Updated COVID-19 Policy for Students and Staff for Fall, 2022

Post

Julie Marshall

Holliston Public Schools will be following the state's COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Guidance for Children and Staff for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.

You can view this guidance on the state website by clicking the following link: Mass.gov - COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Guidance for Children and Staff in Child Care, K-12, Out-of-School Time (OST) and Recreational Camp/Program Settings

OR you can read the guidance policy below:


Overview

Effective August 15, 2022, children and staff in child care, K-12, out-of-school time (OST) and recreational camp settings should follow the below guidance.

  • rapid antigen test, such as a self-test, is preferred to a PCR test in most situations.
  • To count days for isolation, Day 0 is the first day of symptoms OR the day the day positive test was taken, whichever is earlier.  
  • Contact tracing is no longer recommended or required in these settings, but schools or programs must continue to work with their Local Board of Health in the case of outbreaks.
  • The Commonwealth is not recommending universal mask requirements, surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing, or test-to-stay testing in schools. While masks are not required or recommended in these settings except for in school health offices, any individual who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, should be supported in that choice.  For those who need or choose to mask, masking is never required in these settings while the individual is eating, drinking, sleeping or outside.
  • All individuals are encouraged to stay up-to-date with vaccination as vaccines remain the best way to help protect yourself and others.

Isolation and exposure guidance and protocols

Guidance for Children and Staff in Child Care, K-12, OST, and Recreational Camp Settings:

  • Quarantine is no longer required nor recommended for children or staff in these settings, regardless of vaccination status or where the exposure occurred. All exposed individuals may continue to attend programming as long as they remain asymptomatic. Those who can mask should do so until Day 10, and it is recommended that they test on Day 6 of exposure. If symptoms develop, follow the guidance for symptomatic individuals, below.
  • 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:
    • If the individual is able to mask, they must do so through Day 10.
      • If the child has a negative test on Day 5 or later, they do not need to mask.
      • If the individual is unable to mask, they may return to programming with a negative test on Day 5 or later.
  • 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.  

Note: At this time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved or authorized any at-home rapid antigen test for use in children under 2 years of age. However, at-home rapid antigen tests may be used off-label in children under 2 years of age for purposes of post-exposure, isolation, and symptomatic testing. It is recommended that parents or guardians deciding to test children under 2 years of age administer the at-home rapid antigen test themselves.

COVID-19 symptoms

COVID-19 Symptoms for Child Care, K-12, OST, and Recreational Camps
  • 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