Covid-19 Specific Health Policies 


FULL IN PERSON FAQS

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What social distancing will be maintained in classrooms and how will it be measured?

The social distancing in classrooms will range depending on the size of the classroom, but will be at least 3 feet, per DESE guidance. Social distancing must be determined by measuring the edge of the seat to the edge of the next seat, side by side and front to back. Educators will maintain a 6-foot work space.  All desks will face the same direction.

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Will students need to wear double masks?

Double masks are recommended but not required. Students should arrive at school wearing a mask- replacement masks are available from the school nurse.  Face shields are available for those students who may choose to wear them in addition to their mask.

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Will there be mask breaks?

Individual mask breaks can be requested by the student, group mask breaks will not be taken.

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How will the students safely eat lunch?

We will maintain 6 feet of social distancing during lunch. Some students will eat in the cafeteria, and others will eat outdoors, in the gym or in classrooms. The alternative sites and logistics may differ from school to school. Greater detail will be included in building-based communications. 

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How will cafeteria lunches be handled?

Students will go through the lunch line and receive lunch in a “to go” kit. 

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Will students with food allergies be able to eat school lunch?

Yes. Students with food allergies are noted in our cafeteria system.  If you need to update your student’s food allergies, please contact your school nurse who will inform the Food Service Director.

Due to lunch and space constraints in our full in person model, MPS will be a peanut free district for the duration of this school year. All snacks and lunches that are brought to school must be peanut free. 

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With students seated less than 6 feet apart, what will happen if/when a positive case was in class during their infectious period?

We will continue to follow the Department of Public Health’s close contact definition- currently less than 6 feet for a cumulative 15 minutes.  If an entire class and teacher must go into quarantine, the class will be taught remotely.

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How will close contacts be identified, and will an entire class be put on quarantine if a student or teacher tests positive?

Close contacts will be identified through the contact tracing process, now being conducted by our Milton Public Schools Nursing Team. We also consult with the Milton Health Department on contact tracing. At the elementary level, a positive case in a classroom may lead to an entire classroom being quarantined. 

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How will elementary movement breaks work?

Movement breaks will continue to follow current safety guidelines established for each building. Students will be able to stay active outdoors in designated areas along with their cohort/class. 

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What are the plans to help students with the transitions to Full In person?

Our Adjustment Counselors, Guidance, Nurses and School Psychologists are available to assist families with the transition and can provide additional social and emotional support for students who may need it during the transition. 
 

TOWN OF MILTON RESOURCES 

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How many positive Covid-19 cases are there in Milton?

The Milton Health Department publishes a Daily Health Department Coronavirus Update which can be accessed at the link above. All Milton information about Covid-19 can be found on the Town of Milton website. 


 

TECHNOLOGY

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Can we borrow a Chromebook?

Yes. All MPS families will be afforded the opportunity to loan out a Chromebook from MPS. 

Families loaning a device will be able to pick up their device during set dates and times the week before school starts.  

If you would like to purchase a device for your student(s) we have recommended minimum tech specs.  This link is to the MHS Bring Your Own Device flyer. The bottom left corner of the flyer is a link to these minimum tech specs.

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If we buy a Chromebook, is there a particular kind to buy?

 If you would like to purchase a device for your student(s) we have recommended minimum tech specs.  This link is to the MHS Bring Your Own Device flyer.  The bottom left corner of the flyer is a link to these minimum tech specs.

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What are the software requirements for a device?

There are no software requirements.  Teachers will be asking students to use the GSuite for education tools along with other web-based platforms/applications that can be accessed from any device that has access to the internet.
 

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Can families receive training and support on remote technology?

Yes! MPS Technology Director AJ Melanson and the Technology Task Force are planning multiple opportunities to support families on the remote learning platforms. Please visit the new Family Technology Support Help Center website, which was created after hearing the feedback that families provided. And look out for live webinars from Mr. Melanson. 

