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Health & Safety


COVID-19 Vaccine Updates: Pediatric Immunization for Children Ages 5 - 11

  • Emergency Use Authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been expanded to include children ages 5-11 years as of October 2021.
  • The benefits of immunization of children ages 5-11 with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks of vaccine related myocarditis in this age group.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be co-administered with non-COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Children ages 5-11 with a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) may be immunized with the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Children ages 5-11 should receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric formulation, at least 21 days apart. An additional primary dose or booster dose is not recommended.


Expected Side Effects

  • Children may experience fewer side effects following COVID-19 vaccination than adolescents or young adults. Children with evidence of prior infection may have fewer side effects than those without evidence of prior infection. Expected side effects include:
    • Local: pain, swelling, erythema at the injection site
    • Systemic: fever, fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, arthralgia, lymphadenopathy
  • Routine fever/pain medications can be taken for the treatment of post-vaccination local or systemic symptoms (see above), if medically appropriate.
    • In general, Aspirin is not recommended for use in children and adolescents ≤18 years due to risk of Reye’s syndrome.
More from the CDC

COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

St. Peter’s School values the health and safety of its school community. This safety protocol reflects guidance from the CDC, PA DOH and the PDPH. The following information is subject to change according to city, state and national guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Feeling Sick?

If your child is experiencing symptoms and/or not feeling well please follow these steps:

    • Complete your Safety App Prescreening for today
    • If you answer “Yes” to any of the Safety App questions and receive a red “Stay Home” message, please contact Nurse Hill as soon as possible to determine if your child should come to school.  
    • If experiencing COVID-like symptoms, give your child an at-home rapid test and share the results with Nurse Hill.
    • If you are unsure of what to do, please reach out to Nurse Hill as soon as possible. 

If your child is staying home from school, email Nurse Hill, your child’s teacher and Mrs. Giordano as soon as possible.

Possibly Exposed to COVID-19?

We are following the latest Philadelphia Department of Public Health Recommendations for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Persons. 

For unvaccinated with no symptoms:

  • 10 days after exposed without testing OR
  •  After 7 days if negative PCR/antigen test which was collected after day 5
  • The most protective recommended quarantine is still 14 days post exposure

For fully vaccinated** with no symptoms:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after exposure
  • Remain out of school until test results are submitted to Nurse Hill
  • Monitor for symptoms for 14 days

**Fully vaccinated means it has been 2 weeks after the final dose of a one- or two-dose vaccine

Symptoms present regardless of vaccination status

Isolate and schedule a PCR test 3 – 5 days post exposure.

While awaiting test results, continue to isolate at home while wearing masks for all members of the household regardless of vaccination status.

If the results are negative, submit your results to Nurse Hill. Return to school the day after submitting your test results.

If the results are positive, submit your results to Nurse Hill, stay home for 10 days post exposure.  Nurse Hill will help you work through the timeline to return to school.

Screening and Monitoring Symptoms

  • Parents/guardians, students, and staff are required to the Safety App or Safety App Link to conduct a daily prescreen at home each school day before reporting to school or work. 
  • If you answer yes to any of the screening questions, please contact Nurse Hill 
  • for further instructions. 

If any of the following are true, the parent/guardian must keep the student at home and contact Nurse Hill:

  • Fever of 100.4 °F or greater, new onset of cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath unrelated to a pre-existing condition.  
  • Any of the following symptoms: sore throat, congestion, runny nose, chills, headache, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. 
  • Come into close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19

Parents should contact their child’s teacher and the appropriate division head to determine the plan for instruction as needed. 

