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Health & Safety Measures for In-Person Instruction

Promoting Health and Wellness

Staff and students should use adequate and effective hand hygiene throughout the school day. Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent infectious disease transmission. Staff and students should use hand sanitizer adjunctively with efficient hand washing.

Staff and students should also practice good respiratory etiquette by covering their cough or sneeze. They should remain home when ill to avoid transmitting infectious diseases. Eating well, physical activity, and adequate sleep prevent illness and contribute to overall well-being.

Promoting Vaccination

Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy that continues to protect community health from many diseases like measles, polio, tetanus, and COVID-19. Achieving high vaccination levels among eligible staff and students is the hallmark strategy to help schools safely operate.

Use of Masks

Mask-wearing is optional and no longer required for staff and students, as well as any RPS partners employed with or contracted by RPS. Students and staff should feel free to utilize masks as they see fit, particularly during times of increased respiratory illness (e.g. winter months). 

Employee Testing

All unvaccinated and religious exempt employees will no longer be mandated to submit weekly testing for COVID-19.

Data Collection

RPS will no longer collect information or data on positive COVID-19 cases, with the exception of cluster cases and or outbreaks. The inbox has been retired.

COVID-19 Home Tests

RPS will no longer provide at-home tests to staff and students. Click the following link for additional information on free COVID-19 test kits and community testing events: Richmond- and Henrico-area COVID-19 test distribution sites - Richmond City Health Department (

Employee Leave 

The standard procedure and policy of use of sick time was reinstated on May 11, 2023.  Staff may use sick leave and be expected to follow policy on any leave that is on a consecutive timeframe, followed by a doctor’s note to submit to administration or an immediate supervisor. 

Student Absences

Student absences will be excused upon return to school with a doctor’s note.

Remaining Home When Sick

Staff and students ill with infectious conditions should stay home to prevent spreading illness to others. Those with fever or diarrhea should remain home until fever-free (without the aid of fever-reducing medication) or diarrhea-free for at least 24 hours. 

For more specific guidance related to managing infectious illnesses in schools, refer to the VDH Communicable Disease Reference Chart for School and Child Care Facility Personnel

Positive COVID-19 Test

Staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for five (5) days.

  • If staff and students have symptoms, they must isolate for at least five (5) days from when symptoms began. Day zero (0) is when symptoms started, regardless of when you tested positive.

  • If staff and students have no symptoms, they should isolate for at least five (5) days from the day of their test. Day zero (0) is the day of the test. If students develop symptoms within ten (10) days of being tested, the clock restarts at day zero (0) on the day of symptom onset.

  • Staff and students may end isolation when: 

    • They are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and,

    • Their symptoms are improving

  • When isolation has ended, students and staff should wear masks on days six (6) through ten (10).

Suspected Outbreaks

RPS will continue to consult with the Richmond Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) in the event of suspected outbreaks within the school setting.