BUSES AND TRANSPORTATION
 

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Transportation Guidelines for the 2020-2021 School Year

On February 11, 2021 MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education(DESE) updated Transportation (school bus) guidelines as follows:

  • Eliminated capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for elementary students 
  • Eliminated capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for middle and high school students on buses, except for middle and high schools in districts with high community prevalence.
  • For middle and high schools in districts with high community prevalence, capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements on buses are amended to allow 2 students per bus bench.
  • Windows must be kept open at all times at least two inches
  • Students should be assigned to a single bus and a particular seat. 
  • Masks must be worn at all times.


In order to return Milton Public Schools to full in person learning MPS has adopted these changes.  MPS is legally required to transport students in Kindergarten through Grade Six who live two miles or more from school which necessitates full capacity buses on many elementary, middle and high school routes.  There are elementary buses at full capacity with up to three per bench and Pierce and MHS buses at full capacity with two per bench.  We have worked to keep siblings together whenever possible, but are unable to assign seats based on neighborhood or by stop due to the need to keep kindergarten and first grade students as close to the front of the bus as possible.

Please email Rachel Schewe at bus@miltonps.org with questions. 

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How will contact tracing be done for students who ride the bus?

Capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for students on buses are lifted per DESE guidance.  Seating charts will be maintained and used to determine close contacts if a positive case is identified.

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What about Special Education Transportation?

Transporting Students with Disabilities

Some students with disabilities require specialized transportation as part of their Individualized Education Program (IEP).  The Milton Public Schools will work collaboratively with parents of students who are eligible for specialized transportation to determine their ability to transport their child(ren) to and from school.  A few items of note:

 

Parents/guardians of students for whom special transportation is provided for in their IEPs and who transport their student are eligible for reimbursement, according to 603 CMR 28.07(6). In these cases, the student maintains the right to access transportation for a disability-related need at a future date. The IEP will not be amended to reflect the temporary change in transportation arrangements, but parents/guardians will be notified in writing of this temporary change if they agree to transport their student. 

 

In cases where special transportation is provided for in the student’s IEP and the family is unable to transport their student, the Milton Public Schools will coordinate and provide transportation for those students, including students in out-of-district placements.

COVID PROTOCOLS 

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What are the MPS Visitor Guidelines?

As a means of keeping students and staff healthy and safe, visitors – including parents or caregivers – will not be allowed to enter MPS school buildings for any purpose other than to drop off or pick up their student(s), all of which will be limited to the school’s administrative space. This prohibition does not apply to MPS staff with a business purpose to be at a school site or vendors necessary for providing school services.

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After out of state travel, when can my child return to school?

Out of State and County Travel 

All students and staff will be expected to submit a negative COVID test or complete the required quarantine prior to return to in person learning after out of state travel.

As of Monday, March 22, the Massachusetts Travel Order is replaced with a Travel Advisory. This new travel advisory urges all persons entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more.  The Travel Advisory is the minimum requirement that MPS has to follow. Our MPS policy remains as a negative PCR test within 72 hours of returning OR a ten day quarantine for any out of state travel. An exception is made for travelers who are fully vaccinated (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 or more days ago) AND who do not have symptoms.  MPS does not allow for any other exemptions that the state allows.

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When can my student “live stream” into their class? 

Live streaming is for COVID-19 related "excused absences" for students who fall under the following guidelines:

  • Test positive for COVID-19.
  • Are considered a close contact of a person who is positive for COVID-19.
  • Symptomatic student who is encouraged to stay home as part of the health policy.
  • Students who travel out of State for emergency reasons (ex. mandatory SAT testing, medical emergency, death of a family member) and are required by MA State law to quarantine upon their return until they are able to produce a negative COVID - 19 (PCR) test.

Live streaming is NOT for students who take a leisure vacation or who do not attend in person school for a reason other than above. These will be considered unexcused absences. Students will have the opportunity to check in with their teacher and make up work at a later date.


This policy above is also applicable for faculty and staff. 

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If my child needs to stream in for an approved reason (see above), what is the protocol?

