A general overview of our COVID policies and mitigation strategies
In the ever shifting landscape of the COVID pandemic, our school's Board of Directors and policy sub-committee rely on the guidance of the Department of Early Education & Care (EEC), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the CDC when formulating best practices for COVID mitigation and response. The Sharon Board of Health also provides consultation when circumstances require a more individualized approach.
One of our best tools for COVID mitigation is ongoing communication between the school and our families. Just as we strive to be honest and forthcoming about the presence of COVID at school (while always maintaining confidentiality) we rely on parents to provide us with clear, open and honest communication about their child's health status and any events in their household that could have an impact on the health and well being of the school community.
Our policies aim to balance the need for a safe, healthy environment for students, staff and families with the developmental needs of the children. Because pandemic conditions are fluid, the school's policy committee meets regularly to review and revise policies as needed with input from staff, families and the aforementioned health agencies.
The following information, and the chart linked at the bottom of this page, is intended as a general overview and may be modified as circumstances warrant. If you would like further information, please contact us. These policies go into effect on July 5, 2022 and will be revisited before the beginning of our school year in September.
We are currently a mask optional/mask friendly/mask flexible program and encourage families to make the choice for themselves and their children based on their individual risk factors.
Staff are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID 19 and show proof of vaccinations, with limited exemptions allowed. At this time children over 5 are not required to be vaccinated as a condition for attending school.
Confirmed COVID positive student
If a child tests positive for COVID, the isolation period is 5 days (Day 1 begins the day after the positive test result). The child can return to school on day 6 if they are asymptomatic and test negative using a rapid test that morning before returning to school. Just as we currently do with class-wide testing, the parent would be required to fill out an attestation with test results. The child will be required to wear a mask at school through day 10, with the usual exceptions for eating and napping.
Exposure in School: Rapid Cohort Testing
If a student or staff tests positive for COVID, we implement rapid cohort testing (sometimes referred to as "test & stay") which allows the other students and staff to continue attending school. Mask use is temporarily reinstated for classes undergoing rapid cohort testing.
Exposure Outside of School
Children who are exposed to COVID outside of school and remain asymptomatic can return to school. They will have to test on Days 1-- 5 each morning before entering the school. Just as we currently do with class-wide testing, the parent will be required to fill out an attestation form with the test results. The child would also be required to wear at mask at school through day 10, with the usual exceptions for eating and napping. Parents should alert their school site coordinator as soon as they become aware of an exposure.
Symptoms of Illness
A child who develops signs of any illness, including COVID, while at school will need to be picked up from school. Re-entry to school will depend on a number of factors and may require a doctor's note. Our complete child illness policy is in our school handbook which is provided to families upon enrollment.
Children can return to school without the need to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated children would have to test on days 1 - 5. Just as we currently do with class-wide testing, the parent would be required to fill out an attestation to report the test results.
EEC programs are now authorized to provide families with tests for exposures that occur outside of school. We have a limited number of tests that can be provided upon request if a family is having difficulty locating a test. We would, however, encourage families to obtain free tests through their insurance/prescription provider and/or through the government whenever possible.
School events are held outdoors or virtually. Certain family events, such as visiting days, are scheduled in such a way as to rotate parents through the school in small groups. For other events, parents are offered a choice of virtual or in-person appointments (such as parent-teacher conferences).
Currently only parents and essential service providers are allowed in the building. Parent visits during school hours - such as being a Mystery Reader- can be arranged with the Site Coordinator and will be held outdoors.
COVID Policies Summer 2022