Our goal at Holden Christian Academy is the safe return of all students to an in-person learning environment. It is clear that it is not a single action, but the combination of actions that minimize risk, mitigate the virus’s transmission, and help create safe environments. These protocols have been implemented at HCA in order to keep our students and staff safe during the 2020-21 academic year. This document represents what we know so far, as of November 20, 2020, and could change as guidance is adjusted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which is based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Protocols for Maintaining Staff/Student Health
Per Massachusetts state guidelines, and as part of the social compact of reopening, students and staff must stay home if they feel sick, or have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 including:
- Fever (100.0+), chills, shaking chills
- Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
Holden Christian Academy, as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, requires families to keep their student home from school if they are sick, and if a student becomes ill with any Covid-19 symptoms while at school, they will be promptly dismissed. Specific protocols regarding COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, and diagnosis are included later in this document. What is important for us to stress here, is that a cooperative effort on the part of staff and families is necessary in order to maintain the health of the individuals within our school family, as well as to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Protocols for Student Attendance
When Holden Christian Academy’s campus is open during the 2020-21 academic year, students enrolled in Grades PreK-8 are expected to attend in-person classes. Schoolwide Remote Learning will be offered to enrolled students if the Governor requires all Massachusetts schools to close because of COVID-19. Our response to individual cases of COVID-19 (either exposure or diagnosis) within the school will allow for the extended absence of student(s), between 10-14 days.
We believe in-person learning is vitally important to the quality of students’ academic learning, as well as plays an equally important role in supporting students’ social-emotional needs, including their mental and physical health, and mitigating the impacts of trauma, therefore in-person attendance of healthy, enrolled students is expected on a daily basis.
If a student is home because of COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis, but feels well enough to do schoolwork, they will have the opportunity to remain connected to their class/assignments through Google Classroom, and teachers will work cooperatively with parents/students to provide missed work.
Please note: if a student of compulsory school age is withdrawn from Holden Christian Academy in order to homeschool, the parent(s) assume full responsibility to gain approval for their child’s homeschooling program by the superintendent or school committee of their own district of residence.
Protocols for Student/Staff Absence
Holden Christian Academy recognizes that students and staff may need to be absent from school more than in a typical year, due to COVID-19. We also anticipate the possibility of extended student absences in the case of COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or diagnosis, and will work with each family and extend grace to the best of our ability during times when students may not return to school. During absences due to exposure (especially when a student is asymptomatic, but unable to attend class), students are expected to participate in Cohort Remote Learning, complete assignments in a timely manner, and not fall behind in their schoolwork.
If a student is absent in excess of 20 days (5 per term) because of exposure, symptoms, or diagnosis of COVID-19, the student’s academic progress will be closely monitored by the Principal and teachers. In the case a student has excessive absences resulting in low academic performance, the Principal will make a recommendation to the School Committee about that student’s promotion to the next grade as necessary.
Protocols for Handwashing and Sanitizing
All students and staff must engage in frequent handwashing, including upon arrival, before and after meals, after bathroom use, after coughing and sneezing, and before dismissal. Effective hand washing includes the use of soap and water to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, wait for a visible lather, rinse thoroughly and dry with an individual disposable towel. If hand washing is not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content can be used. Several hands-free hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout the building.
All HCA teachers will build time into their schedules and be responsible to oversee the frequency of handwashing required by the state.
Additionally, students who are sharing equipment (for example, ipads, building blocks, educational manipulatives) should wash or sanitize their hands before and after using equipment, as frequent hand washing is the best way to protect against transmission from surfaces.
Protocols for Wearing Masks or Face Coverings
Masks are one of the most important tools to prevent transmission of the virus. HCA students in Grade 2-8, and adults including educators and staff, are required to wear a mask/face covering that covers their nose and mouth at all times, except for designated breaks, which will occur throughout the day when individuals are at least 6’ apart from others. Students in Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade are strongly encouraged to wear masks when in the classroom, but they are only required to wear masks when they are closer than 3’. All HCA students, regardless of their grade, are required to wear a mask when in common spaces, hallways, during arrival/dismissal, and anywhere that social distance can not be maintained.
