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Health & Safety

COVID-19 & MONKEYPOX

Masking is Optional

St. Peter’s School will operate as mask optional unless there is a need to require masks.  If there are cases of COVID-19 identified in the classroom, and/or amongst faculty or staff, families will be notified as soon as possible and all students and staff members who are in contact with this classroom will be asked to wear masks for 7 days.  Once this seven-day period has ended and there are no new cases, all affected persons may return to a mask optional status. 

Masks will be required for any students experiencing cold-like symptoms and/or gastrointestinal issues until symptoms resolve.  For students with seasonal allergies, masks will only be required if symptoms are new or unusual.

As the pandemic remains fluid, the School reserves the right at its discretion to modify its policy regarding the wearing of masks.

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing

Symptoms of COVID-19

Some people have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Symptoms can also vary from person to person. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after contact with the virus.

Symptoms concerning for COVID-19 in children include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste or smell

Additional non-specific symptoms may be due to COVID-19, but may also be due to another infection. These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea

It is important to review your child’s symptoms with their doctor to determine if they should be tested for COVID-19. Vaccinated children may have milder symptoms than other children.

 

What to do if your child has symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Keep your child home. 
  • Mask everyone in the household and practice frequent handwashing.  
  • Test with a rapid at-home test kit. 
  • Contact the school nurse to notify the school of their absence. 
  • Contact your child’s doctor if their symptoms are not manageable at home. 

 

COVID-19 Testing Resources

For rapid at-home test kits, contact Nurse Hill

Order free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests

Get COVID-19 Test Kits from your Insurance Provider

CHOP COVID-19 Testing for Kids

Contact your child’s health care provider

Testing is also available at most pharmacies and urgent care centers

 

I have tested my child for COVID-19 and the results are negative. Can they come to school?

This depends on your child’s severity of symptoms.

If the symptoms are new, meaning the onset was sudden and/or overnight, please keep them home and repeat testing the next day.

If the symptoms are persistent – for example only a runny nose, but no cough, no fever or other symptoms – test with an at-home rapid test.  Your child may come to school, but will need to wear a mask until symptoms resolve. Your child may be tested for COVID-19 during the school day if symptoms worsen. Please be prepared to pick up your child if they are dismissed early for illness or a positive test. 

 

How do I submit my child’s positive or negative COVID test results to school?

If using a rapid at-home test:

Take a picture of the completed test with your child in the photo labeled with your child’s name, date of test and time of test.  You may label the box or a piece of paper if the test is too small to include this information. If you do not include this information, the test will be considered invalid and you will be asked to resend the information as noted above. Email the test results to Nurse Hill. 

Lab generated test results:

Email a copy of the results to Nurse Hill. Screenshots are acceptable. Must include the child’s name, date of test and test result. 

 

What is the isolation and/or quarantine period if my child tests positive for COVID-19?

If your child tests positive for COVID, we ask that your child stay home from school for at least 7 days post the positive test. This is different from the CDC recommendation of 5 days due to the fact that most people may still test positive on day 5 or day 6.  Seven days allows the additional time to reduce the level of virus in the body and hopefully reduce the level of contagiousness. For example, if your child tests positive on a Thursday, they may return to school the following Friday without testing.  If your child is expected to return before that time they must show proof of a negative rapid antigen test.

COVID-19 Vaccine Info

Get your COVID-19 vaccine or booster

Contact your child’s health care provider


 

Monkeypox Information

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral disease that is usually found in Central and West Africa. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. 

Monkeypox was first discovered in laboratory monkeys in 1958. In 1970, Monkeypox was reported in humans for the first time. Previously, almost all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.

 

What are some of the signs and symptoms of Monkepox?

For some people, monkeypox can start off feeling like the flu: fever, swollen lymph nodes, and just feeling unwell. Not everyone gets these symptoms though. 

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

You may experience all or only a few symptoms

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
  • Others only experience a rash.

People who have monkeypox will start to see a rash or lesions (they look like bumps) develop within a couple of weeks after being exposed. The lesions can show up anywhere on the body including on the face, in the mouth, or on or around the genitals or anus. The lesions can be very subtle and people might only notice one or two lesions. 

Some people report that the lesions can be very painful and itchy. Other people say that they can be mild.  These are some examples of what monkeypox lesions look like:

  

How can you get monkeypox? 

People who are in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox can get it from them. There are several ways that it could spread. It can spread: 

  • If you touch the rash, the scabs of the lesions, or body fluids of someone who has monkeypox,  
  • If you have close personal contact, like kissing, cuddling, or sex, with someone who has monkeypox, 
  • If you touch things like clothes or bed sheets that have touched the rash or body fluids of someone who has monkeypox, 
  • From a pregnant person to their fetus. 

You can get monkeypox from someone else as soon as they have a fever or feel unwell or have a lesion. They can give it to someone else the entire time they have a rash until the lesions have scabbed over, fallen off, and new skin has grown back. This can take up to a month. 

Who can get monkeypox? 

Anyone who is exposed to monkeypox can get it. Some groups of Philadelphians are at a higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox. The current outbreak of monkeypox has been found more often in men who have sex with men who have had multiple partners in the past few weeks. So people with potential risky exposures should take extra precautions to protect themselves. 

 

How can you protect yourself? 

Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:

    • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
      • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
      • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
    • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
      • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
      • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

 

What should you do if you think you were exposed to monkeypox? 

If you think that you were exposed to monkeypox, you should call the Health Department at 215-685-5488 to tell them you may have been exposed to monkeypox. 

What happens when you’re exposed? 

If a person is exposed to someone with monkeypox, they should call the Health Department at 215-685-5488 to tell them you may have been exposed to monkeypox immediately.  

What should you do if you have symptoms? 

If a person has symptoms of monkeypox, including a rash or lesions, they should call their regular healthcare provider immediately. If they don’t have a healthcare provider, they can find a public health clinic or visit an urgent care facility. 

It’s important that some people’s symptoms of monkeypox are very mild and they might not notice it right away. If you think you may have been exposed and something feels wrong, contact your healthcare provider. 

For more information about monkeypox and the monkeypox vaccine, please visit monkeypox in Philadelphia or CDC: Monkeypox

What will we do at St. Peter’s School to protect students, faculty and staff from monkeypox?

As with COVID and other communicable diseases, we will do our best to prevent any transmission of monkeypox in school. We will ask students to wash hands with soap and water or sanitize hands frequently during the day, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. 

Families are encouraged not to send their children to school sick.  This is one of the best ways we can protect each other. Some students are groggy or slow-moving the mornings before school and we understand that this is normal and not associated with illness. However, if a student is acting more tired than usual followed by other symptoms such as a fever, new and unidentified rash, cough or stomach upset, please do not medicate them and send them to school.  

If a case is detected at school, the person will be masked and isolated from others until they can be dismissed home.  We will notify families via email, call or text as soon as possible. All possibly contaminated spaces will be cleaned and sanitized.   All students will be asked to wash hands immediately. We will monitor all other students and staff who will remain in school over the next several days. We do not plan to close school unless mandated by the Health Department. 

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.