Return to School Guidelines: Symptoms, Close Contacts, and COVID Diagnosis

  • Students may exhibit symptoms of COVID such as:

    • Fever/chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • New loss of taste/smell   
    • Sore throat
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle aches
    • Runny nose/congestion
    • Stomachache
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea/vomiting
    • Headaches

    If students have symptoms, either at school or at home, they should not return to school until they have provided a doctor’s note with an alternate diagnosis, a negative COVID test (antigen/rapid or PCR), or 10 days have passed with 24 hours or more fever free without the use of medication per the guidelines below.

    Students are designated as close contacts through the Alexandria Health Department in consultation with ACPS. Students are diagnosed as positive with COVID-19 through a COVID test (antigen/rapid or PCR) or through consultation with the Alexandria Health Department.

    Return to School Guidelines

    If a student: They will be excluded from in-person instruction, transportation, and school activities until: They may return to in person instruction when cleared by:
    Has symptoms
    • Cleared by a medical provider showing an alternate diagnosis or
    • Provide a negative COVID test† (antigen/rapid or PCR) or
    • cleared by ACPS School Health Staff
    † Negative COVID test should be from a testing or healthcare provider. At-home tests are not currently accepted.
    • Providing written medical documentation showing an alternate diagnosis or
    • Providing a copy of a negative test result presented to the school * or
    • No testing done and
      • 10 days have passed and
      • It has been 24 hours or more that the child is fever free and has not taken fever reducing medication and/or symptoms have improved
      • A parental note is provided that documents the above
    * Please note that even with a negative COVID-19 test result (antigen/rapid or PCR), the child should not return to school until they are symptom-free or there is an alternate, non-communicable diagnosis provided (see Page 3).
    Is designated as close contact in a public health contact investigation For 14 calendar days
    • Alexandria Health Department
    Has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis For 10 calendar days and it has been 24 hours or more that the child is fever-free, has not taken fever reducing medication, and symptoms have improved
    • Alexandria Health Department; or healthcare provider

    Questions regarding these requirements should be directed to the school nurse or the Department of Student Services and Equity at or 703-619-8034.

  • wear a mask

    Wear a Mask

  • wash your hands

    Wash Your Hands

  • keep a safe distance

    Keep a Safe Distance