The latest guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) provides a clear set of health and safety requirements for in-person learning in Fall 2020. The Department’s guidance is grounded in the most up-to-date scientific literature and discussions with expert medical advisors, including infectious disease physicians, pediatricians, and public health experts from Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.
This guidance informed the School on the adjustments that would be needed in the use and configuration of campus spaces to support the safe reopening of school. With the increased availability of reliable testing procedures and a growing pool of information about the symptoms of COVID-19 and how infections are transmitted by both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, we worked with the School’s consulting doctor and school nurses to develop the protocols that are needed to allow students, faculty, and staff back on campus in the fall.
Families must consult the Massachusetts Travel Order as they make any travel plans. Families who plan to travel to areas that require self-quarantine upon their return home should complete their travel so that any required self-quarantine is complete in time for the first day of classes.
For the fall, all ELC faculty and children are required to be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks. For now, Fay is able to provide on-campus testing at no cost to families. Parents are required to accompany their children for all on-campus testing. All results are posted to Fay's COVID-19 Testing Dashboard.
Parents who are unable to schedule a testing time on campus may schedule a test with their family physician or at one of our testing provider’s alternate facilities in Natick and Marlborough. Students who are not participating in Fay’s on-campus testing should consult with their physician in advance to confirm that they will be able to receive their test results in a timely manner.
Any employee or student who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus will be required to follow state-mandated isolation and return-to-school protocols.
If a student or employee tests or is presumed positive for COVID-19 at any time, the School, in coordination with the Southborough Department of Health, will conduct contact tracing.
Required Daily Screening
Parents of students are required to screen their children each morning before school with a symptom and wellness check, and before school begins in August, parents will be supplied with an online tool to attest that they have completed the daily screening. The screening includes the following symptoms:
Temperature higher than 100.°F
Loss of taste or smell
Cough not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Nausea or vomiting
Fatigue when in combination with other symptoms
Congestion or runny nose not due to other known causes, such as allergies when in combination with other symptoms
Headache when in combination with other symptoms
Physical distancing will be taught so children learn to maintain a distance of at least three to six feet when possible. When masks are not worn while eating or resting, the children will be spread out around the room.
Face masks must be worn by all adults while on campus. Children in the ELC will be strongly encouraged to wear them, and masks will be required for some activities. During the school day, outdoor mask-free periods will be scheduled. Faculty will teach the children the importance of wearing a mask and will help them with the masks when necessary. If parents have concerns about their child wearing a mask, please contact Katie Knuppel or Lauren Cilley. Please note that neck gaiters will not be allowed.
Preventive hygiene practices will be taught and modeled by the teachers. These include frequent hand washing, regular use of hand sanitizer, and safely removing and replacing face masks.
Cleaning and sanitizing routines will be expanded to add daily disinfection and sanitizing procedures, including wiping down commonly touched surfaces, door handles, and light switches. The frequency of bathroom cleaning will be increased.
Ventilation systems will be upgraded with MERV-13 filters to reduce transmission of airborne particles. HEPA filters will also be installed in all dormitories and many offices.
The School has designated specific spaces on campus where students can be isolated from peers if they exhibit symptoms that cause concern. Children in the ELC will be brought to a conference room in the Goodnow building. Parents will be asked to pick up their child from school as soon as possible within the hour. Emergency contacts may be called when parents cannot be reached immediately. Children who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate at home until they have been cleared by a physician or can produce a negative COVID-19 test.
Positive cases must isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the date of onset of symptoms or positive test date (both of which are considered Day 0). They may return after a minimum of 10 days and when they are symptom and fever free for at least 24 hours. Current guidelines do not require these students to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test before returning to school, but they must meet with and be cleared by the school nurse on the morning of their first day back to school. If the nurse does not clear the student, they will be sent home.
Any student required to quarantine must remain out of school for 14 days from the date of the last known contact (which is considered Day 0). In order to return to school, the student must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test no earlier than Day 13. The negative results must include the test date and be uploaded to Magnus for review by the school nurse, who will clear the student to return as soon as test results are approved. Onsite testing is not permitted in the case of quarantine.
Close contact policy
Any student considered a close contact to a positive case, inside or outside of school, must quarantine for 14 days after the last known contact. If the student has Fay siblings, those siblings must also quarantine for those same 14 days. For close contacts, the last day of potential exposure is considered Day 0 and quarantine is 14 full days from that date. These students and siblings must follow the quarantine policy.
If an ELC student who tests positive has a sibling at Fay, that sibling is considered a close contact and must remain at home until the positive student is cleared to return to school.
o If the positive child has remained completely isolated in the home, the sibling may return after quarantining for 14 days. The sibling must follow the quarantine policy.
o If the positive child has not been completely isolated at home, the sibling must quarantine for an additional 14 days after the positive child returns to school. In this case, the sibling would need to be out of school for a minimum of 24 days from the positive test date or onset of symptoms.
Student absence of three or more days
Any student who is absent from school due to illness of any kind for three or more days is required to provide the school nurse with a doctor's note in order to return. Upon reviewing the specifics of the absence, the school nurse may also require a negative PCR COVID-19 test.
Student absence of five or more days
Any student who is absent from school due to illness of any kind or for any other reason for five or more days is required to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within three days of returning to school. Negative test results must include the date of the test and be uploaded to Magnus in order for the student to return.
Monitoring and Responding
The School will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation locally, nationally, and globally in order to assess the implication of new restrictions and guidelines on student and employee safety, and our boarding students’ ability to leave and return to campus. Plans will be adjusted if and as needed, and the School will continue to update the parent community with direct communications as well as updates on our Reopening Web Page.