The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Reopening Plan - Health & Safety Protocols

VII. Health and Safety Protocols

Informed Preparation

The latest guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 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 the Massachusetts General Brigham Health System 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.

The development of detailed health and safety plans has also highlighted additional staffing needs, including the availability of on-call adults to chaperone and supervise boarding students who may be placed in temporary isolation or quarantine on campus.

Travel Guidelines

Parents of all students must understand and comply with the travel restrictions and quarantine requirements mandated by the state of Massachusetts. These requirements may change at any time, and we will update our Reopening Web Page if and as needed. When making travel plans to campus, parents should consult the Massachusetts Travel Order and ensure that their travel plans are flexible should there be changes in the guidelines.

Parents of day students 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.

Required Testing

During the fall term, all students, faculty, and staff must be tested every two weeks for COVID-19. For now, Fay is able to provide COVID-19 testing on campus at no cost to families. Results are posted on our COVID-19 Testing Dashboard.

Students who are not able to be tested on campus may get tested 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 day student who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus will be required to follow state-mandated isolation and return-to-school protocols. Any boarding student who tests positive will be isolated on campus until they can be picked up by their Local Emergency Contact.

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. This may result in a boarding student being tested, temporarily quarantined on campus, and/or required to leave campus with the Local Emergency Contact.

Required Daily Screening

Beginning in the fall of 2020, parents of day students will be required to complete a daily COVID-19 screening assessment of their children each morning before school. Please note that students will not be allowed in the building if the daily screening is not complete, and this rule will be strictly enforced.
 
We will be using the Magnus Mobile app provided by Magnus Health, which will allow parents to complete the screening attestation from a smartphone in just a few clicks. This screening process will help us to create the safest possible environment for students, faculty, and staff by avoiding screenings at the school entry points, where person-to-person transmissions could take place. Magnus Mobile is a web-based app that will provide continuous access to the child’s health record as well as the ability to make updates to the health history as needed.
 
Click here for an instruction sheet that explains how to access and set up the app on a smartphone. On September 9, parents should begin completing the Magnus Health COVID-19 Daily Screening for their children by tapping the button on the Magnus Mobile app titled “COVID-19.”
 
All Fay parents must submit the screening each morning no later than 7:15 am. All ELC parents must submit the screening 30 minutes before arriving to campus. Please reserve one to two minutes per child to complete this process each morning.
 
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
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • 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
 
For any technical issues with the mobile app such as login problems, or problems completing the screening please contact customer support at Magnus Health SMR by phone at 877.461.6831 or by email at service@magnushealthportal.com.


Face Masks

All students in Kindergarten through grade nine are required to wear a face mask. Each student should bring two masks to school each day - one to wear, and one replacement. Students in grades 5-9 should bring two additional masks for use during sports. The School will have disposable masks on hand should additional masks be required. Early Learning Center children are not required to wear a face mask, but are strongly encouraged to do so.

Face masks may be of any color; plain or patterned. Images, pictures, or symbols must be appropriate. Face masks with words are not permitted. 

Given guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the recent research (Duke University Mask Study) indicating that not all masks work effectively depending on material and layers, we ask that parents observe the following additional guidelines:
  • Masks with valves and vents are not permitted.
  • Neck gaiters, bandanas, and single-layer masks are not allowed.
According to the Duke study, the five most effective types of masks are listed below.
  1. Fitted N95 (no exhalation valve) Should be reserved for health-care workers and emergency response personnel.
  2. 3-layer surgical mask 
  3. Cotton-polypropylene-cotton mask 
  4. 2-layer polypropylene mask 
  5. 2-layer cotton, pleated style mask

Daily Routines

  • Physical distancing will be enforced so students and faculty can maintain a distance of six feet. The School will organize students into grade-level cohorts, create smaller class sizes, reconfigure classrooms, and assign seating while complying with fire code and building safety guidelines. Other spaces within the school (e.g., dining hall, library, theater) will be repurposed to increase the amount of available space to accommodate six feet of physical distancing. These adjustments will minimize the number of different interactions among students and adults during the school day and lower the density of students in classroom spaces.

  • Preventive hygiene practices will be explained and reinforced by faculty. 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. Plexi-glass screens have been installed in dorm bathrooms.

  • Ventilation systems will be upgraded with MERV-13 filters to reduce transmission of airborne particles. HEPA filters will also be installed in all dormitories, many offices, and some classrooms.

  • Visitors to campus will be restricted, at least initially. Pickup routines will be modified, and we will move our public admission events online to reduce the number of visitors on campus.

Student Illness

The School has designated specific spaces on campus where students can be isolated from peers if they exhibit symptoms that cause concern. Parents of day students will be asked to pick up their child from school. Local Emergency Contacts may be required to pick up boarding students from campus depending on the results of a health assessment by school nurses and/or the School’s consulting doctor. Parents of boarding students will be notified immediately of any health concerns regarding their child.

Day students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate at home. Boarding students who test positive will be required to leave campus and isolate with their Local Emergency Contact until they have been cleared by a physician and meet the criteria above. 

Isolation policy

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 boarding student with a positive result will be required to leave campus with their parent or Local Emergency Contact within 24 hours of the notification.
 
Quarantine policy

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 a Fay 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. 
 
Identifying close contacts

Individuals who are close contacts vary by division, due to the nature of our classroom configurations and schedules. The definitions are as follows:

Primary and Lower School:
If a positive case of COVID-19 is identified in Primary or Lower School, all students in the individual’s classroom will be considered close contacts; the classroom teacher may or may not be a close contact depending on whether the teacher was able to maintain appropriate physical distance during the 24 hours prior to the positive test. All students in the classroom of the positive individual will be required to quarantine for 14 days from “Day 0” (the date of the positive test), and the group will transition to a remote, synchronous school day. Students will be allowed to return to campus after the 14-day quarantine period is over AND they have presented a negative COVID-19 test that was completed no earlier than Day 13 of the quarantine.
 
Upper School:
If a positive case of COVID-19 is identified in Upper School, all students in the individual’s grade will be considered close contacts. The classroom teachers may or may not be close contacts depending on whether the teachers were able to maintain appropriate physical distance during the 24 hours prior to the positive test. All students in that grade will be required to quarantine for 14 days from “Day 0” (the date of the positive test), and the group will transition to a remote, synchronous school day. Students will be allowed to return to campus after the 14-day quarantine period is over AND they have presented a negative COVID-19 test that was completed no earlier than Day 13 of the quarantine.
 
Boarding students:
If a positive case of COVID-19 is identified among boarding students, all the students in the individual’s grade will be considered close contacts as well as all students in the individual’s dormitory. The dorm parents may or may not be close contacts depending on whether they were able to maintain appropriate physical distance during the 24 hours prior to the positive test. All students in that dorm will be required to quarantine for 14 days; they will be allowed to quarantine in the dorm and will not be required to leave campus as long as they remain in good health. Students may also opt to leave campus and stay with their Local Emergency Contact for the duration of their quarantine. Students in the same grade as the infected individual will transition to a remote, synchronous school day, and students from that dorm in a different grade will transition to live streaming.

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.