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Traducción al español de la actualización de COVID-19
As we head into the fall and winter months, we wanted to send out an update regarding Alma’s approach to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our school community. We know that the last few years have been very disruptive to our scholars’ education, particularly during winter surges. We sincerely hope there will be far fewer disruptions to learning due to illness this year. Please see below for a few updates on Alma’s preparation to minimize COVID in our community.
Alma follows all guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) regarding our approach to COVID in a school setting. If you wish to review any of this guidance yourself, you may do so here.
General Mitigation Strategies:
- Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations are encouraged but not required. Local clinics may be found at https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/
- COVID vaccination is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older
- Bivalent COVID booster shots are recommended for those over 5 years old
- Some pharmacies offer both the flu shot and COVID vaccine in one appointment
- Mask wearing is optional in our schools, but will be required in our health offices, per DESE policy.
- Staff and scholars are expected to stay home when they have symptoms of COVID-19, and to report positive cases to their campus medical assistant
- Scholars and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will follow quarantine guidelines from DESE/DPH
- These guidelines state that if an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to quarantine at home for five days. Upon their return to school, they will be required to wear a face mask for an additional five days. These requirements are regardless of vaccination status.
- Both Alma campuses are equipped with high quality ventilation systems that pull in 100% outside air and do not recycle internal air. Routine maintenance was conducted on these systems over the summer.
- In alignment with DESE and DPH recommendations, Alma will not conduct surveillance/testing, contact tracing, or test to-stay testing in our schools.
Please monitor your scholar for the following 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, 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
Frequently Asked Questions:
What should I do if my scholar tests positive for COVID-19?
- Contact your campus medical assistant to report that your scholar has tested positive for COVID-19
- Ottiwell: Keila Pires (508) 296-0174
- Douglass: Amie Martinez (508) 216-0271; Ita Lopez (508) 205-9753
- Per DESE guidance: Children and staff who test positive must isolate for at least 5 days. If they are asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving and they have been fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours, they may return to programming after Day 5 and should wear a high-quality mask through Day 10.
- Your scholar can return to school on day 6 and should wear a mask if they are able to do so. Your campus medical assistant can help you determine the dates based on your child’s symptoms and date of positive test.
What should I do if someone in my household other than my scholar tests positive for COVID-19?
- Your scholar can continue to attend school. However, please monitor them for symptoms of COVID-19 and keep them home and test them if they develop symptoms.
- This policy is the same regardless of vaccination status.
What will happen if my scholar becomes symptomatic for COVID-19 while at school?
- Per DESE guidance: Symptomatic individuals can remain in their school or program if they have mild symptoms, are tested immediately onsite, and that test is negative. Best practice would also include wearing a mask, if possible, until symptoms are fully resolved. For symptomatic individuals, DPH recommends a second test within 48 hours if the initial test is negative.
- If the symptomatic individual cannot be tested immediately, they should be sent home and allowed to return to their program or school if symptoms remain mild and they test negative, or they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their symptoms are resolving, or if a medical professional makes an alternative diagnosis. A negative test is strongly recommended for return.
Does Alma conduct any COVID-19 testing at school?
- Alma has a limited supply of COVID-19 tests that our nurses and medical assistants may be able to use on symptomatic scholars while at school. COVID-19 tests will only be administered to symptomatic scholars with parent permission, and while supplies last.
- DESE/DPH are no longer providing COVID-19 tests for public schools during the 2022-2023 school year. Therefore, Alma’s supply of COVID-19 tests is limited.
Will families be informed if their scholar has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
- Per DESE guidance, schools are not conducting contact tracing. Therefore you will not be contacted to inform you that your child has been exposed to COVID-19.
- Per DPH recommendation, families will be notified if there are 4 or more positive cases in a standard size classroom within 10 days. This letter will not require any action of families, but will simply be to inform them to monitor their scholar for symptoms.