COVID-19 Guidelines

COVID-19 Protocols for 2022-2023

 

We are committed to providing a safe, in-person, learning environment for faculty, staff and students. Our COVID mitigation protocols are listed below and were updated August 29. These policies are designed to help mitigate transmission and may change at any time given our dynamic climate.

Contact tracing is no longer recommended or required in school settings. The Commonwealth is not recommending universal mask requirements, surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing, or test-to-stay testing in schools. All individuals are encouraged to stay up-to-date with vaccination as vaccines remain the best way to help protect yourself and others. 

Testing Guidelines:

  • If an individual has not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, the individual can test with either a rapid antigen or PCR test.
  • People who had COVID-19 in the last 90 days should test with a rapid antigen test, not a PCR test.

COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nausea, vomiting, when in combination with other symptoms
  • 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

If you test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status:

  • If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 on either a rapid antigen or PCR test, the individual is required to self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Note: A PCR test is not necessary or recommended to confirm a positive result on a rapid antigen test. Rapid antigen tests have a low rate of false positives. As a result, a person who tests positive on a rapid antigen test, almost certainly has COVID-19 and must follow isolation guidance.
  • All individuals must isolate for at least 5 days.
      • Day 0 = First day of symptoms OR day the positive test was taken, whichever is earlier.
  • If the individual had no symptoms:
      • They may end isolation on Day 6 and should wear a high-quality mask through Day 10.
  • If the individual had symptoms:
      • They may end isolation on Day 6 if:
        • They are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) AND their symptoms are improving.
      • The individual should wear a high-quality mask through Day 10.
  • Individuals may remove mask prior to Day 11 if:
      • If an individual has had two sequential negative tests taken 48 hours apart.
    • Note: If the antigen test results are positive, the individual may still be infectious. The individual should continue wearing a mask and wait at least 48 hours before taking another test. Continue taking antigen tests at least 48 hours apart until you have two sequential negative results. This may mean you need to continue wearing a mask and testing beyond day 10.

If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status:

  • If an individual has been exposed to someone with COVID, the individual does not need to be quarantined as long as they remain asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Individuals should wear a mask any time they are around others or in public for the 10 days following their exposure.
  • Individuals must test on Day 6 of exposure. 
    • If negative, continue wearing a mask until day 10.
    • If positive, follow COVID-19 positive guidelines.
  • If symptoms develop, follow the guidance for symptomatic individuals, below.

Symptomatic Individuals (Individuals with COVID-19-like Symptoms):

  • Symptomatic individuals can remain in their school or program if they have mild symptoms, are tested immediately onsite, and that test is negative. 
    • Individuals should wear a mask, if possible, until symptoms are fully resolved. 
    • A second test is recommended within 48 hours if the initial test is negative.
      • If a PCR test is used for the second test, the individual should remain home while waiting for the PCR results.
  • If the symptomatic individual cannot be tested immediately, they should be sent home and allowed to return to their program or school if symptoms remain mild and they test negative, or they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their symptoms are resolving, or if a medical professional makes an alternative diagnosis. A negative test is strongly recommended for return.  

Resources:

  1. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-isolation-and-exposure-guidance-for-the-general-public
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/if-you-were-exposed.html
  3. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-isolation-and-exposure-guidance-for-children-and-staff-in-child-care-k-12-out-of-school-time-ost-and-recreational-campprogram-settings

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