Health & Safety
With the ABxAB schedule, will there be a deep clean every night? Did you consider doing AAxBB to have Wednesday as a thorough disinfection day?
The AARBB pattern was considered as one of several options. When it became clear that the same disinfecting process would take place every night, the goal of having students in school with greater frequency ABRAB was prioritized.
What will lunch look like?
All elementary students will eat lunch in their homeroom classrooms monitored by classroom teachers. Lunch orders will be submitted electronically through Aspen with the morning’s daily attendance. Lunch will be prepared in pre-packaged containers and delivered to classrooms by Whitson’s staff. All classrooms will be allergen-free, and parents will be directed to provide lunch foods that meet these restrictions.
What will recess look like?
Outdoor Recess: The grade level will go outside to recess together staying in classroom cohort groups. Different areas will be designated and cohorts will rotate (ex. playground structure, field, basketball court, etc.) Recess/Lunch monitors and/or assigned staff will monitor recess and make sure students stay in cohorts. Masks must be worn at all times during recess. Mask breaks will happen at other times during the day and will be led by the classroom teacher.
Indoor Recess: Will happen in the gym and cafeteria or other large areas. These spaces will be divided to keep cohorts separate. Masks must be worn at all times during indoor recess.
Is the district considering using outdoor spaces and allowing opportunities for students to be outside?
We are working to identify opportunities and spaces for students to be outside, weather permitting. We are looking into securing tents at each school for outside opportunities.
When will students be permitted to drink water?
Students will be encouraged to drink water throughout the day. Snack, lunch and during mask breaks would be natural opportunities for water drinking.
Will elementary school students remain in one classroom all day?
At the elementary level, cohorts will remain in their classroom for the day. Some students may leave to participate in services in other locations.
How will Curtis students rotate among classrooms? Will they remain in their homeroom all day?
Sixth and seventh grade students will be assigned to cohorts by homeroom assignment. Curtis staff is working out which courses will be taught in the homeroom setting and which will be taught in other settings. Eighth grade students will not be cohorted. They will move between classes in an organized fashion to minimize contact. For all grades, safety and sanitization is the priority.
Will visitors or parent volunteers be allowed in the schools?
Visitors and volunteers, including parents, are not allowed in any school building or to participate in school activities on school grounds. Outside presenters or performers are temporarily banned from the school buildings. All meetings with parents or contracted consultants (e.g., IEP meetings, parent conferences) will be held virtually by phone or video conferencing. Parents picking up or dropping off students outside of regular arrival/dismissal times will be met at the front door by a member of the office staff. Visitors deemed essential by school administration are surveyed prior to entry beyond the school office/lobby using a standard admittance questionnaire.
How will the challenge of enforcing 6 ft distancing be handled with the youngest children?
Routines will be taught. Social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks will be part of these routines that we will teach, support and practice. This will be very similar to the way we teach all routines in school. We will model, practice and support as needed.
If a student opts for hybrid, and then has a sick day during the in-person learning day, can he/she attend that day's instruction remotely? If so will this instruction be with their team teachers?
If a student is sick, they should rest and recover. Their teacher will help them make up any missed work when they are well again.
Will all students and staff be required to wear masks?
Masks are required for all students and staff. Masks are one of the most important tools to prevent transmission of the virus. Our hope is that families are working on this important skill at home and all students will be able to wear a mask when we return to school. If we have students struggling in this area, staff will be prepared to supports students and collaborate with families to build the skill of wearing a mask. You can find our communication regarding masks here.
Will masks be provided?
Masks should be provided by the student’s family. Each school will provide and maintain a supply of masks for student/staff use as needed.
How will mask breaks work? Will mask breaks be different from recess?
During recess, students will wear masks. Mask breaks will take place at different times during the day, this would include snack, lunch and other times scheduled by the teacher. Mask breaks will be inside and outside.
Why aren’t masks going to be standardized and provided by the school? There is a wide variety of mask type and effectiveness, so how will the school manage this if masks are provided by families?
Some cloth face coverings are more comfortable than other types. It will be more effective for students to wear a mask covering that they can tolerate.
How long do you anticipate students will wear masks between mask breaks? I'm trying to get an idea of how long they should be able to wear a mask - 2 hours? 4 hours?
Students will take a mask break about once an hour throughout the day.
Would there be a half day option for the two days at school? I’m not very comfortable with my daughter has lunch at school. But still want her to get the in person experience. Thank you!
Families will have a choice between a full remote option and the hybrid scenrio.
What is the plan for students that need 100% remote instruction due to family preexisting conditions that increase risk for COVID-19 illness and death?
The Sudbury Remote Academy option will provide a fully remote education to students whose families identify COVID-19 health concerns regarding their child or family members.
Since it seems that school is moving forward with a hybrid opening rather than full time return to class, can you please explain the strategy for phasing back into full time attendance once the year has begun. Will this be like other opening strategies in the state where a timeline is used (i.e. if we go 4 weeks with no issues will we further open?) or are there other metrics you will be using?
DESE is developing a matrix to support districts and local Boards of Health with decisions regarding reopening appropriately. The district will prioritize bringing students back full-time based on developmental needs and the availability of safe spaces.
