FAQ - Going into school year 2020-2021
You have questions we have answers to the most Frequently asked questions. Feel free to contact us directly if you have other questions.
FAQ - Related to School Year 21-22
August, 20 2012
What PreK - Grade 12 health and safety protocols are being recommended now by health experts and key decision-makers in light of the Delta variant of the virus?
07-19-2021: American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a “layered approach to make school safe for all students, teachers, and staff.” The AAP’s guidance “includes a recommendation that everyone older than age 2 wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.”
07-27-2021: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest a return to indoor mask-wearing in this CDC guidance, stating that the “CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.”
07-30-2021: In collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), the Commissioner of Education released this new guidance for PK-12 public schools. Governor Baker spoke in support of the Commissioner’s recommendation later in the day.
The guidance from the AAP, the CDC, and the MA DPH is inconsistent. What are the health and safety rules that MPS will follow in the upcoming school year?
Governor Baker noted that Massachusetts has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, which may account for the variation in the approach to back to school guidance. Mashpee Public Schools have consistently followed the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); in an effort to avoid confusion and keep students in school, we will continue to do so. The simplest way to frame the health and safety protocols and expectations for the upcoming school year is this—MPS will start the school year the same way we ended it:
Masks are required for all students and staff, vaccinated or unvaccinated, when indoors and on school buses. (See Mashpee’s current Face Covering Policy EBCFA)
Outdoors is still the safest place to be! No masking or physical distancing is required when outdoors.
I am vaccinated. Will I need to wear a mask in the upcoming school year?
Yes. Consistent with the CDC’s current guidance, all Mashpee Public Schools’ students, staff, and visitors to our school buildings, vaccinated and unvaccinated, are required to wear well-fitting masks when they return to school in the fall.
All students, staff, and visitors--regardless of vaccination status--need to wear face-masks indoors while in any Mashpee Public Schools facilities and while riding an MPS bus. Face-masks are not required when appropriate social distancing is enforced while outside--including recess at the elementary schools, during a scheduled mask break, when eating (lunch or a scheduled snack break), during physical education classes, or when an individual is alone in a segregated interior space.
My child is immunocompromised and in-person learning does not feel safe to me. Is there a remote option this year?
Remote learning is not an option in the upcoming school year per the Commissioner of Education. Please refer to the DESE COVID-19 guidance issued on May 27, 2021, page 4: Districts will no longer be able to offer remote learning as a standard learning model. As noted above, districts and schools will be required to be in-person, full-time, five days a week this fall. Pathways that existed prior to the pandemic for offering virtual learning to individual students in limited cases will remain available to districts and schools. These include home/hospital tutoring programs due to a documented medical condition, 3 single district virtual schools, and other narrow circumstances.
Why is MPS not following the new masking guidance that was just issued from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)?
We are following the advice of public health experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our primary goal this year is to ensure that we have as much uninterrupted in-person learning as possible. Masking, along with other layered mitigation strategies, is one way to achieve this.
Will Mashpee Public Schools continue to participate in any routine covid safety checks (formerly known as the pooled testing program)?
Yes. We will continue to explore appropriate testing strategies, including those being offered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Participation in any surveillance testing program will be on a voluntary basis with parental consent required for students.
Will we ever get to attend school without strict health and safety measures in place?
Yes! One way to get this pandemic behind us is by following our “do your part” core value and get fully vaccinated as soon as it is available to you. When Mashpee Middle-High School is 80% fully vaccinated (students and staff), the requirement to wear a mask at MMHS will be revisited. Mask wearing at all schools will be a function of the rates of COVID-19 in our Mashpee community as well as in each school.
Will masks be required on school buses?
Yes. Passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses. In addition, all MPS school buses must have windows open at least 4 inches at all times. For more information, here is the CDC’s Order. Note: Our bus routes will be sent to families on or before August 27, 2021. All students will be assigned a seat on their bus route--as was our practice prior to the pandemic.
What are the current travel restrictions? Will I be able to travel out of state without a quarantine?
Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Guidance suggests that if you are vaccinated there are no restrictions on domestic travel, and you can travel freely. Here are the CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people, including a viral test 3-5 days after and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Since children under the age of 12 are ineligible for a vaccine, we anticipate that many families will have questions about the rules. For example, someone may own a vacation home in New Hampshire where they have no contact with others and the rates of infection are lower than in some areas of Massachusetts. Do we require these individuals to quarantine under these circumstances? We ask all MPS families and staff to follow the State’s travel guidance. Qualifying special conditions include serious family emergencies/illnesses, deaths, and custody arrangements. If you have questions, please contact our MPS COVID-19 Health Coordinator Stacey Schakel at email@example.com or by calling 781-775-7605.
If a student or staff member is sick and experiencing symptoms, such as fever, cough, runny nose, what should they do?
School Personnel: Every day, prior to coming to work, staff members will be asked to self-monitor by reviewing the COVID-19 symptoms checklist provided by the District. If a staff member has any symptoms, they are expected to contact MPS COVID-19 Health Coordinator Stacey Schakel at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 781-775-7605, stay home, and follow the guidance provided.
Staff members should follow up with their Health Care providers for further evaluation and testing and obtain written medical clearance from their health care provider. They will be allowed to return to school based on their symptoms, further evaluation, and clearance from MPS COVID-19 Health Coordinator Stacey Schakel. Staff who become ill while at school will be sent home immediately.
Students and Families:
Before coming to school or getting on the bus, families are expected to assess their child’s state of wellness by reviewing the COVID-19 symptoms checklist provided by the District. If the student has any symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home from school. The family should notify MPS COVID-19 Health Coordinator Stacey Schakel at email@example.com or by calling 781-775-7605 for guidance. Stacey, or her designee, will follow-up with the family regarding the child’s symptoms when the child was seen by a medical professional, and any testing that was done. The child may return to school once cleared in writing by a medical health care provider, MPS COVID-19 Health Coordinator Stacey Schakel and/or the Mashpee Board of Health.