All students will be required to wear their masks for the entire time they are being transported by the school or at the school. The mask MUST cover the nose and mouth fully. Students may remove the mask only when instructed to do so during meals or mask breaks.
Students and staff will not be allowed to wear gaiters or face masks with a valve. Since valves allow for air to be exhaled without being filtered, it is similar to not wearing a mask at all and therefore a safety concern.
In cases of medical or behavioral challenges, school nurses will work in conjunction with the Executive Director and Student Services on a case by case basis to decide appropriate action. Such accommodations may include allowing students to wear a face shield, defining an individual work space separate from other students, or remaining in a full remote learning fashion.
How to put on a face mask:
- Wash/sanitize your hands before putting on your mask
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
When taking your mask off for eating or mask breaks:
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties
- Fold outside corners together
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing
We understand that wearing a mask for extended periods of time can be difficult and have a negative impact on learning. In order to address this issue, we have included mask breaks that will be taken throughout the day.
Students in grades 6-10 as well as Dual Enrollment students will be scheduled into a mask break in the first or last ten minutes of class. These masks breaks will be taken outside, weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, mask breaks will take place in the cafeteria to maximize space. During these mask breaks, classrooms will be sanitized using electrostatic sprayers.
The schedule of mask breaks is as follows:
- 6th and 7th grade will take their mask break in the first ten minutes of the period
- 8th grade will take their mask break in the last ten minutes of the period
- 9th and 10th grades will take their mask break in the first ten minutes of the period
- Mask breaks will not begin until initiated by the teacher
- For mask breakfast the start of the period, teachers who are entering the classroom will initiate the mask break. All students should wait in the classroom until that time
- For mask breaks at the end of the period, the current teacher will initiate the mask break. All students should remain in their seat until instructed otherwise
- Dual Enrollment students will take their mask break in the last ten minutes of the period
- Early College students will receive a mask break at the end of each of their college classes as long as time permits
- Early College staff will accompany the Early College students to the cafeteria where someone will monitor the mask break
- Additional mask breaks will not be scheduled during periods 3 or 7
All staff and students must maintain a 6-ft social distance.
New Heights Charter School has a no physical contact policy. When in the hallway there must be no small gatherings of staff or students. Students should only be stopping in the hallway if directed to do so by staff.
New Heights Charter School urges families to prescreen their students prior to leaving their households for COVID-19 symptoms. If a child has symptoms of COVID-19 they should remain at home and be tested.
Below is the full list of symptoms for which families should monitor their children, and staff should monitor themselves:
- Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
- Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
All visitors to the New Heights campus are subject to all the rules and regulations of New Heights Charter School, including to a health pre-screening prior to entering the building. All staff will need to provide advanced notice of scheduled visitors with the front desk.
All visitors will be asked to call the main office number, (508) 857-5721, to complete the pre-screening check. The pre-screening check will ensure that visitors have none of the above listed symptoms, have not been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19, and will confirm they have not traveled out of state within the last 14 days. Other questions may be asked depending on current guidance.
All visitors will need to check in with their full name, contact information, and entry and exit times with the front desk staff for contract tracing purposes. All staff scheduling visitors to the building will need to provide advance notice to the front desk. The front desk should be given the name, company, and contact info for all visitors to expedite this process.
If a visitor wasn’t scheduled with the front desk, they will not be allowed into the building until their visit is verified with the proper person. The front desk will report to the Executive Director that there was an unscheduled visitor.
There will be a symptom checking tool for staff to complete prior to coming to the New Heights campus.
Responding to Health Concerns
It is of the utmost importance that staff and students remain home from school if they are sick. We understand that illness can happen at any time and appear unexpectedly. Due to this, our staff and transportation providers will be trained to identify the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
If a student exhibits signs of COVID-19 staff will discretely notify the school nurse’s office. A staff member will come to escort the student to the medical waiting room for evaluation. The student should take all of their belongings from the classroom. The student’s parents will be immediately notified and the student will need to be picked up from school. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to take the bus home from school. The student must test negative for COVID-19 by PCR test prior to returning to school or remain home for the recommended amount of time as provided. See further guidance on quarantining for more information.
Teachers in the building exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 must get coverage for their class by contacting the main office before reporting to the nurse for evaluation if needed. The main office will then contact the Associate Principal via walkie talkie to coordinate classroom coverage. Staff must exit the building immediately and must test negative for COVID-19 by PCR test prior to returning to school or remain home for the recommended amount of time as provided. See further guidance on quarantining for more information. Upon exiting the school, staff should follow the same procedures for calling out by contacting their designated ELT member.
A negative test using a rapid COVID-19 antigen test will not be considered for return to school. In order to return to the building students and staff will need to submit proof of a negative PCR test.
If a student or staff is sent home as a result of COVID-19 symptoms, the classroom will need to be disinfected and sanitized. Staff should quickly and calmly have students exit the classroom and socially distant in the hallway. Custodial staff will enter the classroom and use the electrostatic sprayer in order to disinfect and sanitize the classroom. After a period of 4 minutes, students can reenter the classroom and use a sanitizer wipe to clean their desk and chair if needed.
We are following the guidelines from the state regarding travel, see link below
Asymptomatic Pooled Testing
New Heights Charter School has been approved to implement Asymptomatic Pooled Testing for staff and students within the school.
Pooled testing involves mixing several test samples together in a “batch” or “pool” and then testing the pooled sample with a PCR test for detection of COVID-19. New Heights will receive the test kits, support from our testing service provider Project Beacon, and the testing software to track results.
The pooled testing program allows New Heights to be able to test all students and staff who provide written consent. The goal of regular COVID-19 testing in schools is to quickly identify cases before they become outbreaks. When used alongside other mitigation strategies, like distancing and face masks, testing creates an additional level of reassurance that it is safe to keep schools open with students and teachers in the classroom in person.
In pooled testing, swabs from multiple people are mixed together and tested as a single unit called a pool. Using pools of 10, a lab can test 100 people by only running 10 tests – making regular testing programs efficient and affordable.
If the pool is negative, then all individuals in that pool are ‘clear’ and may continue to attend classes or their work at the school. If the pool is flagged as positive, then we know that there is at least one individual in that group who is positive for COVID-19. Now, we must individually retest this pool of 10 individuals to determine who is actually positive for COVID-19.
Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Testing
New Heights Charter School has been approved to take part in the first phase of the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid test program.
The Abbott BinaNOW test is a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 that gives results within 15 minutes. The school nursing team will be able to perform this rapid test to symptomatic students and staff at their discretion.
Any person who is administered a test will need to give consent in order to do so. There are three ways in order to give consent.
In order to give consent to testing, parents and guardians can use the Project Beacon app. The app will allow users to create an account and give electronic consent to testing. Paper consent forms will also be available on site for consent to be given. Paper consent forms will need to be completed prior to any testing. Test administrators can also receive emergency, day-of, consent verbally over the phone. If this is done, a paper consent must be filled out after the test is administered.
All testing administered to students will be reported directly to their parents/guardians. As a part of the Phase 1 program, all results will also be reported to the Department of Public Health.
Regardless of a positive or negative result, any staff or student who is tested using the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid test should follow up with a PCR test. In cases of negative Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests, we will require a negative PCR test result or a quarantine period as set out in our quarantining guidelines.
Only symptomatic individuals will be able to receive this test and therefore anyone who receives it will be asked to leave immediately following the test. Parents or guardians will be notified that their student will need to be picked up from school immediately.