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Staying Safe in Schools 2022

Posted on 11/04/2022

Page updated on November 3, 2022

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently offering a $75 gift card with each COVID-19 vaccination while supplies las
t. Learn more here.


The following important message is brought to Springfield Public Schools families by the Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics:

November 1, 2022
Dear Families,
The Commonwealth, the Northeast and much of the US are seeing increases in respiratory illness in infants and children. Some of these infants and children are requiring hospitalization for support with breathing and hydration. Emergency departments and other acute care health facilities have been managing significant increases in the number of patients requiring care. 

Most of these illnesses are caused by respiratory viral infections, including common seasonal viruses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinovirus and enterovirus, and influenza. Infants and children may be particularly susceptible to seasonal respiratory viral infections during the 2022-2023 fall and winter because they have had limited previous exposure to these respiratory viruses. We anticipate that there could be more respiratory illnesses as RSV continues to spread and influenza season ramps up.

The Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics want to remind parents and families about steps to take to prevent illness and stay healthy this season:

  1. Vaccinate your children ages 6 months and older against influenza as soon as possible.
  2. Vaccinate your children ages 6 months and older against COVID-19; children 5 and older who had their primary series more than 2 months ago should receive an updated COVID-19 booster as soon as possible.
  3. Remember, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time.
  4. If your infant has been offered treatment with protective antibodies due to their prematurity or another condition, keep on schedule with their monthly treatments.
  5. Practice hand hygiene frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or if a tissue is not available, cover them with an elbow, not a hand.
  6. Clean high touch surfaces in your home frequently with household disinfectants.
  7. Keep children home from daycare or school who have fever, especially with a cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, congestion, runny nose, or sore throat, until they are fever-free for 24 hours without medications that reduce fever.
  8. Avoid social gatherings if you or your children are ill.
  9. Contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider if you believe your child needs medical care. Your provider can offer advice on whether your child needs to be evaluated in person, tested for COVID or flu, and the best location (doctor’s office, urgent care, emergency room) for care.


COVID-19 UPDATE

UPDATE: Post-Holiday COVID-19 Testing Kits Will Be Made Available 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have reported that they will provide Springfield Public Schools with a shipment of at-home COVID-19 test kits to be used for student and staff testing before schools re-open after the holiday breaks in November and December. Written permission will be required for students to receive the test kits. Permission slips will be coming home with students the week of November 7th. Please note that participation is voluntary. For information about the extension of expiration dates on i-Health test kits, click here. 

ONGOING COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended, but not mandated.

There is no requirement for masking in schools. However, masks are required in school health offices. 

Anyone who wishes to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, will be supported in that choice.

Hand washing/sanitizing is  available and encouraged in schools.

Testing Positive for COVID-19
A student who tests positive, must isolate for at least five days. They may return to school after day five if they have no symptoms. If they have symptoms, they may return to school after day five if their symptoms are getting better, and they have not had a fever for 24 hours. Return-to-school precautions include masking through day 10.

If the student cannot mask, they can only return to school after testing negative on at least day five. Any student who tested positive may return to school on day 11 with or without a negative test.  


Showing COVID-19 Symptoms 
Students who show COVID-19 symptoms while in school can remain in their school if they are tested immediately onsite, and that test is negative. It is  recommended that the student mask, if possible, until symptoms are fully gone. If symptoms continue after a negative test, the student should re-test within one to two days of the first test.

 If the symptomatic student cannot be tested immediately, or if they are too ill to remain in school, they will be sent home.

The student will be allowed to return to school if they test negative, or if they have not had a fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and their symptoms have cleared up.

Students with symptoms may also return to school upon the recommendation of a medical professional.

COVID-19 Close Contacts
Vaccinated and unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested at least on day 5. Quarantine is no longer required. 

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