Mask breaks will occur when students are 6’ apart and/or when they are outside, and will be taken throughout the day.
Protocols for Safe Physical Distancing
Physical distancing is a critical component in mitigating the transmission of the virus. All students and staff will maintain physical distancing of six feet whenever possible within Holden Christian Academy. Masks must be worn in any common space, including hallways, and any time six feet of distance cannot be maintained. A minimum acceptable distance is three feet, when in combination with face coverings and other measures. Establishing a minimum physical distance of three feet between students when face coverings are worn is informed by evidence and substantiated by guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization.
In order to assist in the maintenance of proper physical distancing guidelines, the following changes will be made at Holden Christian Academy:
- Classroom desks will be arranged 6 feet apart, and no less than 3 feet apart, and face the same direction. Younger students who do not use desks will be spaced no less than three feet apart on rugs and at tables and centers, as much as possible.
- Our Kindergarten and 1st Grade classrooms will aim to keep students six feet apart, but not less than three feet apart.
- Our Preschool students will be spaced three feet apart as much as feasible.
- All hallways are for the passage of one class at a time. If a class is using a hallway and comes upon another class of students, the OLDER students will yield to the younger students.
- The stairwell by the Main Office will be used as a DOWNWARD directional stairwell, used to come from the second floor to the first. This stairwell may not be used to go up unless there is an emergency.
- The stairwell by the Principal’s Office will be used as an UPWARD stairwell, used to go up to the second floor from the first. This stairwell may not be used to go down, unless there is an emergency.
- When students are changing classes (for example, in the Middle School) the teachers will establish and maintain clear foot traffic patterns to minimize congestion and one-to-one interactions between students.
- Student desks (and seats at tables in younger grades) will be assigned to individual students.
- In Preschool, student rest-time cots will be spaced a minimum of 3’ apart, and students will be spread out for stationary activities such as mealtime and center time, to the fullest extent possible. At the Preschool level, most class time will be outdoors to allow for as much balance between social distancing and playtime as possible. A social distancing minimum of 3 feet will be maintained in small spaces like the sandbox, or at classroom tables.
Enhanced Arrival and Dismissal Procedures due to Physical Distancing
Preschool Arrival and Dismissal: PK students will be dropped off and picked up at the glass doors to the left of the portico, in order to preserve the safety of their learning environment.
- PK ARRIVAL: Families will be greeted by a staff member, and parents will be surveyed daily about student symptoms and exposure outside of school. A staff member will keep a written record of this daily symptom check for every Preschooler before bringing them into the Preschool foyer to hang up their backpack, etc. Preschool staff will ensure every student has a mask and washes their hands upon entry to the classroom.
- PRESCHOOL DISMISSAL - Preschoolers will be dismissed to their parents through the door to the left of the portico. Parents will remain in their vehicle and their child will be brought to them.
K-8 Arrival and Dismissal: K-8 students will both arrive and be dismissed through the Student Entrance Door, on the east side of our building. With the smaller number of students and families at HCA this year, coupled with the need to maintain social distance and proper handwashing procedure, the following changes will be made to the Arrival and Dismissal:
- K-8 ARRIVAL: All students will enter the Student Entrance door between 8:00am-8:15am. Students and parents will be verbally screened for COVID-19 symptoms by a Staff member on duty before a student may exit the vehicle. We will allow one family/vehicle to enter the building at a time, and ask that all other students wait in their car until they are given permission to exit. During this morning arrival time, 2 staff members will be present to greet children. One will speak with each parent/caregiver and screen for COVID-19 symptoms, keeping a written record of each parent/caregiver’s attestation. The other staff member will supervise the students getting out of cars 1 at a time. All students will be directed to the bathrooms, where they will wash their hands with soap and water before continuing to their Homeroom.
