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Staying Safe in Schools

Staying Safe in Schools
Posted on 08/19/2021

Page Updated November 12, 2021

With cold/flu season upon us and the fall/winter holidays right around the corner, it’s important to take great care in keeping your family and our community safe

Parents and guardians should keep their child home from school if

            The student is sick

            The student has taken a COVID test and is waiting for results

            The student or anyone in your household has been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID (those identified as a close contact should take a COVID test and stay home while waiting for the results)

Your 5 -11 years old COVID-19 Vaccination  Questions Answered:

A COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children aged 5 to 11. Springfield Public Schools highly encourages vaccination as the number one COVID prevention strategy. We know that families may have questions about the vaccine for children and we’d like to help you get answers to those questions. Please email any questions you may have about the vaccine for children to Springfield Public Schools is working with Baystate Health to help answer our parents most frequently asked questions about the COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Please submit your questions by  Sunday, Nov. 14th.  

Student and staff health and safety is the number one priority for Springfield Public Schools (SPS).

As the District manages in-person teaching and learning in the wake of  COVID-19, strict protocols and practices have been implemented to help protect our school communities.

Here's how SPS is working to keep everyone as safe as possible. 
- Face masks are required for all students, teachers, staff and visitors – regardless of vaccination status. Medical and/or behavioral exemptions may be made with proper documentation. 

Please be reminded that masks remain required for students, staff and visitors for all Springfield Public Schools. Though the City of Springfield mask mandate will end on November 1st, the mask requirement will remain in effect for Springfield Public Schools

- Social distancing within the classroom is done to the best of Springfield Public Schools (SPS) ability up to three (3) ft. 

- Face masks are required for travel on all SPS buses.

- SPS administers a COVID-19 testing program for all students in all schools with parental consent.

- SPS is working with families for consent to vaccinate eligible students during school-based vaccination clinics. 



Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 protocols:

Q: What kind of COVID tests are being conducted in schools this year to help keep students safe? 

A: Parental consent is required for students to participate in testingThe District’s testing program consists of three components. They are:

(1) Symptomatic testing
(2) Routine COVID safety checks (pool testing)
(3) Test & Stay

Q: What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19? 

A: If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate at home for 10 days since symptoms appeared; or 10 days since the positive test.

They may return to school on the 11th day as long as they have not had a fever for 24 hours prior to returning to school.

These protocols follow the recommendations of Centers for Disease Control.

Q:  If a student is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person outside of school, can the student participate in the school-based Test & Stay program?

A: Test & Stay is for in-school close contacts only. Unvaccinated close contacts who were exposed to a COVID-19 positive  person outside of their school must quarantine at home.

Q: Is it considered a close contact if someone is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person while OUTDOORS?

A: No, outdoor exposure is not considered a close contact. The Department of Public Health’s definition of a close contact is focused on contact that occurs when indoors. 

Q: I’ve heard a lot of information about PCR versus antigen tests. What is the difference, and which one does a student need to return to school after having COVID-19?

A: Generally speaking, PCR tests are the more sensitive of the two tests but take longer to produce a result. Antigen tests are less sensitive but take less time to produce a result.

Both tests are acceptable for re-entry to school for a person who has been identified as a close contact but has no symptoms.

For students showing symptoms, a negative PCR test is required to return to school.

Q: What is the policy for students who are missing school because of a possible COVID exposure?

A: DESE has stated that COVID-related absences must be documented as an absence. However, COVID-related absences will not be counted against a student as long as documentation is provided to the school.

Q: If a student is home due to COVID, can they access schoolwork?

A: DESE has stated that remote education is not an option for Massachusetts school districts this school year. However, Springfield students and families are encouraged to remain in close contact with the student’s teacher via Schoology or other school-based communication platforms to explain that the student’s absence is COVID-related and to stay as up to date as possible on schoolwork.

Q: What happens if a student is exposed to COVID several times in the school year?

A: The same mitigation strategies would be implemented any time there is an exposure, even if that is several times during the school year. 

Q: What are the rules about returning to school after traveling out of state or country?

A: Families are asked to review and follow the CDC travel advisory guidelines if a student travels out of state or country: Mass.Gov Travel information.

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