COVID-19 FAQ

  • What are the protocols for combating COVID-19 this school year?

    Video overview of DESE COVID Guidelines FALL 2021 (4:43 minutes)

     

    What additional mitigation measures is SPS following?

    SPS is proactively instituting mitigation measures some of which include: masking wearing expectations for all students and staff; 3’ of distancing where feasible; 6’ of distancing while inside and without masks when feasible

    Lab grade filters

     

    When should I keep my child home from school?

    Please consult the Symptoms Chart.

     

    When can my child return to school?

    Please consult the Return to School Guidelines and Flow Chart.

     

    What kind of COVID-19 test do I get?

    A molecular PCR test is the preferred test when ruling out COVID-19 in the case of illness. Depending on the testing site, PCR results are coming back within 24 hours. 

    Note: Nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) tests are a type of PCR test.Therefore, individuals may take a NAAT test whenever a PCR is accepted. Please ask your school nurse if you have any questions.

    The COVID test required in Protocol B-2 (7 day quarantine) can be a  PCR or a rapid antigen test. Any proctored rapid antigen test (including tests administered at home with online observation) whose results are automatically and electronically reported to public health is acceptable.

    To participate in the Test and Stay Program, only BinaxNOW tests may be used.

     

    Where can I get a Covid-19 PCR test done?

    Find a COVID-19 Test.

     

    If my child is tested for COVID-19 outside of school, can they attend school while awaiting results?

    No. While you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, your child should quarantine at home. Once you receive the results, please send them to your school nurse.

     

    Can my child go to school if another family member is sick at home?

    If a family member is ill but has not been identified as COVID-19 positive, children who are asymptomatic may attend school. If the ill family member receives a positive test result, then all children must quarantine at home and be tested.

     

    How will I know if my child is a close contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19? 

    If you have been identified as a close contact of a positive school case, you will be contacted by the school nurse.  If you are not contacted, you have not been identified as a close contact and do not need to test or quarantine.  The school nurse will work in conjunction with the local Board of Health (LBOH) nurse or contact tracer. You will receive a call from the LBOH nurse or contact tracer who will follow your progress during your child’s quarantine period.  

     

    What is quarantine?

    Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, and monitor their health for 14 days. Quarantine options include:  7 Day Quarantine with testing on day 5 with return on day 8, if asymptomatic and negative test; 10 day quarantine with no testing, may return on day 11 if asymptomatic; or you may choose the test and stay option when identified as a close contact within the schools. All close contacts must continue to monitor for symptom development for a 14 day period regardless of the quarantine option chosen.

     

    What is the Test and Stay Program?

    SPS will be participating in a brand new state program this school year, “Test and Stay”. The Test and Stay program is a testing initiative intended for asymptomatic close contacts of individuals with confirmed COVID-19 who are in the school setting. This testing program will allow asymptomatic close contacts to remain in school if they receive an individual rapid antigen test (BinaxNOW) each school day and test negative. The testing will take place at school, in the nursing office. With the addition of Test and Stay, we hope to support keeping as many students and staff in school as possible, safely. This program is intended only for school-related exposure to COVID

    Individuals who are part of the Test and Stay protocols may be eligible to participate in school sports and extracurricular activities, provided that they are in compliance with the applicable protocol. For events and sports that take place on non-school days, testing will still be required on those days to participate. 

    *note: Individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic are exempt from testing and quarantine protocols when identified as close contacts. Therefore, the majority of those using Test and Stay are the unvaccinated. 

    Detailed State Guidelines for Testing and Going Home

     

    Do the siblings of a close contact need to stay home while their COVID tests are pending?

    No. Siblings are just contacts of a contact. So as long as the sibling in quarantine does not develop any symptoms of illness or test positive, then the non-quarantining siblings may continue to attend school.

    • The siblings should separate from the quarantining individual during this time to reduce their chances of exposure should the quarantining child become ill themselves.
    • If the close contact does get a positive test result or develop symptoms, then the siblings would be considered close contacts and would need to get tested AND quarantine according to the above 7/10/14 day guidelines.

     

    What do I do if my child tests positive for COVID-19?

    If your child tests positive, they must be isolated from the rest of the family for 10 days. Please notify your school nurse immediately so contact tracing can begin. You will be contacted by the Sudbury Board of Health or a contact tracer for further investigation but there may be a delay in when they receive the test results. Notifying the school nurses will save valuable time and reduce further disease transmission. 

     

    What is isolation?

    Isolation is used to keep someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 away from others. Isolation helps prevent the spread of illness while a person is infected with the illness. During isolation, the COVID-positive person should stay home, completely separate themselves from others, and monitor their symptoms for 10 days.

     

    Is it okay to travel?

    There is no travel advisory at this time.