- TARDY ARRIVALS: If a PK-8 family arrives late to school (after the arrival door has been closed at 8:15am), parents must park their car and remain in their vehicle with their child. We recommend tardy K-8 families park outside the Main Office, and tardy PK families park outside the glass doors near Preschool (under the portico). Parents/caregivers must call the School Office at (508)829-4418 and be screened verbally over the phone by a Staff member. (If a parent gets our answering machine message, they must call back and speak to a member of our Staff in person before sending their child in). The HCA Staff member will conduct a verbal symptom check over the phone, and ask the parent to either (a) send the K-8 child in to school through the Office doors, or (b) meet a Preschool staff member at the glass doors. Parents of younger elementary students may walk their child to the front door as needed. Parents of Preschoolers may walk their child to the door to meet a Preschool staff member who will bring their child to the classroom.
- K-8 DISMISSAL: All students will remain in their seats from 2:45pm-3:00pm daily, under the supervision of a classroom teacher. The classroom teacher will ensure each student has either washed their hands with soap and water or used hand sanitizer before they are dismissed. One teacher (scheduled on a rotating basis) will stand at the Student Entrance door and communicate with the Office via walkie-talkie. Student/family names will be called and students will be dismissed one family at a time. All ‘staff kids’ will also remain in their classrooms during this time, eliminating the need for them to be gathered and supervised separately. When Dismissal is over at 3:00pm, ‘staff kids’ will report directly to their mom for supervision (unless they are signed up for ASP), thus eliminating the need for care as well as to prevent mixing among cohorts.
- LATE PICKUPS: Because the After School Program is by advanced reservation only, any students who are not picked up by 3:00pm will be brought to the school office to await parent pickup. Any parents who are later than 3:15pm, when the Office closes, will be assessed a Late Pickup Fee of $1 per minute, billable through FACTS.
Protocols for Cohorts
In order to promote physical distancing among students at Holden Christian Academy, students will be grouped into cohorts. Cohorts are self-contained groups, thus limiting the cohort from interaction with others within our school building. By grouping students and staff into cohorts, interaction will be limited, which means that if there is a positive COVID-19 case in the school, fewer individuals will have interacted with that person (and therefore fewer students will be considered “close contacts”). Cohorts will be grouped together for classes, mask breaks, meals, and recess. The following cohorts have been established at HCA for the 2020-21 academic year (but are subject to change based on enrollment):
- Preschool Cohort - Preschool
- Cohort A - Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2
- Cohort B - Grade 3, Grade 4
- Middle School Cohort - Grade 5-8
Protocols for Sharing of Equipment
Many classes and activities use equipment and materials that are regularly shared between students, including music, visual arts, and physical education. The sharing of equipment is permitted with the following modifications:
- Students will wash hands, wear masks, and maintain distance
- Students should wash or sanitize their hands before and after using the equipment
- Students should, ideally, be 6’ apart. When wearing masks, 3 feet is the minimum distance allowed between students. Masks must cover the nose and mouth and be on at all times if students are less than 6’ apart or using shared equipment.
- Teachers will minimize and modify shared equipment usage
- Teachers will consider lesson plans that minimize the use of shared equipment.
- As able, teachers may assign certain pieces of equipment to students and clean between use
- Instruments that do not come in contact with the mouth (piano) can be shared if cleaned between uses, but not woodwind or brass instruments are allowed to be shared.
- Equipment that touches the eyes or mouth can be shared if a disposable cover is added and student do not directly breathe into the item. If disposable covers are used, they must be removed, disposed of and replaced with a new cover between students.
- We will temporarily discontinue the use of shared equipment that is hard to clean or disinfect (any fabric materials, irregular surfaces, stuffed animals, playdough, slime, etc). Individual playdough/slime per student may be allowed, as long as it is not shared between students.
- There will be increased shared equipment cleaning
- Shared equipment will be wiped down before and after each use (so, ideally, there are 2 wipe downs between each student’s use)
- Shared equipment will be cleaned and disinfected at least daily.
Protocols for Music Education
At this time, all music education must be done either online or outside. If students are singing, they must be 10’ apart from one another and singing in the same direction.
