- How will the school provide a safe environment for students on campus?
- Will masks be required at school?
- Will students still be required to physically distance?
- Will students and Faculty & Staff still be frequently washing and sanitizing their hands?
- I am concerned whether children could be expected to practice the safety protocols at all times. What will the school do to reinforce safe behavior?
- Will the ventilation upgrades be maintained?
- What are the cleaning and sanitizing protocols at school?
- Will all Faculty & Staff be vaccinated?
Testing and Contact Tracing
- What should one do if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?
- What happens with individuals who develop symptoms at school?
- What happens if a student/staff tests positive for COVID-19?
- What is the definition of a close contact?
- How will the school manage contact tracing?
- What is the protocol for relatives of close contacts at ISB?
- If I, as a parent, am awaiting COVID test results, should I still send my children to school?
- Will ISB offer regular surveillance testing for students?
- Will the School offer vaccination clinics for students on campus?
- Will the School monitor the vaccine status of students?
- What should I do if my family plans to travel over school vacation weeks?
- What is the definition of fully vaccinated?
On-campus operations will resume in September 2021 with updated health and safety protocols in place. They will also include social, emotional, and practical support for our students, faculty, and staff. It is possible that our health and safety protocols could evolve throughout the year based on the student vaccination rates and the levels of local community transmission. The protocols will include the following layered prevention strategies:
- Required masking
- Physical distancing
- Enhanced cleaning
- Handwashing and sanitizing
- Air ventilation
- Isolation of symptomatic individuals
- Surveillance testing
- Daily health attestation via Magnus Application
- In compliance with current CDC guidelines for the 2021-22 school year, classrooms and common spaces will be redesigned to allow for at least 3’ of space between students. In most classrooms, desks will be arranged in rows and all common seating tables will be removed, except in the Media Center.
- To the extent possible, each student will have an assigned seat in the classroom to further reduce the risk of transmission and help with tracing if necessary. This policy may be amended based on the prevalence rate throughout the year.
- To the extent possible, multiple staircases will be used to minimize students congregating.
- Lunch will be held in classrooms to avoid congregation in the cafeteria.
- During lunch or mask breaks, students will keep a minimum distance of 6’.
- When outdoors, individuals should distance as feasible, especially if participating in higher respiration activities or seated together (i.e., lunch).
- Students will be allowed to go to the bathroom one person at a time.
- Use of student lockers will be permitted; each division will design procedures to ensure students do not congregate at the lockers.
- We will use virtual platforms during academic instruction and student activities, where necessary, and especially for large group events, in order to keep in-person contact at safer levels.
- A distance of at least 6 feet is still recommended by the CDC between students and faculty & staff.
- Parent-teacher conferences and meetings/coffees will most likely take place remotely for the most part. Information will be shared in the Weekly Updates.
- Yes. This is still a foundational step in fighting COVID-19 or other contagious diseases.
- Students will be reminded to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and young children will be assisted with handwashing.
- If handwashing is not possible, hand sanitizer pumps with at least 60 percent alcohol will be available in all classrooms, lobbies, and bathrooms, along with free-standing hand sanitizer stations on wheels that will be placed strategically throughout campus. Brands of hand sanitizers used at ISB: Safety First and Germs Be Gone Hand Sanitizer Clean and Fresh.
- We will also remind the community of respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes).
- We know from this past school year that students adapt and follow protocols easily.
- ISB faculty and staff have been trained on safety protocols before the school year began, and teachers will go over the safety routines with students on a daily basis.
- Posters and infographics will be placed prominently around the school as a constant reminder how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- There will be training and in-person demonstrations of hand-washing, respiratory etiquette, masks, and social distancing at the beginning of the year, as applicable. For our youngest students, there will be hands-on activities, instructional videos, and fun experiments to help them understand and remember the new procedures.
- We expect all of our students and faculty to be ready to follow the protocols and we will help everyone understand them in the first days of school. We will be extremely vigilant about enforcement, including the possibility of sending students home, in order to ensure the health and safety of all.
- Absolutely! Improving ventilation in the classrooms is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Airflow and renewal of air will be enhanced by opening doors and windows, which will all be operational. Boxed window fans have been installed for exhaust of stale air. Window AC units will be operable but will only be used if needed and always with one window open for a few inches.
- All filters in existing unit ventilators or central AC where available use MERV 13 filters.
- Custodians will open windows in each classroom approximately 2 hours before school starts in the morning.
- During bus transportation, windows will be kept open a few inches at all times, except in extreme weather.
- During cold days, windows will be closed down with the exception of one window that will be left open one inch or so. They will be closed in extreme weather conditions.
