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Reopening Iowa’s Schools Safely and Responsibly


High Risk Symptoms
New cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell

Low Risk Symptoms
Fever, headache, muscle and body aches, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Students and staff members should remain home when sick. Students or staff members with any high-risk symptom or two or more low risk symptoms should stay home and are advised to seek an evaluation by a health care professional.

Evaluation by Health Care Provider

Negative COVID-19 Test or Alternative Diagnosis
Return to school after 24 hours with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine) and symptoms improving

Positive COVID-19 Test
Return to school after 24 hours with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine) and symptoms improving and 10 days since symptoms started

Identifying Close Contacts for COVID-19 Cases

Close Contact: Individuals who’ve been within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes with a positive COVID-19 case during the infectious period. Contact may occur in a classroom, lunchroom, free period, during transportation to or from school, at practices or games, and during extracurricular activities.

School will:

  • Notify local public health department
  • Identify close contacts and quarantine exposed students and staff
  • Notify appropriate school administration, families and staff (without identifying the COVID-19 case)
  • Provide Public Health with list of close contacts

Public Health will:

  • Recommend quarantine for all household contacts of COVID-19 case
  • Work with school to determine which students and staff should be quarantined


  • If no symptoms develop, students can return to school 14 days from their last contact with the COVID-19 case
  • If symptoms develop, students should be evaluated by a health care provider
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they should isolate for 10 days
  • If a student tests negative for COVID-19, they must still complete their 14-day quarantine before returning to school


  • Staff may be considered critical personnel and can be allowed to return to work if there are staffing shortages as long as they remain asymptomatic
  • Staff should take their temperature and screen for symptoms at the start and end of each day, and wear a mask at work
  • If symptoms develop, they must isolate immediately

Individuals Previously Positive

  • Those who have been previously diagnosed positive for COVID-19 within the past 12 weeks, and were exposed to a COVID-19 case, do not need to quarantine

This plan is fluid and subject to change as more information becomes available.