Protocols for Visual Arts Education
Visual Arts classes will follow the protocols for shared equipment. As much as we are able, students will use their own art supplies.
Protocols for Physical Education
In order to enhance the health and safety of students due to increased respiration or sharing of equipment, the following protocols have been set in place:
- If outdoors, without masks: activities can occur with 10 feet of distance between individuals
- If outdoors, with masks required: these activities can occur with 6 feet of distance between individuals
- If indoors, with masks required: these activities can occur with 6 feet of distance between individuals
As much as possible, the PE teacher will ensure the following:
- No PE classes can have activities with close physical contact.
- PE should prioritize activities that do not require shared equipment. For example, track and field, yoga/stretching, agility training exercises, bodyweight strength training, running, step aerobics, or racquet activities (as long as racquets are disinfected before and after each use).
- Outdoor classes will be prioritized as much as possible.
Protocols for Enhanced Ventilation
Windows will be open to increase ventilation, except in the event of severe weather. The fresh air ventilation system will run throughout the school day in order to increase air flow within the building.
Protocol for Regular Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting, and Disposal
Classroom Teachers and Staff are responsible for the following cleaning/disinfecting multiple times throughout the school day:
- Wipe down all high touch surfaces with antibacterial wipes, peroxide, or other disinfectant regularly
- Ensure that the student desk/chair is wiped down between use; when cohorts of students move between classrooms or where meals are eaten at desks, cleaning of desks must take place between classes and before and after meals.
- Wipe all surfaces including: tables, light switches, door knobs, handles, keyboard, mouse, phone and commonly used areas both during the day as they are used/touched, and at the end of the day before leaving work
- All electronics that are used and/or shared between students must be thoroughly cleaned between use
- Require all students who need to dispose of broken/soiled masks to fold them and put them directly in the trash
- All staff who enter the Kitchen or Office and use the copy machine, phone, etc must disinfect any surfaces they touch when they are done.
The Custodial Staff will be responsible for cleaning high touch common areas such as handrails on the stairs, doors to the gym, bathrooms, as well as sanitizing classrooms nightly. In the event of a student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19, the custodial staff will also be responsible for the disinfection of any space where the individual was present in the 2 days prior to their diagnosis, if they haven’t already been disinfected.
Protocols for Cubbies, Hooks, Student Belongings
Teachers will stagger the student cubbies, hooks, and spaces for personal belongings as far apart as possible. When possible, they will utilize every-other-cubby, or every-third-cubby, in order to assist social distancing. When this is not possible, students will be allowed to access their cubbies in a staggered schedule to help avoid crowding.
Protocols for Eating
Students must wash hands thoroughly before eating. Students may unmask and eat when they are spaced no less than 6’ apart, whether inside or outside. If classroom desks are spaced six feet apart, snack and lunch may be eaten at desks; if classroom desks are less than six feet apart, the teacher is responsible for bringing students to another space where they can position themselves at least 6’ apart while eating. If desks, tables, or other surfaces are used, they will be wiped clean after each use. Students are required to throw away all food-related trash themselves, and should not pick up other student’s wrappers, trash, etc. Students will also wash their hands when they have finished eating and disposing of trash.
Teachers will ensure that students properly remove and store masks before eating. Masks should be removed by handing the ties or back/ear areas of the mask once seated. Students should not touch the outside or inside of the part covering the face. While eating, masks should be placed on a napkin, paper towel, or other container on the table, with the inside of the mask facing up. Masks should be put back on before a student leaves his/her seat.
Protocols for Recess
Outside spaces will be available for students to enjoy with their cohorts. A staggered schedule for recess will be forthcoming, but teachers will be supervising their own students, and may share responsibilities with the other teachers in their cohort.
Students will be free to play outside on our field, parking lot (where coned off), and on the swings/jungle gym.
Protocols for Before School Care
Before school care of non-staff students has been temporarily suspended until further notice. For staff kids in the building, they may gather in the gym with masks between 7:45am-8:00 during staff devotions; however all staff kids must remain 6’ apart.
