Posted on March 22, 2024
Categories: News from SDP

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March 22, 2024

Dear School District of Philadelphia Families,

As the season changes, the weather gets warmer, and we typically engage in more social time with friends, family, and acquaintances. Therefore, we wanted to share this spring health update to help equip you with some important information to help students and families stay physically and emotionally healthy.

Updated COVID-19 Guidance

Effective April 1, 2024, the School District will no longer require a 5-day isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19. This shift to treating COVID-19 like other respiratory viral illnesses is in alignment with guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH), and comes as the data in our region has shown greater immunity against the virus, with declining hospitalizations and deaths. That said, it is still important to be careful. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should still take the following precautions:

  • Stay home if you have symptoms and remain home until are symptom-free and fever-free for at least 24 hours (without medication).
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 5 days after their return to school.
  • Practice good hygiene – wash hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Parents/guardians should notify the school or school nurse if their child tests positive for COVID-19 or is diagnosed with any contagious illness.

In the event of a school-wide or classroom outbreak, impacted students and families will continue to be notified. For more tips and protocols for staying healthy, visit our Student Health website.

Staying Up to date on Immunizations & Measles Information

All students should remain up to date on their school-required immunizations. You can find more information about school-required immunizations here. Fortunately, the measles outbreak in Philadelphia has ended. Measles, however, is a highly contagious viral illness that can cause severe complications – continues to spread throughout the United States. Students are required to have 2 doses of the Measles vaccine (MMR) or have an exemption on-file. We highly encourage you to get your child immunized. Appointments are available at any city health center. Contact the city call center at (215) 685-2933 to make an appointment.

Kooth Online Mental Wellbeing Community

Kooth is a free, safe, and confidential online mental health and wellbeing community for students. Since the School District of Philadelphia launched our partnership with Kooth in 2023, hundreds of students have taken advantage of services like online professional counseling and peer-to-peer support, as well as self-help tools like goal-setting resources, advice and opinion pieces, and written personal experiences from peers and experts. Kooth is now also available to students in middle school, starting in 6th grade. Student mental health is one of the District’s top priorities. If you believe your child could benefit from high-quality, completely confidential mental health support, we encourage you to sign your child up by visiting Parental consent is required for students ages 11 through 13.

We hope that the information above helps support our students in staying mentally and physically healthy, so that they can be at school, learning and preparing to imagine and realize any future they desire!


Dr. Kendra B. McDow MD, MPH, FAAP          Dr. Jayme Banks, PsyD, MBA
School District Medical Officer            Deputy Chief, Prevention, Intervention & Trauma
Office of Student Support Services         Office of Student Support Services