8 if they take a PCR test on day 5-7 that comes back negative)
  • Exposed and has positive COVID-19 symptoms?
    • Isolate at home for 10 days, then return symptom free and without medication.
  • Exposed to a positive case in your household?
    • Isolate at home with the other positive case(s) for 10 days, THEN begin own 10-day quarantine before returning to school.

Fully vaccinated kids (2 weeks post second dose) do not need to quarantine following an exposure if they do not have symptoms.

While a negative test following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis is not required to return to school, if your child tests negative after an exposure during the testing window, they may return to school.

Note that the day of exposure counts as Day 1.

If your child has been COVID-19 negative and symptom free, but had a positive exposure/quarantining, please provide a PCR molecular result for your child(ren) to return to school.

Testing is available at South Philadelphia High School (SPHS) 2101 S. Broad St Philadelphia, PA 19148 in an OUTDOOR mobile unit in the parking lot. (Not in the high school).

If you haven’t done so already, please complete the COVID-19 Consent and S865/Health Update on the SDP website under Student Health Services for each child. Print and send in to the attn of Nurse Michele, or please scan and email as a PDF to

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