     

    What if my child is vaccinated and has symptoms of illness?

    If your child has the following symptoms:

    • Fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, chills, or shaking chills
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Muscle aches or body aches

    To return to school they must:

    1. Receive a negative PCR test or have an alternate diagnosis from a medical provider.
    2. Symptoms improve
    3. Be fever-free without fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours

    *The FAQs should also include symptoms to be tested for if your child is vaccinated.(fever, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches). It's different than for the unvaccinated.

     

    Will my child be required to wear a mask while being bussed to and from school?

    Yes, bus riders will be required to wear masks at all times while being transported.

     

    My child benefited from the free lunch program offered during the 2020-2021 school year. Will that be returning?

    Yes, lunch and a breakfast “snack” are available free of charge to all students, but do require students to pre-order. Hand washing and sanitizing will be required before eating and when transitioning from one space to another.

     

    Sudbury Public Schools prohibited outside visitors and vendors last year. Will that continue this year?

    We are happy to once again welcome third party in-school enrichment activities back to our schools, with agreements between SPS and the providers that all SPS SPS safety protocols, including being masked and vaccinated, will be followed. Additionally, visitors to the schools will be permitted by appointment and with the requirement of wearing a mask and observing all school COVID protocols.

     

    Safety protocols previously restricted the use of communal resources such as library books and water fountains. How do the new year’s protocols address those?

    Water fountains will be functional, although we recommend that students use and refill a personal water bottle using the touch free feature of the fountains. Students will also be permitted to share materials, including library books.

     

    Will the Sudbury Public Schools be offering a remote learning option for families at the start of the 2021-2022 school year?

    Per regulations promulgated by DESE, no public school district, including the Sudbury Public Schools, will be offering a remote learning option at the start of the 2021-2022 school year. All learning is to be conducted in-person, all five days of the week. 

     

    What, if any, COVID testing will be done in the schools this fall?

    Sudbury Public Schools will continue to offer weekly surveillance testing. This testing will prioritize those who are not vaccinated. Unlike last year, students in grades k-1 will now be permitted to self-administer the surveillance nasal swab, if they are able. A trained observer will supervise the students to ensure proper sample collection.

     

    Is this the same program that was administered following the return to school last spring?

    Not exactly. Following the detection of a positive pool, contact tracing will be conducted and close contacts will be tested using a rapid test which can provide results in 15 minutes or less.  This “Test and Stay” procedure will allow unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals who test “negative” to stay in school.  Asymptomatic vaccinated staff and students will also be allowed to stay in school if identified as a close contact.  “Positive” or symptomatic students and staff will enter a quarantine period coordinated by the District’s nursing staff. More information on the Test and stay procedure can be found here

     

    What are the different kinds of COVID tests available, and which are preferred by SPS?

    A molecular PCR test is the preferred test when ruling out COVID-19 in the case of illness. We do accept rapid Antigen tests. Depending on the testing site, PCR results are coming back within 24 hours. The majority of home tests are not accepted; please ask your school nurse if you have any questions.

     

    If my child is tested for COVID-19 outside of school, can they attend school while awaiting results?

    No. While you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, your child should quarantine at home. Once you receive the results, please send them to your school nurse.

     

    Can my child go to school if another family member is sick at home?

    If a family member is ill but has not been identified as COVID-19 positive, children who are asymptomatic may attend school. If the ill family member receives a positive test result, then all children must quarantine at home and be tested.

     

    Do the siblings of a close contact need to stay home while their COVID tests are pending?

    No. Siblings are just contacts of a contact. So as long as the sibling in quarantine does not develop any symptoms of illness or test positive, then the non-quarantining siblings may continue to attend school.

    • The siblings should separate from the quarantining individual during this time to reduce their chances of exposure should the quarantining child become ill themselves.
    • If the close contact does get a positive test result or develop symptoms, then the siblings would be considered close contacts and would need to get tested AND quarantine according to the above 7/10/14 day guidelines.

     

    Without a remote learning option, what services will be provided for students who are required to isolate?

    School based educational teams will develop and implement a COVID Learning Plan for students who can not attend school during isolation periods. 

     

    How will the school buildings be maintained to prevent the spread of COVID?

    The schools will continue to ventilate the buildings using upgraded filters and will operate the HVAC units before spaces are occupied. The schools will also continue to be sanitized daily.  As a part of the budgeting process, we have transitioned from a third-party vendor to district-assigned custodians for this important work.

      

    Is the current guidance the final word on how SPS will prevent the transmission of COVID over the course of the 2021-2022 school year?

    No. Federal, state, and local guidance regarding COVID continue to evolve, so families and staff can anticipate further updates.  We will continue to keep our COVID dashboard updated and send notifications regarding positive cases.