Please follow the instructions below to be approved to stream into class: 

  • Send an email explaining your situation addressed to the nurse and principal of the building your student attends. Your student will be added to the streaming list within 24 hours of approval of your request. Requests received after Friday at 3pm will be reviewed Monday morning with approvals for Tuesday.  All requests will be reviewed during normal school hours.
  • Streaming Instructions: Log in to the Google Meet provided by the teacher. Students will stream into the classroom through this link. It can take teachers a few minutes at the beginning of class to set up the streaming. If students have trouble accessing class after the first few minutes of class, please call the school nurse to ensure your student is on the streaming list and they will contact the teacher.
  • When you anticipate your student will return to in person learning, please email the school nurse and principal of the building your student attends.  The nurse will review return to school requirements and issue a clearance to return in person.  Your student will be cleared to return to school within 24 hours of your email meeting the requirements to return.  Requests received after Friday at 3pm will be reviewed Monday morning with approvals granted for return Tuesday.
  • If you have questions about whether or not you need to quarantine, please contact the school nurse at the building your student attends.
  • If you are not attending school for reasons not related to COVID, you should communicate that absence to the main office at the building your student attends.
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Will all students in an elementary classroom be considered close contacts in a full day in person model?

Elementary Close Contacts: In the full day in person model, all students in an elementary classroom will be considered a close contact if there is a positive case in the classroom. Per CDC guidelines, as followed by the Department of Public Health, someone is considered a close contact if they are within 6 feet of a COVID positive person after a cumulative 15 minutes over 24 hours.

Due to the nature of the elementary school day - 6 1/2 hours in length with 75 minutes outside the classroom each day including snack, lunch, transitions, specialists and movement breaks as well as the time in the classroom with 3 foot spacing, our contact tracing will identify all students as close contacts and the class will move to remote learning for the duration of the quarantine. In most cases, with testing, the class can return to in person learning on Day 8, with exposure counted as Day 0. 

Remote Learning for a Quarantined Class: If the entire class is moved to a remote model, remote learning will begin on the next school day. The classroom teacher will communicate a schedule of live teaching, independent learning, small group work, specials, breaks, and lunch to individual classes. 

 

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What will happen if a teacher has to quarantine?

The educator will teach remotely, when possible, and we will have an Educational Assistant or a long-term substitute teacher to monitor the classroom. 
 

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What will happen if an individual student has to quarantine?

If an individual has to quarantine due to a community-based or a family-based exposure, the student will engage in work designed by the teacher and will check in throughout the day remotely.

Please contact your school nurse and building principal for details. 

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Is the daily health screener required? What happens if it is not completed?

The parent attestation form is required daily as part of our Daily Health Screening. Once a student reports to school, we do not require proof of screening. We will use the honor system and students who present with symptoms will be asked to return home.

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I have several new symptoms. My doctor recommended a COVID-test and I am waiting for the results. Is it okay for me to send my children to school?

Your children should stay home from school until the test result is available. If the test is negative, then your children can return to school.

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Does a symptomatic child with an alternative diagnosis, such as a strep throat, still need a COVID test before returning to school?

In order to protect schools from the introduction of COVID, testing of symptomatic individuals is the default practice. Students with acute onset of new symptoms (especially respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) or fever should receive a negative COVID test before returning to school. Health care providers have clinical discretion to consider chronic illnesses or symptoms such as headache and abdominal or gastrointestinal symptoms and use clinical judgment to defer testing when an alternative cause is firmly established.

If your child has any of these symptoms on the Daily Prescreen, they must be tested for COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2) and submit a negative test to their school nurse; or have a medical clearance note submitted to the school nurse, or complete the required quarantine before returning to school.  Students should not return to school until cleared by the school nurse.
 


 

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Will I be notified if someone tests positive in my child’s class?

If your child is a close contact of the person who tests positive, you will receive a phone call or email notifying you of the close contact and giving you further instructions. 
 
If your child is not considered a close contact, you will not be notified individually. You  will receive a school wide email notifying the school community that there was a case in the school and to remain vigilant with daily screenings.
 