Is there a chance some schools will still be in the hybrid mode while others are fully remote, or will it be a community-wide decision?
SPS would follow guidance from local and state agencies with regards to in-person learning for schools, grade-levels or some combination thereof.
What discussions have you had and what proactive decisions have you made regarding suspending in-class activities that might be conducive to spreading Coronavirus? For example, in Music, will you be suspending any chorus activities/singing since that is considered a high spreading activity?
DESE has issued specific guidance regarding Courses that Require Additional Safety Precautions. SPS teaches and administrators are reviewing. Chorus will be offered remotely, in accordance with the guidelines.
What if a student travels outside of Massachusetts to see family? Do they need to quarantine when they return? Will they be allowed to come back into school? What information will the school require if a student is absent?
Current MA guidelines require a 14 day quarantine for residents returning from out of state travel to certain states. At this time, only the northeast states including NY, NJ, CT, RI, NH, VT, ME, are exempt from this, but depending on trends, this could change.
I'm hearing rumors of an isolation room for kids who show symptoms at school? Is this true and if so it’s concerning as I don’t think that’s going to make the kids feel safe, can you relay details if this something you are thinking of implementing? Thank you!
Every school in MA is required to have a room separate from the nurse's office that provides space for an individual displaying Coronavirus symptoms. Parents will be notified immediately and the student will be monitored until he or she can be picked up from school.
Will families be required to submit a daily, signed attestation that nobody in the household has any symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in contact with an infected party?
Families will be required to do a daily screening for their children before school.
While we all know that students and teachers will be required to stay home if they are feeling ill, what is the requirement for anyone else living in the household about attendance? For example, if a child is home sick, is the expectation that all children in that family stay home from school to avoid possible spread of the virus by asymptotic family members? Thank you.
If a student within a family is ill, and is waiting for the results of a COVID test, the other family would be considered close contacts and should remain at home until the test results are known. If the results are negative, and they are asymptomatic, they would be allowed to return to school.
When a student has an illness, what quarantine will be required prior to re-entry to in-person learning.
If an ill student is diagnosed with an alternate medical condition (ie strep throat) they can return to school once appropriately treated and symptom free for 24 hours. If COVID testing is not done, and no alternate diagnosis has been made, the student should remain at home for 14 days.
How will teachers be kept safe in this environment?
Teachers will be required to wear face masks. Face shields will also be available. Staff will follow all established guidelines for handwashing and distancing to the extent possible.
Will temperatures be checked before entering the building?
Tempatures will not be taken as students enter the building. Families are required to complete a health check each morning.
What are the protocols for when students/staff get sick and/or test positive?
You can find our health office symptom guidelines here.
How will the classroom deal with illnesses? If a child gets sick or has a run of the mill cough does the whole class quarantine until COVID test results come back?
Symptomatic students will be sent home and will be advised to contact their child's physician. If COVID testing is done, the child will remain home until the test results come back. The class will not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.
Who will need to quarantine if a student/faculty member/family member tests positive for COVID-19?
Disease investigation will determine the infectious period for quarantining of close contacts. If it is determined that the positive case was in school within the 48 prior to symptom onset, the other students/teacher in the class will need to quarantine for 14 days. The entire school will not need to quarantine.
Will the school be responsible for accurate and complete contact tracing?
Disease investigation will perform contact tracing in accordance with DPH/CDC guidelines.
Will you require COVID testing at any point for students and/or SPS staff?
There is no testing requirement at this time.
Are you considering routine COVID testing for students and teachers?
We do not have the capacity to do routine testing at this time. Families can seek routine testing by contacting their PCP or access testing sites located throughout the state.
What is the deciding factor for going fully remote? How about for when it is safe to reopen?
In addition to State guidance, SPS will consult with the Sudbury Board of Health (BOH) on closure/openings. The BOH is constantly monitoring the COVID positive cases and is running a contact tracing program. SPS will follow the State protocols for operations when students or staff exhibit COVID symptoms or when a positive test occurs.
Are there plans in place if a last minute change to fully remote learning is necessary?
The Sudbury Public Schools submitted plans for in person, hybrid, and all remote scenarios to DESE on July 31.
What is the plan if a teacher is out for a prolonged time due to COVID/exposure? The hybrid plan seems difficult to manage for the main teacher let alone a substitute. Will the substitutes be trained on the process/technology ahead of time?
The district anticipates identifying substitutes who will be assigned to a specific building and trained to support learning in a hybrid model.
What changes have been made in classrooms? Have all tables been replaced with desks?
All rug/floor gathering areas are removed, and students work exclusively at individual desks or tables that can maintain a 6' distance.
How will you ensure safety during bus transportation?
- All drivers and students are required to wear a mask on the bus. Students will not be allowed on the bus without wearing a mask.
- All students must have their bus pass in order to board the bus. The bus passes are color-coded by student schedule. Seat assignments will be provided to each family prior to the first bus ride.
- Students will have an assigned seat on the bus with one student per seat. Siblings may sit together.
- All students will apply hand sanitizer as they board the bus.
- Bus windows will be at least half-open at all times except in extreme weather.