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Mask Update, March 8, 2022

Mask Update, March 8, 2022

Dear BPS Families and Staff,

Belmont Board of Health, School Committee, and Select Board have all voted to lift Belmont’s mask mandate. Effective Tuesday, March 8, 2022, masking in school will be optional, but there are times when masks are to be worn.

As always, any individual who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, will be supported in that choice.

DESE and DPH strongly recommend unvaccinated individuals continue to wear masks in school settings.

Mask use remains in effect in the following situations per DESE guidelines:

Masks are required in ALL School Health Offices.

Protocol A: Protocol for individuals who test positive

  • Duration: Self-Isolation for COVID positive cases is a minimum of 5 days after symptom onset or after positive PCR or antigen test, if asymptomatic.
  • Return to school: After 5 days and once they have:
    • Been without fever for 24 hours (and without taking fever-reducing medications)
    • Experienced improvement in other symptoms
    • Following the 5-day isolation period, wear a mask for 5 additional days when around others, other than when eating, drinking, or outside.
  • Note: Return to school should be based on time and symptom resolution. Testing during isolation to return to school is not required.

Protocol B: Protocol for asymptomatic, unvaccinated individuals identified as close contacts outside of school settings

  • Duration: Quarantine is at least 5 days from the date of exposure.
  • Return to school: After 5 days, returning on day 6, provided that they:
    • Remain asymptomatic
    • Wear a mask, other than when eating, drinking, or outside, and conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 10 AND
    • Self-isolate if symptoms develop.
  • Note: If an individual has symptoms at the time they are designated as a close contact or within 5 days following initial exposure, they should follow the protocol for symptomatic individuals. If an individual tests positive at any time, they follow the protocol for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (Protocol A).
  • For all exposed, best practice would also include a viral test (antigen or PCR) for COVID-19 at day 5 after exposure. An antigen test may be self-administered and does not need to be proctored or performed by a healthcare professional.

Stay Home When Sick

Protocol C: Protocol for symptomatic individuals: Return to school post-symptoms with optional test

  • Duration: Dependent on improvement in symptoms
  • Return to School: Individuals may return to school after they:
    • Have improvement in symptoms
    • No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications
    • It is also recommended that individuals receive a negative PCR or antigen test result for COVID-19. An antigen test may be self-administered and does not need to be proctored or performed by a healthcare professional. For districts participating in the at-home testing option, individuals may use their district provided test for this purpose. NOTE: So long as the individual is not a close contact, if a medical professional makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19 like symptoms, the individual may use this recommendation (e.g., for influenza or strep pharyngitis) in lieu of a PCR test or antigen test.
    • Best practice would also include wearing a mask until symptoms are fully resolved.

DESE and DPH strongly recommend unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in school settings.

DESE and DPH continue to strongly recommend that all eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine and booster.

Our collective health continues to rely on our individual responsibility to remain vigilant and monitor for symptoms. Please continue to follow the symptom checker each day, keep your student home, and test if they have symptoms.

Please reach out to your School Nurse with any questions or concerns!

BPS NURSES

Categories: Health Notices, Health Recommendations , COVID-19 Update

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