PDPH School Guidance Related to Symptoms, Diagnosis and Exposure

PDPH Return to School Flowchart (Updated September 2021)

Quarantine and Isolation Calculations (Updated September 2021)

If a child or staff member has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 (after staff member/student dismissal)

  • Consistent with school notification requirements for other communicable diseases, and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements, St. Peter’s School will notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students or staff. 
  • Close off areas that are heavily used by the individual with the lab-confirmed case (student, teacher, or other staff) until the non-porous surfaces in those areas can be disinfected, unless more than 3 days have already passed since that person was in the building.  
  • All children and staff in the same classroom or who have come in close contact with the affected person (defined as greater than 15 minutes of interaction less than 6 feet away over a 24-hour period) should quarantine at home and monitor for symptoms. 
  • Anyone who develops symptoms during that time should contact their health care provider.
  • All quarantined students are required to get a PCR test before returning to school once the quarantine period is lifted. A rapid antigen test will not be accepted. 
  • The School Nurse will contact the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). See Contract Tracing below for more information. 
  • Decisions about classroom or school quarantines will be based on the  overall community and school-level spread. St. Peter’s School will seek to preserve on-site instruction for as many students as possible. In circumstances of low circulating cases within the community, classroom-contained exposures may not warrant large dismissals.

In-School Isolation Protocol for Students Exhibiting COVID-19 Symptoms

Immediately separate any student who shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school until the student can be picked up by a parent or guardian

Students who report feeling feverish should be given an immediate temperature check and rapid antigen COVID test to determine if they are symptomatic for COVID-19

  • If respiratory symptoms are identified: student will be escorted to the designated isolation area in the Health Room.
      • Student is given a mask if not wearing one 
      • Parent/Caregiver is contacted for immediate pick up
      • Parent/Caregiver MUST pickup within 2 hours of phone call 
      • Isolation area is closed and will not reopen for rest of the school day per CDC guidelines 
      • Wait 24-hours before cleaning per CDC guidelines
  • If gastrointestinal symptoms are identified: student will be isolated to the area closest to the private restroom in the Health Room.
      • Student’s mask will not be worn if student is vomiting
      • Parent/Caregiver is contacted for immediate pick up
      • Parent/Caregiver MUST pickup within 2 hours of phone call
      • Restroom is closed and will not reopen for rest of the school day per CDC guidelines 
      • Wait 24-hours before cleaning per CDC guidelines

Contact Tracing 

Contact tracing is a key strategy used by health departments to prevent the further spread of infectious diseases. It involves identifying people who have the virus, determining who they have been in contact with, and notifying the contacts for further recommendations concerning potential quarantining to interrupt disease transmission. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is implementing a contact tracing program to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia. When notified of a staff member or student with a confirmed case of COVID-19, St. Peter’s School will coordinate with PDPH on COVID-19 reporting and response efforts.

Visitor Policy

St. Peter’s School will limit non-essential visitors and volunteers during the 2021-22 school year. St. Peter’s School strongly encourages all visitors and volunteers (ages 12 and older) to be vaccinated. The School will not require visitors and volunteers to be vaccinated, however, visitors and volunteers must show proof of vaccination upon arrival or a negative COVID test result within 24 hours of a planned visit to the school. The school will not be responsible for the cost of COVID testing.

  • All visitors must wear an appropriate face mask upon entry. No gaiters, bandanas or masks with valves that open and close will be allowed.
  • Visitors will complete a COVID pre-screening questionnaire and temperature check upon arrival.
  • Visitors will sanitize hands upon arrival and practice social distancing at all times.
  • All visitors are required to adhere to the all school safety protocols during the time of their visit.

COVID-19 Advisory Committee

In September of 2020, our School established a Multidisciplinary COVID-19 Advisory Committee (MCAC) to support the Administration in the implementation and adaptation of the School Reopening Plan. The purpose of this group is to bring together medical and professional stakeholders to collaborate with SPS Administration to advise and set appropriate, reasonable accommodations and considerations for the 2020-2021 school year grounded in previous and ongoing COVID-19 related experiences. The Advisory Committee will serve to supplement the Administration’s established feedback loops while providing medical, psychological, and organizational information on COVID-19 related matters.

Meet Valerie R. Hill, Certified School Nurse, MPH, BSN, RN

Valerie received her Bachelors of Science in Biology from Tougaloo College, her Masters of Public Health from Mercer University and her Bachelors of Nursing from Georgetown University.

Before making the career switch to school nursing, Valerie worked for over 10 years developing public health programs for various federal, state and local governments as well as non-profit agencies on issues concerning children and families.  A lifestyle shift founded her nursing career, and as a NICU nurse, she learned what it means to treasure every moment of this unpredictable life. In her spare time, Valerie treasures her time with her family and boxer puppy, Rocky.