Dear Bancroft Community,
Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a safe and restful winter break. We are looking forward to welcoming students and faculty back to campus in just a few days for more active learning in 2022.
Given the recent news regarding the spread of COVID-19 throughout the holiday season and new information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), we wanted to reiterate the importance of our health and safety protocols as we head back to in-person learning and to remind everyone of our testing plan.
While we have had positive COVID-19 cases at school this year, our good behavior and diligence with our health and safety protocols has prevented any viral spread on campus. It is important that we continue our good habits to keep ourselves and other members of our community healthy, safe, and in-person on campus.
Stay home if you are sick or experiencing ANY COVID-19 symptoms (even if they are mild symptoms) including:
- Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- New loss of taste or smell
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nasal congestion or runny nose when in combination with other symptoms
- Wear your mask while indoors at all times except when eating or drinking
- Maintain at least 3 feet of distance from others wherever possible - this prevents close contact situations
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands and using hand sanitizer
We will be sending COVID-19 test kits home with students and faculty on our return to school Tuesday, January 4. Our testing this week is an important part of our ability to be able to continue to provide in-person learning and one of the many layers of protection we use to keep ourselves and the school community healthy. This saliva test must be completed in the morning on Wednesday, January 5th before coming to school. Produce the saliva sample BEFORE eating or drinking anything in the morning. We will collect the vials from everyone upon arrival at school (at drop-off BEFORE students enter), then the samples will be sent immediately in one batch to the lab for PCR testing.
Please review the detailed instructions for these tests in this video. For your test to be run at the lab, the consent form we have previously provided MUST be completed in advance as well as all the steps in the instructions provided in the video. If these steps are not completed, the lab will throw away your test tube.
Those who have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days are exempt from testing and will not be provided with a test. Symptomatic individuals should stay home and not participate. These tests are intended to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. You will only be informed of the results of your test if it comes back positive. We will work directly with both the families of any positive cases as well as their in-school close contacts to ensure their health and safety.
Any questions on this testing can be directed to our school nurse Liza Marzilli.
Health and Safety Protocols Update
On December 28, the CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and shortened the quarantine time for close contacts. Shortly thereafter, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Education adjusted their protocols as well. We have aligned our protocols to match these recent changes.
For individuals who test positive for COVID-19:
Duration: Self-isolation for COVID-19 positive cases is a minimum of 5 days after symptom onset (day 0) or after positive PCR or antigen test (day 0), if asymptomatic.
Return to school: After a minimum of 5 days, on day 6, only 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, individuals must wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 5 additional days.
For asymptomatic "close contacts" who are not exempt (example: not fully vaccinated) from testing and quarantine response protocols:
Duration: Quarantine is at least 5 days from the date of exposure (day 0 is the last contact with COVID-19 positive individual).
Return to School: After 5 days, returning on day 6, provided that they:
- Remain asymptomatic
- Conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 10, self-isolate if symptoms develop, and adhere to strict mask use for an additional 5 days.
Full quarantine information can be found here.
Test and Stay will be available for in-school exposed, asymptomatic, not vaccinated, close contacts for 5 full days following exposure so that they may remain in school and quarantine outside of the school setting per the above.
Individuals who have received their vaccine booster or have been fully vaccinated within the past 6 months with Moderna/Pfizer or received a booster, do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should diligently wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure, as well as monitor closely for symptoms.
For all those exposed, best practice would also include an antigen or PCR test for COVID-19 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
We have adjusted our Health & Safety Protocols to reflect this change. More comprehensive information on this update can be found here.
Our community has handled the challenges of the pandemic with remarkable flexibility, resilience, and poise to this point, and I am confident that we can continue to lead by example in 2022. We appreciate your partnership as we navigate this evolving situation together.
Head of School
Liza Marzilli BSN, RN
Director of Health Services