Protocols for After School Care
After School Care will operate as its own cohort from 3pm-6pm daily, with advanced reservations required. After School Care is for students whose parents sign them up for regularly scheduled care. Unfortunately we will not be able to accommodate the occasional reservation at this time.
The After School Care staff is responsible for all the cleaning/disinfecting protocols that a classroom teacher performs daily, including the disinfecting of high touch surfaces throughout the afternoon, as well as wiping all high touch surfaces including door knobs, handles, light-switches, etc before leaving for the day.
Protocols for Visitors/Deliveries
All non-staff and non-student visitors are temporarily limited, with the exception of a parent or guardian who must enter the building for a specific reason (ie. an appointment with a teacher or administrator). Wherever possible, meetings will occur outside of the school building in fresh air. We are temporarily suspending all electives in order to limit the exposure for our students.
All visitors must be masked, and stop in the Office to sign in. All packages delivered during the school day must be left outside the school or inside the front foyer.
Protocols for Staff and Students Visiting the School Office
In order to prevent potential exposure to infectious diseases, promote isolation, and decrease Office congestion, teachers will NOT send students to the the Office for the following common situations:
- Paper cuts, small abrasions, picked scabs - have them wash their hands and apply a bandage as needed.
- Minor headache and/or fatigue - allow them to get a snack or drink of water first and see if they feel better after 20 minutes.
- Localized bug bite - check the Red Alert to confirm that the student does not have a history of allergy. If the student has no history, apply a cool paper towel to the area to help prevent the student from scratching unnecessarily.
- Anxiety/Street/Psychosocial issues - if the event is not affecting the student’s breathing or the student does not need any medical help, teachers will try redirection, providing a snack, praying with the student, or refer the student to Mrs. Cleveland by calling the Office and asking them to send Mrs. Cleveland to their classroom to talk with the student.
Any student or staff member who is having a medical emergency should remain in place while staff use their best judgement to assess. If it is an emergency, HCA staff will not delay calling 911 and active EMS and delegate as appropriate. When a student needs to go to the Office for the aforementioned COVID-19 symptoms, a teacher must call the Office first, and follow the “Protocol for Isolation and Discharge of Students” (below). If an ill child needs to enter the COVID Isolation Space, the staff member who brings him/her will wipe all door handles as they leave.
Any other individual needing the Office staff must come to the glass window in order to discuss their needs. The copy machine and staff mailboxes have been temporarily relocated to the Kitchen. Staff members should always call the Office before sending a student.
All phones and intercom systems are for the exclusive use of the Office Staff, with the exception of the Principal. All phones will be wiped down between use.
Protocol for Isolation and Discharge of Students/Staff Who Become Sick During the School Day
Although families are the most important first line of defense for monitoring symptoms, HCA teachers will play an important role in referring possible symptomatic students to the school medical point of contact.
- Each teacher will ensure his/her students are wearing a mask that fully covers nose and mouth at all times, except during mask breaks when students are at least six feet apart.
- All teachers with a sick or injured student should call the Office before any student comes to be treated. Similarly, if a staff member becomes ill during the workday, they will also call the Office from their location.
- Students who are showing any signs of COVID-19 or other illness will remain in their classroom until the Office has been properly alerted and able to put on PPE.
- Classroom teachers should not take a student’s temperature using an oral thermometer.
- If a student presents any COVID-19 symptoms while at school, the teacher will have the student gather his/her belongings and escort him/her to the Covid Isolation Space to await pickup. A staff member will take a student’s temperature with an infrared thermometer if necessary, although a fever does not need to be confirmed for dismissal due to COVID-19 symptoms.
- Staff will disinfect any surfaces touched by that student immediately, and any rooms/spaces that student visited will be disinfected as soon as possible.
- Parents will pick up a sick child within 1 hour.
- Preschool students who become ill with COVID-19 symptoms during the day will be isolated with a PK staff member in the Preschool Covid Isolation Space, and await pickup.
