Providence COVID-19 Resources

Useful Links to Assist in Your Understanding

COVID-19 Q&A from the Providence Health Office


Why are siblings at school if their brother/sister is home sick?

If the sick student has one less common symptom, siblings are allowed to come to school. The parent has chosen to watch the ill student at home for worsening symptoms.


My child still has a cough. Can he/she come back to school?

Your child is allowed back to school once he/she has completed his/her 10 days at home (from symptom onset) and if the symptoms have improved.

    • “Improved symptoms” means your child no longer feels ill, they have not had a fever for 24 hours, and they are able to keep up with daily routines just like they did before they were ill. Any remaining symptoms (such as cough, runny nose) are very mild, intermittent, or infrequent and do not interfere with their day.
    • In general, after 10 days of isolation, people are not considered infectious.

One or more of my children had symptoms and tested negative for COVID-19. Now my other child has symptoms. Can we assume it’s probably just the same virus?

No. Each member of the family must be evaluated separately. Other family members must be home while the second child is evaluated.


My child has a cold, should I just wait until he/she is better?

Because COVID-19 symptoms can mimic a cold and present as mild symptoms in children and adolescents, if your child develops symptoms, please use the MDH Decision Tree to determine next steps.

Where do I find the Screening Tool to check my child’s symptoms before school?

Refer to the Home Screening Tool for COVID-19 Symptoms for this check.

I am not clear on when to keep my child home. 

Refer to the following resources to better understand when to keep your child at home from school:



Close Contact-Quarantine

My child was told they are a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Do the rest of my children need to stay home?

No. Only the child who is identified as the close contact needs to stay home.

  • If the child identified as the close contact develops any symptoms, all siblings will stay home until the child has test results.

My spouse was identified as a close contact but we want to test the whole family. Do my kids need to stay home until we have the results?

No. Students who are not symptomatic, not living in a household with a symptomatic individual, and not a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, do not need to stay home from school if they choose to seek a COVID-19 test.

My child has been told they are a close contact. Can we use the shortened quarantine guidelines? 

Seven or 10 day quarantine guidelines are possible if no one else in the family has a positive test result. If there is a positive test for any other family member, the 14 day quarantine applies. Contact the health office to discuss your child’s situation.

  • If there is a positive case in a Lower School classroom, either the 10 or 14 day quarantine guidelines will be applied to determine when the class will return to an in-school setting after SimulClass. This will be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Seven day quarantine can be used when:

  • Your child has a negative PCR test on or after day five from their last close contact with a positive person.
  • Your child has no symptoms.  
  • Your child has not had a positive COVID-19 test.  
  • To determine the test date and return date, use the date of the last contact to a positive case of COVID-19 as day 0. Start your count the next day. 
  • Your child may return to school on day 8. 

10 day quarantine can be used when:

  • Your child has no symptoms.
  • Your child has not had a COVID-19 positive test.
  • To determine the return date, use the date of the last contact to a positive case of COVID-19 as day 0. Start your count the next day.
  • Your child may return to school on day 11

For both the seven and 10 day quarantine, continue to monitor your child for symptoms for a full 14 days after close contact. 

  • If your child develops any symptoms (even if it’s one less common symptom), they should be tested and siblings must stay home. 
  • When using the shortened quarantine guidelines, you will follow the yellow path on the MDH Decision Tree for one or more symptoms. If their test is negative, everyone may return to school.

A member of my household has tested positive. When can I send my child back to school?

Positive cases within a family require a 14 day quarantine period. Determining the return date is based on the following criteria:

  • If the family member had a positive test result, but did not have any symptoms, the 14 days begins on the date their test was taken.
  • If the family member had symptoms, the 14 days begins on the date your child was able to isolate from the positive family member.
  • To determine the return date, use the date of last contact with your positive family member as day 0. Start your count the next day and count forward 14 days. Your child can return to school on day 15.
    • If you have a young child who is not able to isolate from the positive family member, contact the health office to determine the return date. Your child will need to be home for more than 14 days.
  • The health office will also help in situations where some family members test positive and others test negative. We work closely with MDH on these more complicated situations.

My child has been told they are a close contact to a positive case. They have been tested twice since we were notified and both tests were negative. Can they come back early from their quarantine?

No. Quarantine is seven, 10, or 14 days, depending upon your situation.


My child had a positive COVID-19 test one month ago. Will they have to quarantine if they are a close contact?

No. Your child will not need to quarantine for 90 days if they are identified as a close contact unless:

  • Your child did not have a laboratory confirmed test, and it was assumed they had COVID-19, they will have to quarantine.
  • Your child develops symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19, they should see their healthcare provider as they may need to be tested again if there is no other cause for their symptoms.




My child was tested for strep and COVID-19. The strep test came back positive and my child was treated. Can they return to school?

No. There must be a negative COVID-19 test result before they are able to return to school.

My college student is home. They are being tested due to symptoms. Do my PA students need to stay home?

• When any member of the family is being tested due to symptoms, all family members stay home until the results are received.

• If anyone is being tested who does not have symptoms, other family members are not required to stay home (testing can be required as part of a job, pre-surgery, etc)

What are the options for testing?

There are two types of tests available:

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
    • viral test that detects the virus’s genetic material
    • nasal or oral swab, or the saliva test
    • the most accurate
      appropriate to use with or without symptoms
    • results can take 24 hours to 5 days
  • Antigen tests (sometimes called rapid tests)
    • looks for specific proteins on the surface of the virus
    • nasal swab
    • may not be as accurate, especially for people who do not have symptoms
    • this test cannot be used to return early from the 7 day shortened quarantine

NOTE: Abbott’s ID NOW Rapid Test is a PCR test. Check with your testing location if you have questions.

Where can we go for testing?

  • Contact your healthcare provider, especially if there are concerning symptoms
  • Check out Find Testing Locations on the MDH website
  • The MDH Saliva Testing Centers offer free PCR tests and have been providing results in sometimes less than 24 hours to 48 hours




My child has allergies, how do I know the difference?

  • During this pandemic, because COVID-19 symptoms and allergy symptoms can overlap, consider the possibility that this could be COVID-19 infection rather than assuming it is allergies. Follow the MDH Decision Tree to determine what to do.