Health Services » Covid 19 Guidance for School Year 2021-2022

Covid 19 Guidance for School Year 2021-2022

Our school community is following the guidelines and requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). To review the DESE protocols, here is the link to the most current information regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Global Learning Charter Public School Face Mask Protocol

Global Learning Charter Public School is committed to providing a safe environment as school reopens during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to public health experts, one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus and to keep members of our school community safe is the use of face masks. Therefore, in accordance with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the following requirements are in place until further notice. An ear-loop face mask that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals in school buildings, and on school transportation, even when social distancing is observed. 

A student’s face mask is to be provided by the student’s parents/guardians. Parents/guardians should send the student to school with an extra face mask. Based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas and face covering containing valves, mesh materials or holes of any kind will not be considered appropriate masks. Staff members are responsible for providing their own face mask. 

Individuals may be excused from the requirement for the following list of reasons, per CDC guidance:  

  • has trouble breathing; is unconscious, is incapacitated
  • cannot remove the face mask without assistance. 

In addition, face masks will not be required for anyone who has a medical, behavioral or other challenge making it unsafe to wear a face mask. A written note from a physician is required for a requested exemption. Parents may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement by signing a waiver. 

Additionally, face masks  will not be required when appropriate social distancing is enforced: 

  • during mask breaks and while eating or drinking

 Any time a mask break is taken, all students must remain at least 3 feet apart

  • Mask breaks that occur indoors should be limited to 5-10 minutes. 
    • When not being worn, the face mask should be placed on the student’s desk, inside their pocket and/or backpack. 
    • Students should remain in their own space, and refrain from talking 
  • When possible, mask breaks should be taken outdoors
  • If a student’s face mask becomes wet or soiled, the face mask should be replaced.

If students are in violation of this protocol, GLCPS will consult with the parent/guardians to determine whether an exception is appropriate, or the student may be redirected to remote   learning until such time as they can comply with the requirement or the requirement is lifted. Violations of this protocol by staff, who have not previously been approved for an exemption, will be handled by Human Resources. Visitors in violation of this policy will be denied entry to the school.

For the 2021-22 school year, we are offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our COVID-19 testing program at school. This program has three components: symptomatic testing for students who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school, routine COVID safety checks to prevent the spread of the virus undetected among students who are not showing symptoms, and test and stay for students who may have been exposed while in school but are not showing symptoms. Each of these is a quick, non-invasive nasal swab OR saliva sample that is collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests of the past, these are not uncomfortable and easy for students to do themselves.

Students only participate with permission from a parent or guardian. It is important to GLCPS that you are fully informed regarding the process and that we can answer any questions that you might have in advance of asking you to sign the consent form. Below we describe each of the three parts of our testing program, how they are conducted, and what they are used for.

Symptomatic testing is used when a student is showing symptoms of COVID-19 during school; students should not come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Some symptoms of the virus look identical to other illnesses like the cold or flu, and this test tells us whether a symptomatic student has COVID-19 or not. This is a rapid test, and we receive the results of this test within 15 minutes. If a student has minimal symptoms and tests negative, they can remain in school.

Routine COVID safety checks minimize disruption to learning by helping us catch potential spread of the virus before it starts. Each student administers the safety check on a weekly basis. Samples are collected at school in groups of 5-10 individuals. The samples are group together at school OR in the lab. Once the samples get to the lab, all the samples in the group are tested for COVID-19 together. In almost all cases, it will take less than 24 hours to receive safety check results. Students can continue to come to school while awaiting safety check results; they do not need to quarantine while awaiting results. If a safety check test is positive, the students in the group will take individual tests to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test//the lab will automatically process each individual sample to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test.

At this time, GLCPS is NOT conducting Routine Covid safety checks.

Test and stay allows students who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic. Students participate in test and stay for at least five days after they may have been exposed.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine at home for the CDC-recommended ten days since symptoms appeared or ten days since the positive test before returning to school. The student must also be without a fever for 24 hours.

Although students who are vaccinated are much less likely to spread or contract the virus, it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

To participate in the program, please complete the instructions at this CIC Link  or complete the form below and return it to GLCPS Nurses' Office. Either print it and mail it to GLCPS OR photograph the completed form and email it to health@glcps.org.

There is no charge for participating.  If you have additional questions regarding the program, please contact the GLCPS Nurses’ Office at health@glcps.org or 508-991-4105.

It is our hope that these measures will work together to keep our schools safe and your student in school.  Thanks again for your support during this challenging time. We look forward to welcoming your students back to the classroom.