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What do I do if my child is a close contact of someone who has tested positive?

Students will be instructed to stay home and quarantine if they have been notified by a contact tracer or a representative from the Milton Public Schools that they are a close contact of a positive case.  This is also the case if someone has been notified by a friend or family member that they have been in contact with, because sometimes the contact tracers have a bit of a delay before they are able to reach all contacts. 

Please see our Close Contact infographic below. COVID Close Contact Flow Chart 12_8_20.jpg
 

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Quarantine Tips and Guidelines

MPS priority is always to keep students, teachers, and staff safe. We also want to keep schools open as much as possible. We continue to evaluate positive cases in the schools, community spread, and contact tracing. Below is a guide to help families quarantine when it is recommended:

 

What does quarantine mean? It is a period where someone who may have been exposed to the virus must remain separated from others.

What are priorities in keeping family members safe at home?

  • Continue 6 ft of distance if and when possible. Those who cannot keep 6 ft of distance may need to later quarantine themselves.

  • Wear masks - specifically surgical masks if you are getting closer to the exposed individual. If there is someone who has tested positive in your home, consider wearing a KN95 or N95 mask when you are close to them.

  • Separate beds, bathroom and eating space. When this is not possible, a thorough cleaning and limitsharing items as much as possible.

  • Wash hands frequently with warm water and soap.

  • Consider either disposable plates/cutlery, or a designated person to clean with a mask on.

  • Laundry of the suspected or positive person should be cleaned on the hot setting.

  • Consider quarantining as a family if you are unable to keep distance between siblings and family members.

  • Monitor for symptoms - check the exposed person’s temperature at least twice a day and notify their health care provider if they have symptoms.

  • If someone in the household gets tested and tests positive notify their health care provider and the school as soon as possible and answer the call from contact tracers. 

 

MPS depends on a partnership with our families to keep the schools, students and staff safe. We look forward to welcoming your child back to the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

Thank you for helping to keep our community safe and our schools open.

 

References:

 

If the suspected case is a child:

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-how-to-quarantine.html

 

If the suspected case is the caregiver/adult:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/parents-caregivers.html

 

https://www.connecticutchildrens.org/coronavirus/self-quarantining-and-your-family-a-pediatrician-answers-your-questions/

 

10 Tips for At-Home Quarantine

https://www.mass.gov/doc/10-tips-for-at-home-quarantine-or-self-monitoring/download

 https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-printable-fact-sheets#at-home-quarantine-or-self-monitoring


 

HEALTH AND SAFETY
 

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How will school buildings be cleaned, sanitized, and ventilated?

The School Building Custodians will clean each school throughout the day as needed, and do a major cleaning during the evening shift. After the evening cleaning, custodians will disinfect all classrooms using a mechanical spray, using spray-and-wipe procedures as a backup method. The disinfectant chemical used is on the EPA list of approved and recommended products. All rooftop ventilation units will be run at 100% during the day and evening to bring in fresh air into the building. All operable windows will be opened to introduce fresh air into the spaces. All bathroom ventilation systems will always remain on.  

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How will you keep students and staff safe in school?

All students and staff must complete the MPS Daily Prescreening Health Checklist every day. 

All students and staff must stay home if they have any symptoms on the Prescreening Health Checklist. 

All students and staff must wear a mask. 

All buildings have enhanced cleaning protocols and maximum ventilation. 

 

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How will you ensure that students follow the guidelines (e.g. wearing masks appropriately, maintaining social distance, sanitizing frequently) in all areas (e.g., classroom, outside, bus)?

Students are expected to follow many rules in school and typically do well when rules are clear and specifically taught, modeled by adults, and reinforced through positive interactions. It would be helpful for us if families practice key safety strategies with their children this summer, including: wearing masks, engaging in frequent handwashing, and following social distance recommendations.

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Will everyone in school need to wear a mask?

Yes.

The Milton Public Schools will require teachers and all students, in grades pre-K to 12 to wear masks.

