Posted on September 20, 2021
Categories: News from SDP

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September 20, 2021

Dear School District of Philadelphia Families,

As we settle into the routines of in-person learning this new school year, the well-being of students and staff remains our number one priority. This letter provides some additional information and updates about our ongoing efforts to keep students and staff healthy and safe.

As a general reminder, please keep all children home who are showing any signs of illness. In addition, children waiting for COVID-19 test results should remain at home until test results are confirmed.

Test to Play/Perform

At the beginning of this school year, the District implemented a COVID-19 Testing Program that requires high school students who participate in certain sports or performing arts to be tested twice a week. Starting in October, this protocol will be extended to include middle school students. Therefore, starting in October all unvaccinated students from 6th through 12th grade who participate in high contact sports, sing in a rostered choir or play in a band ensemble more than three days per week (brass and woodwind instruments only) will undergo COVID-19 testing twice weekly at their schools. 

Student Vaccination Status

We are asking that parents who have children aged 12 or older who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to please send proof of vaccination if you have not already done so. To submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination, simply take a photo of your student’s vaccination card and email it to our Office of Student Health Services at Submitting proof of vaccination status is not a requirement, however knowledge of the vaccination rates in our schools will assist in determining which students must quarantine and inform future health and safety plans.

Vaccine Events

The science is clear, COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective way to mitigate the risks of the virus. While we acknowledge that the decision to vaccinate remains a difficult choice for some individuals and families, we hope you will consider getting the vaccine for yourself and anyone in your household age 12 and older. The District, in collaboration with various organizational partners, continues to host vaccine events at our schools across the city.  Please visit our COVID-19 Vaccine information website to find and register for an event near you.

The District will continue to follow our updated health and safety protocols which include multiple layers of safety — hand hygiene, mask wearing regardless of vaccine status, social distancing, weekly testing of all staff, in school testing of students who present with COVID-like symptoms, and more. Thank you for doing your part to keep us all healthy and safe!


Mercedes Gutierrez, MD, MPH

Student Health Services Administrator