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BPS September Bulletin 2021

BPS September Bulletin 2021

Belmont Public Schools

September 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we prepare for the return to school, we will continue to highlight some Health and Safety guidelines and practices that will be implemented at the start of school. 

Supporting the safety of our students, teachers, staff, and community is our most important mutual priority. We will continue to work in collaboration to update and refine our guidance for schools as science evolves. 

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of our students to provide a safe environment for everyone in our schools.

Daily Symptom Checker before attending school

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

At home, prior to sending your child to school, please review the daily at-home symptom check. 

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

1. Today or in the past 24 hours, have you had any of the following symptoms?

❏ Fever (temperature of 100.0 deg F or above), chills or shaking chills, or have taken medication within the past 24 hours to lower their temperature (Tylenol/Motrin, etc.)

❏ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

❏ New loss of taste or smell

❏ Muscle aches or body aches (unrelated to physical activity/injury)

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

❏ Sore throat (when in combination with other symptoms)

❏ Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach)

❏ *vomiting

❏ *diarrhea

❏ 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

2. Has your child been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health care provider in the past 10 days?

3. Has your child been identified as a Close Contact and NOT participating in the BPS Test and Stay Program? 

4. Has your child been identified as an "in school close contact" and experiencing any COVID symptoms and CURRENTLY being tested for 7 days in the BPS Test and Stay Program? (To be implemented during September)

5. Has your child been directed by your local health department to self-quarantine in the past 14 days? 

6. Does your child have a COVID-19 test pending (other than a test done at school)? 

7. 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?

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 School Symptom Check Absence 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 your school 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 a medical 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). A note of medical clearance must be obtained and provided to your school nurse prior to the child’s return to school.

  • If your child’s healthcare provider determines a COVID-19 test is not indicated:

    • 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 a 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 provided to the school nurse before the child’s return to school. 

  • If a child presents COVID-19-like symptoms and chooses not to be tested, they may return to school 10 days from the start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without symptoms 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.

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is critical to keeping yourself healthy and minimizing the spread of disease.  Students and staff will exercise proper hand hygiene (hand washing or hand sanitizing) before touching eyes, nose or mouth, upon arrival at school, before eating or drinking, before putting on and taking off masks, after touching frequently touched surfaces and before dismissal. We will be encouraging hand hygiene throughout the school day!

Washing hands with soap and water is preferred, but when sinks are not available using hand sanitizer can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands. It is important to use hand sanitizer correctly. When using hand sanitizer remember to apply a  generous amount to one palm of a hand and rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry.

Face masks/coverings REMINDERS

BPS nursing-health-and-safety/masks-2021-22

Currently, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education state that face masks/coverings (masks) are an essential tool in the mitigation of COVID- 19.

Masks covering the nose and mouth are to be worn by ALL students, staff, visitors, and vendors. 

We suggest that each student bring 3-4 masks per day to school in the event one becomes dirty or wet.  It may be useful to designate one backpack pocket for clean masks, and a bag inside the backpack to contain used/dirty masks.  Please also label masks with the student’s name or initials. There will be a limited number of face masks for students available in the event a mask becomes soiled or broken.

Minimal requirements for face masks/coverings:

  • Minimal requirements for masks:

  • The effective fabrics for cloth masks are tightly woven, such as cotton and cotton blends, breathable, and in 2-3 fabric layers (CDC)

  • Masks must be well fitted to the face, covering the nose and mouth, without gaps on the sides

  • Gaiters and bandanas will not be permitted

  • Masks with one-way exhalation valves 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.

Wear a Mask to Protect Others

Image of people wearing masks correctly and other people wearing them incorrectly.

  • Wear a mask that covers  your nose and mouth to help protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms

  • Wear a mask correctly for maximum protection

  • Don’t put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead

  • Don’t touch the mask, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect​

Please dress your child for the weather as your child will be outdoors as much as possible.

Please pack a water bottle every day. Students can utilize the filling stations for refills.

We encourage you to get your child vaccinated for the Flu and COVID when they become age-eligible

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

Categories: Uncategorized, Health and Nursing Bulletin