These guidelines are more stringent than those set by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Exceptions will be made for those who cannot wear masks due to medical conditions, disabilities, and other health and safety factors.

A face covering that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals in school buildings, on school grounds and on school transportation, even when social distancing is observed unless otherwise directed by this policy.


Face masks must:
● cover both the nose and mouth
● fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face
● be secured with ear loops or ties (or elastic in the case of gaiters)
● allow for breathing without restriction
● be either disposable or able to be laundered and dried without damage or change to shape


The following face coverings are encouraged in Milton Public Schools:
● Surgical masks
● 2- and 3-layer cloth masks
● Face shields are permitted, but only in addition to a mask


The following face covering are not permitted in Milton Public Schools:
● 1 layer cloth masks
● 1 layer neck gaiters
● vented masks (masks with exhalation valves)

You can read the entire Face Covering Policy here. 

 

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What happens if someone in school tests positive for COVID-19?

For all positive cases, we will follow our Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process. Please click the link above to read the full process. 

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Are you working to be sure all students are up to date on their vaccinations?

Yes. Prior to the start of each school year, school nurses review the immunization status of each child in their building. 

All students must present evidence of immunizations in compliance with the requirements of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 76, Section 15, which specifically prohibits admitting a student to school without a physician verifying that religious or medical exemptions apply. Medical and Religious exemptions must be submitted to the Health Office annually.

Children need to be immunized against Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus, Measles/Mumps/ Rubella, Polio, Hepatitis B, Varicella and Haemophilus Influenzae type B (HIB-Preschool requirement only).  Children who are not fully immunized against these preventable illnesses are not allowed to attend school.

Please see the MPS Immunization Policy here. 


For more information, contact your health care provider or the MDPH Immunization Program (617-983-6800 or 888-658-2850, www.mass.gov/dph/imm)

GENERAL QUESTIONS

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How many positive COVID cases would Milton have to have to move to a fully remote model?

There is no one threshold or metric that indicates a school or district should suspend in-person learning. 

 

The Milton Public Schools Metrics Advisory Team will use several data points to monitor COVID-19 cases within our community.
 

  • The first is cases per 100,000 metric established by The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  This data is based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each city or town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. Communities with fewer than 5 cases are not given a designation. It is important to note that while average daily cases per 100,000 is the metric that determines the color coding for each community, districts/schools should also monitor whether cases are increasing or decreasing vs. the prior period. 

 

  • The State positivity percentage – Currently the number the state is using is 5% (which could trigger a statewide move to a  remote model)

 

  • Total positive cases in the community (Milton and staff communities) 

 

  • Age of demographic of the positive cases

 

  • How and where people contracted the virus

 

  • Additional information we gather through meetings with our local Board of Health

 

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What are the parameters for making a request to move from one model to the other during the school year?

As the choice model is rooted in the belief that each family and each student has unique circumstances within which they will navigate work and life this fall, we recognize that there may be cases where those circumstances shift and a request may be made to change a student from one model to the other. If that is the case, parents/guardians should consider the following information and carefully reflect on any potential change request.

 

****As a reminder, changing from one model to the other will result in moving the student into the class of a new teacher(s) with a new cohort of students and so such requests should only be made after careful consideration.****

 

All requests for a change from one model to the other should be put in writing to the building principal. The request should include an explanation for the request. As transitioning a student from one model to the other requires communication between the sending and receiving teacher(s), determining whether or not there is a seat in the needed class(es), building a new schedule with a new or multiple new teachers, ensuring that all work has been completed and turned in, and ensuring that the pace of the classes in both the existing model and the one to which the student is transitioning is insync, you should expect a transitioning period whose length will be influenced by the direction in which the child is moving. Please consult the chart below. 

 

A Note on Quarantines- If a student is in the Hybrid Model and is required to quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test or because the student was a close contact, the student will receive work from his/her Hybrid Model teacher(s) to be completed at home. The reason why a child will not join the Remote Model just for the quarantine period is that doing so requires a change of teacher(s) and a reasonable transitioning period.