COVID-19 Protocols FAQ


Mask Requirements

  1. What are the current mask requirements for HCPS?
    Masks are optional for school sponsored activities, except in health suites. Masks are optional on school buses.

COVID-19 Health, Quarantine, and Isolation

  1. What happens if a student becomes ill during the school day?
    If a student becomes ill, school nurses will 1) Provide consented diagnostic COVID-19 testing for persons who become symptomatic during the school day. School nurses provide consented rapid antigen testing. 2) Provide contact tracing with focus on activities that are high risk, such as household contact.

  2. Why am I not informed about COVID-19 positive numbers?
    HCPS publishes all COVID-19 positive numbers on daily. These numbers are displayed by school. Parents and guardians will be notified by their school of a classroom or schoolwide outbreak.

  3. How will HCPS obtain consent for COVID-19 diagnostic testing?
    Diagnostic COVID-19 testing in school has been occurring since March 2021 and is only performed on students with parental consent. Diagnostic testing is only for symptomatic students who are going home from school. Parent's/Guardian's are offered testing for their student, but testing is only performed with a parent/guardian written consent at the time of testing.

  4. Will parents/guardians be notified if a student in their child’s class presents with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result?

    Your school will inform you of a classroom or school-wide outbreaks designated by the Harford County Health Department. HCPS will NOT notify you of an individual case of COVID-19 in your child’s classroom or school. HCPS updates our COVID-19 dashboard daily. It includes the number of students in isolation and quarantine by school at

  5. What is the HCPS quarantine guidance?

    School nurses will do contact tracing on extended high-risk activities, such as household contacts. Please note, this means contact tracing will not be done based on seating in the cafeteria or classrooms.

  6. How do you calculate isolation or quarantine end dates?
    To calculate your five (5) full day isolation period, day zero (0) is your first day of symptoms. Day one (1) is the first full day after your symptoms developed. If you test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms, day zero (0) is the day of your positive viral test (based on the date you were tested) and day one (1) is the first full day after your positive test. If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your 5-day isolation period must start over.

  7. My doctor said 10 days, but the school said 5. What should I do?
    Follow your doctor’s guidance. School guidance is 5 days and asymptomatic, and fever free without medication for 24 hours. Your child may require more than 5 days quarantine/isolation.

  8. Does HCPS currently require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19?

  9. How do I get my student vaccinated when eligible?
    COVID-19 vaccines are available at many physician’s offices, pharmacies and at the Harford County Health Department. When possible, HCPS plans to offer vaccine clinics in school.

  10. Do I need a booster to be considered fully vaccinated?

    The CDC has added boosters into their clinical decision aids. The requirements for being fully vaccinated are still the same, but in some circumstances, boosters are being factored into the decisions for things like quarantine. For this circumstance, it is best to talk to a health care provider to understand anything specific to your health and vaccine.

  11. What happens if there is an outbreak at school?
    If a classroom or school experiences an outbreak a letter will be sent home to those affected. The Maryland Department of Health defines an outbreak as:

    Classroom/cohort outbreak definition:
    1) Three or more COVID-19 cases among students/teachers/staff in a specified group with onsets (or, if asymptomatic, collection dates) within a 14-day period, and who are epidemiologically linked in the school setting, but not household contacts.

    School-wide outbreak definition:
    2) Five or more cohorts with cases from separate households that meet the classroom/cohort outbreak definition that occurs within 14 days; or

    3) 5% or more unrelated students/teachers/staff have confirmed COVID-19 within a 14 day period [minimum of 10 unrelated students/teachers/staff].

    HCPS will convene a decision team (including consultation with the local health department as needed) to determine if any additional action is required such as closing a school in whole or in part or any alternative COVID-19 protocols should be put in place.

  12. Why do before/after care providers, PTAs, and Parks & Rec programs have different communication about quarantine and COVID-19?
    Before/after care providers, PTAs, Parks & Rec programs, and other community groups using HCPS buildings are independent organizations. HCPS requires these organizations to enforce masking and to follow their own COVID-19 safety protocols. These organizations are responsible for their own communication with families regarding COVID-19, quarantine, and all procedures followed by that organization. When organizations utilize our buildings, we require notice if a COVID-19 exposure occurs, so that we may properly clean and address any other needs. Contact tracing by HCPS nurses will only occur for school-sponsored activities and events, and will not occur during programs offered through before/after care providers, PTAs, Parks & Rec programs, and other community groups.

  13. How is HCPS making decisions about increasing or decreasing activity restrictions related to COVID-19 transmission?
    HCPS has aligned our approach with CDC determinations of COVID-19 Community Levels. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. To view the latest CDC Community Levels visit: The HCPS Operational Status will reflect our community level defined by the CDC and will reflect any operational restrictions or allowances based on that status. The HCPS Operational Status can be viewed at

Virtual Learning

  1. When students are quarantined/isolated at home, will they be able to join their class virtually using Teams?
    Students will not have virtual classes unless they have previously enrolled in Swan Creek School. If your child is quarantined, then teachers will use a variety of means to provide instruction which may include but not limited to itslearning. HCPS tutors will be available upon parent/guardian request.

  2. Will tutors be available for students?
    Will the tutors
    be HCPS teachers?
    Yes, parents/guardians may request tutoring assistance for their children by completing an intent form on the HCPS website. Tutors will be HCPS staff members. The Harford County Public Library system also offers free online tutoring. Further details can be found here.

  3. What resources are available to students and families when quarantined at home?
    The HCPS Parent Academy has created a
    quarantine resources document with helpful information for both students and families as they navigate learning in quarantine.


This FAQ was last updated on May 12, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

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