- Additional notes regarding sick/injured students:
- K-8 students who are injured will be treated in the kitchen; Preschool students who are injured will be treated in the PK classroom.
- If an injured student, or any other ill student without COVID symptoms, needs to be dismissed, they will wait on the bench in the Office, or in the Preschool classroom until a parent arrives.
Protocol for Student or Staff Who Test Positive for COVID-19
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify HCA, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from the local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. For most people who have relatively mild illness, they will need to stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days and until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms.
- While the student is absent due to sickness, the teacher will be in contact with the student and provide any essential make up work through Google Classroom.
- If a student/staff member tests positive, HCA will identify the individual’s close contacts and those determined to be “close contacts” of the person who tested positive will need to stay home for 14 days. Those “close contacts” may return to school after 14 days, or after 10 days (as long as they remain completely asymptomatic, have a negative molecular test no sooner than day 8, and fulfill other requirements (see section on guidance for Close Contacts).
- The student’s parent/caregiver or the staff member should inform the proper school official (Alison Graham ) that the individual has tested positive for COVID-19. The designated COVID-19 school lead (Alison Graham) will notify Pastor Tom, Kris Pollitt, Sue Hayward, and Nikki Cleveland.
- We will determine whether the student or staff member was on the premises during the time frame that started two days prior to symptom onset (or testing positive if not symptomatic) until the time of isolation.
- If so, we will promptly close off areas visited by the COVID-19 positive individual until such areas can be cleaned and disinfected, if they have not been cleaned and disinfected already.
- We will also promptly clean and disinfect the student’s or staff member’s classroom and any other facilities (e.g., extracurricular facilities) visited by the individual, if that has not been done already.
- Any area of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must
be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12
hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.
- ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (student has self-contained classroom throughout the day):
- Inform them there was a positive test (not the specific individual) in the self-contained classroom.
- Explain that since they were/may have been within 6 feet of the person with a positive test, they are considered a “close contact” and therefore should be tested.
- Instruct those designated as close contacts to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Remind parents to stay away from higher-risk individuals (e.g., grandparents and those with underlying medical conditions).
- Remind families and/or staff of the list of COVID-19 symptoms for which to monitor.
- HCA will send a communication to the appropriate individuals that their child has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, without naming the individual student or staff member who tested positive.
- This communication sent to families/staff will:
- MIDDLE SCHOOL (no single self-contained classroom):
- HCA will identify the student’s or staff member’s possible
“close contacts” based on the assigned seating charts. The lookback period will begin two days before symptoms appeared (or two days prior to the date of the positive test if there were no symptoms) and include up until the time the student was isolated. We will consider all students and staff members who were within 6 feet of the individual for 10-15 minutes in class, or at extracurricular activities. Each “close contact” should remain home in self-quarantine for 14 days.
- HCA will then follow the communication and other relevant Elementary School protocols above.
If the school finds out about the original COVID-19 positive test in the
middle of a school day when the rest of the cohort is in class:
- We will make sure these students are wearing masks, including in kindergarten and first grade. Extra masks as may be needed will be provided by the school. We will enforce strict physical distancing, and require students to wash their hands.
- HCA will quickly identify the individuals who may be “close contacts” of the student and notify students and their families.
- Caregivers of students in the class or other close contacts may pick students up prior to the end of the day if they so choose, by calling the school Office and arranging dismissal. Students, as well as staff, should wash their hands upon arriving at home and change their clothes as a precaution.
- Close contacts should not come back to school for 14 days and are asked to communicate their test results to the school.
Protocol If Close Contact of Student or Staff Tests Positive for COVID-19
Current Massachusetts DPH guidance is that all close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should remain quarantined at home for:
- at least 14 days from the last exposure; or
- at least 10 days, provided ALL the following are satisfied:
- You have not had, and do not have, any symptoms;
- You are tested on day 8 of your quarantine period or later using a molecular diagnostic test (polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) to detect the presence of the virus;
- You receive a negative test result, and;
- You monitor yourself for symptoms for the full 14 days. If you develop symptoms you should contact your health care provider and be re-tested.