- To the extent possible, some classes will be held outdoors.
What are the cleaning and sanitizing protocols at school?
ISB will follow CDC recommendations, which now indicate that in most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. Frequently touched surfaces such as school entrance doors, railings etc. will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. The entire school facility will be cleaned once a day when no persons with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in a space.
- The single most important thing to do if experiencing any of the listed COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, is to stay at home and get a test for COVID-19 prior to returning to school.
- Please call the school nurse to discuss symptoms. List of testing sites can be found at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test.
- If a student or staff member has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
- A rapid Antigen test is acceptable for minimal symptoms (e.g., isolated runny nose/nasal congestion, isolated headache, not meeting COVID-19 criteria) but will remain presumptive.
- Current pediatrician protocol for students with sore throat is COVID test first, then if the sore throat worsens: strep test. As both have similar symptoms and both are contagious, the strep test helps to eliminate any doubts.
- If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return tos school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis.
- Those with symptoms who do not wish to be tested will need to stay at home for 10 days after onset of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
- Any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested if indicated.
- Students and Faculty & Staff who feel ill will be isolated in a designated space and will follow specific discharge protocols. As a reminder, individuals who feel sick should stay home.
- There will be one isolation room designated for triage and assessment of COVID-19 like symptoms during the school day until the student is picked up. The room has windows and direct access to the outside. Individuals placed in the isolation room will be asked to put on a school-provided surgical mask, for extra safety.
- The nurse’s health offices will be used for other non-COVID matters.
- Will the students be sent to the nurse or will she pick them up [Isabelle to review with Nurse]
Testing of symptomatic individuals at school
- The School will use the rapid test Abbott BinaxNOW for use on symptomatic students and staff if they experience the onset of symptoms at school. Results are available approximately 15 minutes after completion of the test.
- The rapid test cannot be used for broad-scale asymptomatic testing in school according to DESE. Results are presumptive, not diagnostic; a PCR test may be used to definitively confirm that the individual does or does not have COVID-19.
- The Nurse will call parents to authorize the administration of the antigen test.
- Any symptomatic individual who tests positive on the Binax NOW test will be treated as a positive COVID-19 case and managed accordingly.
- If a symptomatic individual has a negative BinaxNOW test, they should be sent home. Parents will be asked to follow up with their healthcare provider and consider PCR testing before the student or the staff can return to school.
Even as we remain vigilant, and Massachusetts infection rates remain low, the risk of an eventual case of COVID-19 in the ISB community is possible.
- If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must follow the instructions from the health authorities for safe return to work or school. They should notify the ISB school nurse and answer the call from the local board of health or MA community tracing collaborative. They must remain at home at least 10 days and until they have received clearance from public health authorities.
- Once the school is notified of a case, we will promptly close off areas where the COVID-19 positive individual was present for cleaning and disinfection. We will communicate to families that there has been a confirmed case, protecting the privacy of the individual student or staff member who tested positive.
- Students and staff who are close contacts should be tested, and they must also self-quarantine for 10 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive. See below for close contacts who are fully vaccinated. Alternatively, close contacts must quarantine for at least 7 days, and may be cleared to return after the 7 day quarantine, provided all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- They are tested on day 5 or later from their last exposure to the positive individual and receive a negative PCR or Antigen test result.
- They have not experienced any symptoms within the 7 day quarantine.
- They conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 14, and self-isolate if new symptoms develop past the initial 7 days.
- Through a program organized by DESE, the School may be able to provide an at-home version of the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test for individuals being sent home as close contact for free of charge. Having this option will reduce the challenge of finding testing locations and more immediately identify whether close contacts are positive for the virus. These tests can be taken by students (from age 4 up) at home on a webcam-enabled device through which a trained eMed proctor provides instructions, monitors the test self-administration, and verifies the results. Information will be provided when applicable.
- Unvaccinated siblings of a close contact will be asked to stay home until we receive the test result of the close contact. Vaccinated siblings will be able to go to school.
- Individuals will be identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person if they were within 6 feet of them while indoors, for at least 15 minutes, while they were symptomatic, or within the 48 hours before symptom onset. Individuals will also be identified as a close contact if they were within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes of someone while indoors, who tested positive for COVID-19 in the 48 hours before their test was taken or anytime in the 10 days after the test.
- According to CDC guidance, individuals are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities, even without the use of masks. As a result, the period of time that a student or staff is outside does not count as a close contact. The identification of a close contact is ONLY attributable to the time spent indoors.
