2021-22 School Year FAQs

As we plan ahead for the 2021-22 school year, we have received some questions from our community. We hope this curated list of frequently asked questions and answers helps you to understand what next year may look like for your child at RMS. This FAQ document will be updated as guidance evolves.


Please check this page often as our FAQs can change due to evolving information.


  • What are the symptoms and signs of COVID-19?
    • Fever over 100.4
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Difficulty breathing
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Chills
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle aches
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Congestion/runny nose
    • Fatigue and/or unexplained fussiness
    • Headache
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • Blue lips or face
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake

How long would staff or students be excluded from school due to COVID-19 diagnosis? RMS employees or students who test positive for COVID-19 are immediately excluded from school until they meet the following criteria.

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and no symptoms remain.
  • If he/she tested positive for COVID-19 but never had any symptoms, he/she can be around others after 10 days have passed since the first positive diagnostic test.

What happens when a student presents symptoms of COVID-19 while at school?

  • The student is made comfortable in our COVID-19 clinic. RMS has two separate clinics on each campus for i) typical healthcare issues and ii) possible COVID-19 cases.
  • After notification, parents are obligated to pick their child up within 30 minutes.
  • Student begins quarantine.
  • Parents are encouraged to contact their health care provider.
  • Parents are encouraged to always have a “plan B” ready for childcare in the event their student is required to quarantine for any reason.

If you are concerned your child is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please consult this VDH flowchart.

When would close contact with a case result in exclusion from school?

Close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (the case) results in the following:

  • Exclusion from school and quarantine for 14 days since the last date of contact with the case.
  • Obtaining a PCR test between days 5-7 since the last date of contact with the case.
  • RMS and the health department will conduct contact tracing to determine the close contacts at school. 
  • If the case lives within your household, the employee or student will self-quarantine for 14 days after the infected person has completely recovered to ensure they have not contracted the illness.

A person who tests positive for COVID-19 may be contagious up to two days prior to experiencing symptoms. If someone has not been in contact with the infected person since before the two days prior to signs of symptoms, they are not considered a close contact.

When would symptoms of COVID-19 result in exclusion from school?

RMS students or employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are excluded from school until one of the following criteria are met:

  • A healthcare provider releases them back to school or work, or
  • A physician's note excuses the symptoms as part of a preexisiting/chronic illness, or
  • A negative test result is obtained and shared with school personnel.

If you are concerned your child is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please consult this VDH flowchart.

When does international travel result in exclusion from school?

The employee or student must quarantine for 14 days since the date of return.

Domestic air travel does not trigger quarantine. Return to school and monitor for symptoms. It is possible that areas of the U.S.A. may be labeled as high risk travel destinations at some future date, by either the Centers for Disease Control or the Virginia Department of Health – we will monitor these agencies for updated guidance.

What are the exceptions to exclusion from school?

RMS employees or students will not be excluded from school simply because they have been around someone who later developed symptoms of COVID-19. In this case, they should simply monitor carefully for symptoms. For example, students in adjacent classrooms would not be required to self-quarantine or stay home if a person in the other classroom tests positive for COVID-19.

What are the RMS reporting obligations?

  • The school is required to notify the health department and the department of social services upon being informed of a positive case of an employee or student.
  • The school will inform the RMS community of a positive case of an employee or student; names will not be disclosed in the interest of confidentiality.
  • The school will immediately notify any employee or student who is a known close contact of the case. Contact tracing beyond the school will be performed by the health department.

What about COVID-19 testing?

  • RMS will not conduct COVID-19 testing.
  • Testing can be performed by most healthcare providers.
  • To find testing sites in the Richmond/Henrico area, visit the Richmond and Henrico Area COVID-19 Testing Sites page. This page is updated frequently
  • Each testing site has different policies and procedures for testing and billing. Please reach out to the individual site for information about testing availability and cost. Free testing may be available at some sites.
  • RMS will reimburse its employees for COVID-19 test expenses that are not covered through health insurance.

What should an RMS employee do if they experience any COVID-19 symptom?

  • If at home, an RMS employee should contact their supervisor and begin to quarantine immediately.
  • If at work, an RMS employee should contact their supervisor to relieve them and then leave as soon as possible to begin quarantine.
  • RMS employees are encouraged to contact their health care provider and be tested. 

Are employees and students required to wear a mask?

All employees and students (excluding toddler students) wear face coverings to the greatest extent possible, allowing for and promoting mask breaks. Those who are unable to wear a mask must submit a physician’s note citing the medical reason and are required to wear a face shield. Due to the dynamic nature of our Montessori learning environments, it is critical for parents to support us regarding the use of face coverings. Should you need an exemption for your child for medical reasons, please contact our health coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We encourage you to follow this practice over the coming weeks so that your child is comfortable with this new routine at school. All students should have a mask for the morning. Full day students should have an additional mask for the afternoon, and extended day students a fresh mask for extended day. It is suggested to keep at least one mask at school for back-up purposes. Face buffs and gaiter masks are not acceptable. Please follow these guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health when selecting masks for your child. Cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face and cover your nose and mouth
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Be made of more than one layer of fabric that you can still breathe through
  • Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage or change to shape
  • Have no vents (CDC)

What is a case?

A Case is anyone who has been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

What is close contact?

A Close Contact is someone who was either:

  • In the same room for an extended period of time (an hour or longer) with the case, or
  • Within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated, 
  • In direct physical contact with the case (kissing, coughing, sneezing)

What is self-quarantine?

Self-quarantine is used to separate people who display symptoms of COVID-19, or who have been in close contact with a case. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school. View the CDC explanation of quaratine here.

What is isolation?

Isolation is used to separate people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available). See the CDC explanation of isolation here.

What is social distancing?

Social Distancing also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household. To practice social distancing, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.