Preschool through Grade 12

Health and Safety


How will the school provide a safe environment for students on campus?

As with previous academic years, we expect that our health and safety protocols will evolve throughout the year based on levels of local community transmission. 

Please know that we design our protocols with the twin goals of minimizing interruption in teaching and protecting the school population. When assessing our protocols, we consider a menu of options in order to adopt the right approach with our goals in mind. We also draw on our shared experience of operating the school during the past two years at various stages of the pandemic. 

Our typical protocols include the following layered prevention strategies:

  • Optional masking
  • Air ventilation
  • Testing and isolation of symptomatic individuals while at school 
  • Handwashing and sanitizing
  • Enhanced cleaning

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Will masks be required at school?  

As of Thursday, September 1, 2022, the School is Mask Optional for All Grades. This means that masks are not required inside school premises, except in narrow circumstances. 

Importantly, anyone who wishes to continue wearing a mask for whatever reason and for whatever portion of the school day remains welcome to do so, respecting individual decisions. 

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What does "Mask Optional" mean in practice?

There will be no masks required: 

  • indoors for anyone, students or faculty and staff, regardless of vaccination status 
  • on school buses
  • for clubs and sports

Will there be exceptions?
For now, masks will still be required in the following scenarios/locations:

  • in school health offices, per DESE protocol
  • for COVID-19-positive individuals who return to school with a negative Antigen test during Days 6-10 from the date of positive test or onset of symptoms (except when drinking, eating, or outdoors)
  • if a specific class, event, or community situation warrants it
  • for certain visitors allowed inside school premises
  • on public transportation, if used for field trips

As such, we recommend you continue to send your student to school with a couple well fitted masks in their backpack.

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Can I continue wearing a mask even when it is not required?

As a school community, we entirely respect the decision of anyone to continue wearing a mask. There are any number of reasons why someone may choose to do so. For example, a person may:

  • have a family member who is immunocompromised
  • be more comfortable wearing a mask for their own peace of mind 

Whatever the circumstances, it is important that we respect both individual choice and individual privacy. In this spirit, we kindly request that we collectively refrain from asking fellow members of our community about their reasons for wearing (or not wearing) masks on school property. 

For Elementary School parents: If you would like your student to keep wearing a mask throughout the day, we advise that you drop them off wearing one.

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What other COVID-19 mitigation measures will remain in place?
We will keep a range of other mitigation measures in effect, including:

  • Open windows for increased ventilation
  • Testing of symptomatic individuals while at school
  • Enhanced focus on hand hygiene
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Appropriate visitor protocols 

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Will the ventilation upgrades be maintained? 

  • 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. Boxed window fans have been installed to remove stale air. Window AC units will be operable but will be used only if needed, and always with one window open 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 the school day begins.
  • 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, with the exception of one window to be left open one inch or so. Windows will be closed in extreme weather conditions.
  • To the extent possible, some classes will be held outdoors.

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Will students and Faculty & Staff still be frequently washing and sanitizing their hands?  

  • Yes. This remains a foundational step in fighting COVID-19 and 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 with at least 60% alcohol will be available in all classrooms, lobbies, and bathrooms, along with hand sanitizer stations on wheels that will be strategically placed throughout the campus. Brands of hand sanitizers used at ISB include Safety First and Purell.
  • We will also remind the community of the importance of covering coughs and sneezes.

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I worry whether children can be expected to practice the safety protocols at all times. How will the school positively encourage safe behavior?

  • We know from past school years that students tend to adapt to and follow protocols easily.
  • In terms of training, ISB faculty and staff are trained in safety protocols before the school year begins. Teachers will go over safety routines with students, including in-person demonstrations, hands-on activities, instructional videos, and fun experiments to help them remember the procedures.
  • We expect all of our students and faculty to be ready to follow the protocols at the start of the school year, and we will support everyone in understanding what they mean in practice. 

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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 and railings will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. The entire school facility will be cleaned once a day.

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Testing and Contact Tracing

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
  • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms.

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What should one do if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

  • 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. 
  • If a student or staff member has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19 (Antigen at-home tests are acceptable), have an improvement in symptoms, and have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis. 

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How do I provide consent for testing of my student?

ISB Parent Portal > Quick Links > Your Household Information
 
On the next page, click on "School Policies" near the upper right corner of the page.


 You will see the link for the "Student Consent Form for COVID-19 Testing." Please complete the form.


Contact Isabelle Praud if you have any questions about the testing program or the consent form.

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What happens if a student/staff tests positive for COVID-19? 

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.

  • Individuals who test positive must isolate for at least 5 days. If they are asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving, and they have been fever-free for 24 hours, they may return to school after Day 5, provided:

    • The individual wears a mask through Day 10 if able to do so. 

  • If unable to mask, the individual must have a negative test on Day 5 or later, in order to return to school prior to Day 11.

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What happens with individuals who develop symptoms at school?

  • When COVID-like symptoms become apparent at school, individuals will be placed in the health offices for triage and reassessment during the day until the student is picked up. They will be asked to put on a school-provided surgical mask for extra safety.  
  • Symptomatic children may return to the school program if they are immediately tested onsite (using BinaxNOW or iHealth rapid tests) and the test result is negative. Best practice would also include wearing a mask, if possible until symptoms have fully resolved. The same protocol applies to Faculty & Staff who experience symptoms while at school. As a reminder, individuals who feel sick should stay home.

Testing of symptomatic individuals at school 

  • The School will use the rapid test Abbott BinaxNOW or iHealth (shallow nasal swab) 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 whether the individual does or does not have COVID-19. 
  • The Nurse will call parents to authorize the administration of the antigen test unless consent has already been given.
  • Any symptomatic individual who tests positive on the antigen test will be treated as a positive COVID-19 case and managed accordingly.

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How will the school communicate with parents about positive cases in the class?

Parents will receive a generic email informing them about any identified positive cases in the class of their student. The privacy of the individual who tested positive will be respected.

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  • Individuals will be identified as close contacts 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 prior to symptom onset. Individuals will also be identified as close contacts if, while indoors, they spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the 48 hours before the test was taken, or anytime in the 10 days after the test.

  • According to CDC guidelines, 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. The identification of a close contact is ONLY attributable to the time spent indoors.

  • If a student/staff member is a close contact: Children who are identified as close contacts, regardless of where the exposure occurred and their vaccination status, do not need to quarantine and may continue to attend school as long as they remain asymptomatic. Parents or guardians are expected to monitor their children for symptoms for 10 days. Those who can mask should do so until Day 10 after the last day of exposure. A test is recommended on Days 2 and 5. If they experience symptoms, please keep them home and have them tested, in accordance with State guidelines.

  • As per CDC contact tracing guidelines, contacts of close contacts (for instance, the siblings of close contacts) are not considered at high risk of transmission and do not need to self-quarantine unless they develop symptoms or an individual identified as a close contact develops COVID-19.

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If I, as a parent, am awaiting COVID test results, should I still send my children to school?

If you are awaiting the COVID test result due to suspected exposure (other than surveillance testing), please send your children to school with a mask on. If they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, even if light, please test them with a rapid Antigen test before sending them to school.

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No. At this point, the School does not intend on offering routine pooled or Test & Stay programs as it did in the last school year. 

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Page updated Saturday, August 20th.