- NEW THIS YEAR: Close contacts who were exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the classroom or on the bus while both individuals were masked do not have to quarantine unless they were within 3 feet of distance of the COVID-19 positive individual for a total of 15 minutes during a 24-hour period. They should get tested, actively monitor for symptoms and implement other key health and safety practices (e.g., mask). This does not apply if someone was identified as a close contact outside of the classroom or bus (e.g., in sports, extracurriculars, lunch, etc.) or if masks are not worn by both persons at the time of the exposure.
- Also, individuals who are fully vaccinated or who have had confirmed COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not need to be quarantined as long as they do not have symptoms. Depending on circumstances, the School may require them to wear a mask for 10 days following exposure. They may decide to also get tested if helpful for family members at home who might still face risk of additional exposure.
Unvaccinated relatives of a student or member of Faculty & Staff who has been identified as a close contact will be asked to stay home until we receive the test result of the close contact. Fully vaccinated members of the same household will be able to go to school without waiting for the test result of the close contact [really need to wait for DESE]. Other contacts of close contacts (who are not members of the same household) are not considered at high risk of transmission, and they are not required to self-quarantine.
If you are awaiting a test result after experiencing symptoms or after a potential exposure, please refrain from sending your students who are not fully vaccinated to school until you have your own negative test results. If you are being tested as part of routine surveillance and have no symptoms, your child can come to school unless they have symptoms.
Will ISB offer regular surveillance testing for students?
Yes. Students, Faculty & Staff, regardless of their vaccination status, will have the option to participate in weekly surveillance pooled testing conducted at school. Participation in pooled testing is voluntary per DESE. One-time DESE-specific consent from parents will be required for participation. Training and information will be provided to students. We will communicate to you the starting date of this surveillance program.
Pooled testing involves mixing 10 test samples together in a “pool” and then testing the pooled sample with a PCR test for detection of COVID. Pooled testing is a highly effective tool to identify positive cases in areas with low transmission, which is currently the case in Massachusetts. This approach increases the number of individuals who can be tested using the same amount of resources as a single PCR test. Collected specimens are delivered to approved laboratories via same-day delivery, and results are returned within 24-48 hours to the School (not the individual being tested). The size of the pool may be decreased depending on prevalence either at school or in the community. To the extent possible, “membership” in the pool will remain constant.
The test is performed with an anterior nasal swab. Pooled testing will be administered at school in each classroom by on-site test specimen collectors. For students in grades 2 and up, the test can be self-administered under appropriate supervision and at the discretion of the trained observer. This limits the amount of PPE required for testing administrators and enables testing to be done more quickly to limit academic work interruption.
Students, Faculty, and Staff do not need to quarantine while awaiting pooled test results and should be in school unless they become symptomatic.
- If a pooled test result is negative, then all individuals within that pool are presumed negative.
- If a pooled test result is positive, then all individuals in the pool must quarantine until they are retested individually. Abbott BinaxNOW will be used for follow-up tests of individuals included in a positive pool. The follow-up test will also be conducted at school. Students who are part of a positive pool and their household members do not need to quarantine while they await their follow-up test results unless they are symptomatic. Individuals who receive positive, follow-up individual test results will need to be isolated and follow COVID protocols for positive individuals. If all BinaxNOW tests are negative, individual PCR tests will be done.
- A fully vaccinated individual who is part of a positive pool should get a follow-up test as explained above but it is not necessary for that person to stay out of school before taking the follow-up test or awaiting the results.
- Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days should be excluded from pooled testing.
Will the school offer vaccination clinics for students on campus?
At this time, due to ample local availability of the vaccine, the School does not anticipate holding a vaccination clinic on-site.
- Information on COVID-19 vaccination in the Boston area can be found at https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-updates-and-information.
- Vaccination sites in Massachusetts can be found at https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/.
Yes. We kindly ask that you provide a copy of the COVID-19 vaccination proof (CDC card for instance) if your student is already vaccinated by emailing it to the School Nurse.
Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19 and the CDC recommends that you delay travel until fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people.
Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants. The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new or concerning variants, differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html
The following travel restrictions apply to all ISB students and faculty and staff, regardless of their vaccination status. This protocol is subject to change based on state and local guidance.
Students and faculty and staff who travel overseas will need to stay home until day 11 after returning to Massachusetts OR until they produce a negative PCR or Antigen COVID-19 test result that has been administered no earlier than 4 days after their arrival in Massachusetts. The test result must be emailed or presented to the school nurse prior to arrival in school. Please note that airlines or immigration authorities may have additional testing requirements.
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated.
This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. This guidance can also be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g. AstraZeneca/Oxford).