- If a close contact tests positive as well, please follow all protocols for “If a student/staff tests positive for COVID-19”.
Protocol for if a Student Is Symptomatic at Home
Families should monitor students at home each morning for the most common symptoms of COVID-19 (see list above).
- IF NO SYMPTOMS: Send your student to school.
- IF ANY SYMPTOM: Do not send your student to school.
- A symptomatic individual may return to school 10 days from the start of symptoms as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever (without medicine) for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school.
- A symptomatic individual may return to school after a negative COVID test, have improvement of symptoms, and have been without a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- If a provider makes an alternate diagnosis for COVID-19-like symptoms the individual may return to school based on the written recommendations of an alternate diagnosis (ie influenza, strep, etc).
Protocol For Students/Staff Who Travel Out of State
Starting August 1, all visitors and Massachusetts residents returning home from other states (with the exception of Massachusett residents returning from a low-risk state), including students returning to campuses for the fall semester, must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts, or they are included in one of the other, limited exemptions.
Isolation, Contact Tracing, and Communication Plan
It is important to note that testing, combined with contact tracing and isolation, helps control the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. All test results, both positive and negative, are reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). When a person has a positive COVID- 19 test, it is the local board of health or the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative that will reach out to provide support so that these individuals can remain safely in medical isolation. They will also ask for help to identify close contacts. These organizations will then reach out to the individual’s close contacts to provide important information that is aimed to stop the spread of the virus, including how to safely isolate/quarantine. While these organizations will provide support, to further assist with contact tracing the student/family and staff are asked to reach out to their personal contacts and notify Holden Christian Academy directly, so that we can assist the DPH with contact tracing.
If an HCA student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, all possible close contacts (ie, all those who had opportunity to be within 6’ for 10-15 mins) will be notified of the exposure by Parent Alert phone call and email, and may not to return to school for 14 days. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, then self-isolation is for a minimum of 10 days and until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms as noted.
In cases where the student may have been in close contact with others
outside their daytime cohort (for example, siblings, after school kids, etc), those close contacts will also remain home for 14 days.
Protocol for the Presence of Multiple Cases in the School
- If there is more than one confirmed COVID-19 case (students or staff) in the school at one time, or if there is a series of single cases in a short time span, school leaders will work with the local board of health to determine if it is likely that there is transmission happening in school.
- For each individual case, FOLLOW STEPS UNDER: “Protocol: Student or staff tests positive for COVID-19.” Note that when there is one isolated case, the student’s close contacts will need to stay home and be tested, not everyone at HCA.
- When there is suspected in-school transmission beyond one cohort or a small number of cohorts, HCA leaders will consult with the local board of health as to proposed next steps. These steps could include, for example, making a decision to a) close part of the school or the entire school for a short time (e.g. 1-3 days) for an extensive cleaning or other facility mitigation, or b) close the school partially or fully for the longer duration of a 14-day quarantine period.
- Before a final decision is made on a school closure, the Principal or School Committee Chair will consult with DESE for further guidance.
- If the decision is made for HCA to close for some number of days, the school will send clear information and instructions to families and staff:
- Informing them that it is possible COVID-19 is being transmitted in the school
- Noting that there may be more potential cases that are not yet symptomatic
- Recommending students quarantine and not have contact with others
- Reminding families of the importance of not having contact with higher-risk individuals (e.g., grandparents)
- Reminding families of the list of COVID-19 symptoms for which to monitor
- Ensuring that remote learning is immediately provided to all students
Protocol for Reopening After Closure Due to COVID-19
- Before bringing students back to school:
- Check inventory levels of needed supplies (e.g., disposable masks, soap, hand sanitizer, cleaning products); re-order replacement inventory
- Consider a school-wide refresher training on the importance of correct hygiene procedures (masks, physical distance, handwashing)
- Reiterate the critical nature of masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene when students return to school.