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BPS Health and Safety Bulletin #8

BPS Health and Safety Bulletin #8

Belmont Public Schools
April 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Your elementary nurses released a video to prepare for a safer return to in-person learning

In case you missed it……. Link to video:  https://youtu.be/d6zGBoE9x94

AT HOME, prior to sending your child to school, please review the Daily Symptom Checker before allowing your student to board the bus or attend school: THIS WILL BE EXPECTED TO BE DONE EVERY MORNING

Please refer to  Daily Symptom Checker Link for more details

  • Our collective health relies, in part, on individual attention and responsibility. Note that some symptoms of COVID-19 mimic symptoms of many other illnesses. Please do not assume it is another condition. When in doubt, stay home. 

  • All staff and students will be required to review the symptom checker before leaving the house every morning. If you answer “Yes” to any question, please do not send your student to school. 

Please keep your child home if any of the symptoms listed below are present.

1. Today or in the past 24 hours, has your child had any of the following symptoms?

  • Fever (temperature of 100.0 deg F or above), felt feverish or had chills 
  • Cough – (not due to other known cause, such as a chronic cough)
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • 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 causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

2. In the past 14 days, has your child had close contact with a person known to be infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? 

NEW: If symptom-free AND fully vaccinated against Covid-19 students are not required to quarantine. 

*Important: fully vaccinated is defined as a student, 16 years of age or older, has received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or one dose of the Janssen -Johnson & Johnson- COVID-19 vaccine more than 14 days ago.

In addition, parents/guardians will be expected to provide proof of vaccination to the school nurse.

3. Has your child taken any medications that contain Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen) within the last 4 to 8 hours for fever, sore throat, or muscle/body aches due to illness?

 4. In the past 10 days has your child traveled outside of Massachusetts for more than 24 hours, as per COVID-19 BPS Travel Guidelines?

NEW: Fully Covid-19 Vaccinated students (*as defined above) are not required to quarantine or submit a PCR test if symptom-free. However, you will be expected to provide proof of your students’ COVID-19 vaccination to the school nurse.

If ALL of the above statements are NO, then your child can attend school. No further action is required.

If you answer YES to any of the symptoms or questions on the daily symptom checker, please do not send your child to school. Please fill out the appropriate School absence Follow up Form for your child’s school, which will automatically submit your results to your school nurse. 

BURBANK absence follow up form 

BUTLER absence follow up form 

WELLINGTON absence follow up form 

WINN BROOK absence follow up form 

CHENERY absence follow up form

BELMONT HIGH SCHOOL absence follow up form

A nurse will follow up with you to assist in your plan of care. This form does not replace the need to notify the school of your child’s absence. You must call in and report your child’s absence per the normal protocol. Please consult with your primary care provider for medical advice.

If a child becomes ill with potential COVID-19 symptoms at school parents/guardians will be notified immediately. For everyone’s safety, the student will be required to be picked up within 30 minutes. 

  • If a child has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have a negative PCR test for COVID-19, have an improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications. 

  • If your child’s healthcare provider determines a COVID-19 test is not indicated due to an alternative diagnosis:

    • Your child may return to school after being symptom-free for 24 hours AND

    • You provide the school nurse with a note from their healthcare provider with an alternative diagnosis (excluding a diagnosis of viral syndrome) in order to return to school. The healthcare provider will need to state on the note that the child’s illness/symptoms are NOT COVID related. This note will need to be submitted to the school nurse before the child’s return to school. 

  • If a child presents with COVID-19-like symptoms and chooses not to be tested, they may return to school 10 days from the onset 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.  

  • If your child has a chronic condition that mimics an illness, please have your child's healthcare provider indicate this in writing including presenting symptoms and the plan of care.

BPS Alert! SEASONAL ALLERGIES OR COVID-19?

Prevention is key for being sent home for questionable COVID versus Allergy symptoms. 

Those with asthma and seasonal allergies may experience an increase in symptoms as the pollen levels rise. Some of these symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, cough, and even allergic asthma symptoms of wheezing and shortness of breath mimic those of COVID-19.

 Venn diagram of the overlap of COVID-19 symptoms with seasonal allergy symptoms

 

The CDC mask recommendation can slow the spread of COVID-19, and may offer limited protection against seasonal allergies. It’s important that individuals with allergies wash their masks after each use because the outside covering may carry allergy particles. Many outdoor activities such as playing sports or mowing lawns can stir up pollen. When you return indoors, wash your face, take a shower and change your clothes.

Please consult with your or student’s pediatrician or allergist about what might be best for your child if they typically suffer from allergies.  Individuals who are experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms should begin taking their recommended allergy medication(s) daily at home to ensure that their allergies are under the best possible control and minimize symptoms that mimic those of COVID-19. 

A reminder that students must STAY HOME if experiencing any of these symptoms:

❏ Fever (temperature of 100.0° F or above), felt feverish, or had chills 

❏ Cough – (not due to other known cause, such as a chronic cough) 

❏ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 

❏ New loss of taste or smell 

❏ Sore throat 

❏ 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 causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms 

If an individual has any of these symptoms, they must get a PCR COVID-19 test prior to returning to school. Students or staff without a medical note documenting an alternative diagnosis (e.g. asthma, seasonal allergies) presenting with these symptoms will be sent home.  Documentation can be sent directly to your school nurse.

CDC: COVID 19 and People with Seasonal Allergies

CDC How to Store and Wash Masks

Thank you for doing your part to keep everyone safe at school. As always, if you have any questions, please contact your school nurse.

Be Well!

-The Belmont Public Schools Nurses

Visit our COVID site often

BPS Nursing Health and Safety

Holiday Celebrations and Gatherings

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