The expectation is that children participating in in-person education at HAA are expected to arrive at school well. This means that if your child is not feeling well when they wake up, they should stay home and access online learning for that day.
Below is a full list of symptoms for which parents/guardians should monitor their children for:
- Fever of 100F or higher
- Chills; shaking chills
- Cough – not due to other known causes such as allergies or chronic cough
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Nausea/Vomiting or diarrhea
- Fatigue when in combination with other symptoms
- Nasal congestion or runny nose – not due to other known physician documented causes such as allergies; or when in combination with other symptoms.
Note that some symptoms of COVID-19 are the same as the flu or a bad cold: please do not assume it is another condition. When in doubt stay home call your physician and get tested.
These are unprecedented times and therefore if your student has any of the above signs and symptoms due to a chronic condition i.e. seasonal allergies, migraines, chronic cough or gastrointestinal issues, a signed physician’s documentation must be on file with the nurse’s office this school year.
Understand that if your student presents to the nurse’s office with any of the above symptoms and does not have physician documentation of a known condition on file, they will be sent home with instructions to call the doctor and be tested for COVID-19 per MA Department of Public Health guidelines.
*HAA will require a note from your physician before your student is allowed to return to school.
COVID Testing Policy
If a student is being tested for COVID they must stay home and quarantine until they receive a negative test result. A copy of the result must be submitted to the school nurse prior to returning to in-person learning.
If someone in your household is being tested for COVID, your student(s) is allowed to attend school. The person waiting for the test result is under quarantine while awaiting results. If a household member tests positive for COVID, your student(s) is then considered a primary contact and must self quarantine, consistent with the guidance outlined below.
Policy of when a close contact may return to school: All close contacts should be tested but must self-quarantine, consistent with the guidance outlined below. The local board of health, in consultation with the school’s COVID-19 response person, are best suited to advise on which quarantine option applies to a specific case. In accordance with the federal Center for Disease Control, close contacts must quarantine for the time period listed below:
At least 7 days, provided that all of the following are satisfied:
- They are tested (either polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen test) on day 5 or later from their last exposure to the positive individual and receive a negative test result
- They have not experienced any symptoms up to this point
- They conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 14, and self-isolate if new symptoms develop
At least 10 days, provided that all of the following are satisfied:
- They have not experienced any symptoms up to this point
- They conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and self-isolate if new symptoms develop
- No test is necessary under this option for the purposes of exiting quarantine
At least 14 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive, if:
- They have experienced any symptoms during the quarantine period, even if they have a negative COVID-19 test; or
- They are unable to conduct active monitoring of symptoms
- This option provides the maximal risk reduction.
When individuals exit quarantine, masking and other safety measures remain critical. It may be best for individuals who are not be able to adhere to masking and distancing to exit quarantine after 10 or 14 days. Active monitoring requires individuals to actively monitor their symptoms and take temperature once daily. If even mild symptoms develop or the individual has a temperature of 100.0 F, they must immediately self-isolate, and contact the public health authority overseeing their quarantine, and be tested.
Self-isolation for COVID-19 positive cases is a minimum of 10 days:
Most people who test positive and have a relatively mild illness will need to stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days. People who test positive can resume public activities after 10 days and once they have:
- Gone for 24 hours without a fever (and without taking fever-reducing medications like Tylenol)
- Experienced improvement in other symptoms (for example, their cough has gotten much better)
- Received clearance from public health authority contact tracers (the local board of health or Community Tracing Collaborative).
Repeat testing prior to return is not recommended. Return to school should be based on time and symptom resolution.
If a student or household member is a confirmed positive COVID case or if a student is a Confirmed Close Contact of a Positive COVID case, then HAA will need a Release from Quarantine from your local Board of Health submitted to the nurse prior to your student to returning to in-person learning.
This can be faxed or emailed to: Nurse Amanda Lind at firstname.lastname@example.org / fax# 978-970-3554
Close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case should be tested: For general guidance, DPH defines close contact as:
Being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case (someone who has tested positive) for a total of 15 minutes during a day. Multiple brief or transitory interactions (less than a minute) throughout the day are unlikely to result in 15 minutes of cumulative contact and do not meet the definition of close contact. Being in the same room as an individual if you are consistently separated by 6 feet of distance does not meet the definition of a close contact.
Close contact can occur while being with, caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case while the case was symptomatic or within 2 days before symptom onset, OR Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
If someone tests positive:
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, their close contacts will be defined as only those who have been within 6 feet of distance of the individual for at least fifteen minutes during a day while the person was infectious. The infectious period begins 2 days prior to symptom onset. If someone is asymptomatic, the infectious period is considered to begin 2 days prior to the collection of their positive test. While previous guidance stated that all students in an elementary classroom would be defined as close contacts, this new guidance provides a more specific definition of a close contact which mirrors DPH guidance.
Policy of when a student/staff person may return to school after COVID-19 symptoms:
If a student or staff member has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
If a student or staff member presents COVID-19-like symptoms and chooses not to be tested, they may return to school 10 days from start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.
Travel Policy: We follow the Massachusetts Travel Order as followed below:
We strongly encourage 10 day quarantine or testing to be done prior to in person learning.
As of Monday, March 22, all visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival. Travelers in the following categories are exempt from this quarantine advisory:
- Travelers who have received a negative COVID-19 result on a test administered not more than 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. Travelers may also test out of the quarantine advisory after arrival in Massachusetts, as long as they quarantine until receiving a negative test result.
- Anyone who is entering Massachusetts for fewer than 24 hours
- Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after being out of the State for fewer than 24 hours
- Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) during required commuting to or from work and while at work.
- Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more ago) and who do not have symptoms.
All travelers are encouraged to consult and follow the CDC’s guidelines and requirements for travel.
*** In all COVID-Related scenarios parent or guardian can inform the office, and will be set up for remote learning ***
School nurse works closely with the Lowell Department of Health and DESE to ensure guidelines and protocols.
Classroom closure or school closure is determined by school officials with the guidance of Lowell Department of Health and DESE.
HAA reserves the right to adjust and add to this plan as further developments and planning takes place and as guidance is received from the CDC and local health departments.