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BPS Health and Safety 21-22 COVID Overview

BPS Health and Safety 21-22 COVID Overview

Dear Belmont Public School Families and Staff,

We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students. 

We will continue our collaboration with our school community and local health officials throughout the year as the guidance changes to ensure that we implement mitigation strategies to promote a safer learning environment.

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide an overview of the mitigation strategies BPS will implement as we prepare for the 2021-22 school year. 

More detailed information will be communicated on these specific topics. 


A well-fitting face mask is one of the most important mitigation tools to prevent transmission of the virus. Masks covering the nose and mouth are required to be worn by ALL students, staff, visitors, and vendors when indoors. Exceptions for meals, mask breaks, and medical exemptions (developmental, respiratory, tactile aversions) are permitted.

Wearing masks consistently and properly is imperative to decrease the spread of the virus from person to person. 

Minimal requirements for masks:

  • Masks should be made of tightly-woven material such as cotton, but must, at a minimum, be made with 2 layers of material.
  • Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit well.
  • Gaiters and bandanas will not be permitted
  • Masks with one-way exhalation valves or vents will not be permitted. These masks make it easier to breathe, but also allows air to escape unfiltered, which could increase the risk of the spread of the virus.
  • Face Shields are not a replacement for masks
  • Schools will support adherence to masking, including putting up signs with reminders to wear masks and how to remove them safely, having a supply of masks for staff and students who may need them, identifying spaces that are appropriate for mask breaks, and making available more trash cans to throw away used masks.
  • Families are to provide their child with a mask to wear and one or two for a backup

Mask Medical Exemptions

  • If a student/staff cannot wear a face mask due to a medical condition, disability impact, or other health and safety factors, please contact your school nurse. BPS requires a note with the medical condition exempting the individual from wearing a mask from a PCP, Neurologist, or Psychologist. 

Belmont face_coverning_order_for_schools

Hand Washing

Hand hygiene is critical. Students and staff will be required to exercise frequent hand hygiene

(hand washing or sanitizing) throughout the school day.


No More Germs - Handwashing for  Children


When Sick, Stay Home

  • Our collective health relies, in part, on individual attention and responsibility. 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, follow up with a primary care provider, and access PCR testing. 

  • All staff and students will be required to review the symptom checker before reporting to school each day. If you answer, “Yes” to any question, please do not send your student to school or report to work. Please call your primary care provider for the next steps.

Symptomatic Testing

It is imperative for individuals who are experiencing symptoms at home, stay home and do not attend school. BPS will follow the protocols put in place last year. Everyone will be required to perform an at-home symptom self-check prior to leaving for school. If sick, stay home, fill out the appropriate absence form, get tested, and make a plan to return with your school nurse. If a student becomes ill at school, your child will be isolated and expected to be picked up as soon as possible for testing outside of school or further evaluation from your primary health care provider. 

List of mass.gov testing sites

An Updated symptom checker for 2021-22 will be available and shared with families next week.


Early identification of COVID-19 infection through testing has proven to be effective at controlling the spread of COVID-19. BPS is partnering with CIC to implement testing mitigations. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Public Health continues to recommend testing.

Pool Testing- Now referred to as Routine Covid Safety Checks

Pool testing is a mitigation strategy that involves combining several individual test samples together into one “pool” and then testing the pooled sample for COVID-19. This approach increases the number of individuals that can be tested at one time and allows for regular testing in the school community for COVID-19.

  • Routine COVID Pooled Testing and Lab-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal or saliva samples are collected either at home or at school (depending on the test program selected) and kept separate before being grouped at the lab. If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing occurs at the lab, without a second sample collection. Individual test results for a positive individual are reported to the school.

Test and Stay

The Test and Stay Program is a testing initiative intended for asymptomatic close contacts (identified from an in-school exposure to a positive COVID-19 individual). This testing program will allow asymptomatic close contacts to remain in school if they receive an individual rapid antigen test (e.g. BinaxNow) each school day and test negative.

The duration of the Test and Stay Program is 7 days from the date of exposure. On the 8th day, a student will exit the Test and Stay program, assuming all tests were negative, and they remain asymptomatic. Daily monitoring of symptoms at home is imperative as part of the BPS close contact protocol. More information is to be provided. 

If identified close contacts do not consent to test in school, or testing is not available, individuals must quarantine out of school per BPS protocols. 

  • "Test and Stay" (close contact testing): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test. Tests are administered daily from the first day of exposure for at least five (5) days.

More information regarding test programs, consents, and protocols will be shared when they become available. 


Vaccination is the primary tool against COVID-19. Individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to develop the illness. Persons 12 years of age or older are eligible for vaccination. All are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are age-eligible.

Thank you for your continued vigilance and partnership

Enjoy these final days of summer!

BPS Nurses