Department of Defense Education Activity

School Operations in COVID-19

Ensuring Safe and Healthy Schools

DoDEA COVID-19 Operational Guidelines and ProtocolsDoDEA COVID-19 Operational Guidelines and Protocols (Version 11, February 2023)

The DoDEA Operational Guide provides district and school leaders with general guidelines and protocols for establishing and maintaining safe school environments that reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus spread. Each school, in coordination with their district, will have the flexibility to implement the guidelines and protocols in a manner that best meets the health and safety needs of the school staff and students while minimizing the impact on teaching and learning.

hand sanitizer

Continuity of education is a critical quality of life component for military families and communities. We recognize that school operations impact on the readiness of our military partners to complete their mission. Our teachers and the routines of school provide an important element of stability for our students which adds significantly to their success. In-classroom Instruction is the optimal learning environment for our military-connected students. We will seek to provide as much in-school instruction as possible for all students every day to the best of our ability, and in accordance with official health guidelines.

DoDEA has put in place numerous safety requirements and precautionary measures that follow CDC and DOD guidance to the greatest extent possible to ensure employees and students are protected. Social distancing, face coverings, and other mitigations are important tools to protect the health of our students, staff, and families as we pursue our mission.

DoDEA leadership at all levels has established protocols to safeguard employees and mitigate potential hazards in our schools through both active and passive strategies.

We remain flexible to meet any contingency. In the event that schools cannot fully reopen due to local health conditions, all students will move to the remote environment and receive remote education from their classroom teachers. While we are confident in our capacity to protect our students and staff by enacting mitigation strategies that support local installation guidance and conditions, we will also provide a virtual platform for students to continue learning virtually. Employees who are in “high risk” categories (as defined by the CDC) will be able to work with supervisors to implement risk controls or reasonable accommodations.

We continue to work in close coordination with our military community partners and military public health officials throughout this process. Even in this pandemic, our guiding visions remains excellence in education for every student, every day, everywhere. The safety and well-being of our students and employees is paramount and will always be our first consideration.

DoDEA Schools & Health Protection Conditions

The Department of Defense (DoD) has protocols for public health emergencies known as health protection conditions – HPCONs. Commanders review and update these HPCONs based on risk levels within a local community and in cooperation with local, state or host nation guidance. The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) uses HPCON to guide actions taken in response to a health threat. 

In-person learning in DoDEA schools & HPCON status:

  • School environment will be determined based on the local HPCON level.
  • Extracurricular activities may be impacted by HPCON changes.
  • As per current DoD HPCON guidance, if an installation is in HPCON Delta, schools will transition to remote learning.
  • Schools will operate in accordance with the DoDEA Director’s guidance in HPCON A, B, and C.

Parent Support is Critical

The continuing support and involvement of parents is critical to our success. We recognize that parents are the first teachers of students. Their help in establishing routines and expectations at home that reinforce and extend learning are valued and appreciated.

Families also play a vital role in maintaining safety in our schools and classrooms. Good hygiene practices learned at home make our schools healthier and safer. As we return in the fall, ensuring that students are healthy enough to come to school will be an important and daily consideration.

Every parent needs to ensure that students who are ill must stay home and, when necessary, seek medical attention. Students will not be penalized for being absent when ill. Schools will be supportive with work that students can do at home once they are feeling better.

Students and adults have an obligation to respect and comply with the heath protection provisions in place for our classrooms, cafeterias, school buses and athletic fields. We will also need your understanding if we a required to limit visitors to the school based on local HPCON levels or installation commander’s guidance.

Official Sources of Information and Guidance

Health Organizations

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

The latest information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization: Coronavirus

World Health Organization: Coronavirus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Department of Defense

Washington Headquarters Services

Washington Headquarters Services

Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) guidance on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it will affect those working in the Washinton DC area
Coronavirus: DOD Response

Coronavirus: DOD Response

The Defense Department is working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and State Department to provide support in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
Military Health System - Coronavirus

Military Health System - Coronavirus

The Military Health System (MHS) is one of America’s largest and most complex health care institutions, and the world’s preeminent military health care delivery operation.
Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service (DCPAS)

Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service (DCPAS)

DCPAS provides civilian personnel policies, HR solutions, and advisory services. The DCPAS online library provides reference guides addressing benefits and entitlements, displaced employees, priority placement, etc.

Social and Emotional Needs

Our schools are addressing the social and emotional needs of those who may have been adversely affected in this pandemic. We can’t underestimate the impact of that anxiety and fear have had on the part of some students and adults. We will offer appropriate support and intervention to meet those needs. Teachers, with the support of our counselors, psychologists, and school nurses, are valuable resources positioned to provide early and ongoing assistance for students.

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus

If your child is sick, please keep them at home and contact your healthcare provider. Talk with teachers about classroom assignments and activities they can do from home to keep up with their schoolwork.

Talking with your kids about COVID-19 (PDF)