Massachusetts officials have issued guidance to school districts on how to deal with students and staff who test positive for coronavirus when in-person education resumes.
Among the protocols are requirements for coronavirus testing or a two-week quarantine for students and staff who come in close contact with someone who tests positive. Students should continue with remote learning during the quarantine period, according to the guidelines.
If students or staff show coronavirus symptoms they are urged to stay home and get tested.
Bus drivers should be trained to screen for symptoms, according to the guidelines, and turn students away if they appear sick. If the student is on the bus already, bus drivers should ensure that all children keep their masks on and inform the school nurse. The nurse should meet the student when the bus arrives, which would then be disinfected.
In more than a dozen pages of guidelines, other protocols address what to do about individual exposure or individual positive tests, if a student appears symptomatic at school and if staff are symptomatic at home or school.
The guidance also outlines protocols for potential school closures, the presence of multiple cases in a school or a significant number of new cases in a town and the possibility that the state regresses to a previous reopening phase.
The directives come after two school staff members in Quincy tested positive for COVID-19, one of them at North Quincy High School. The 12 students and four other staffers who came in close contact with the individual were told to get tested and quarantine for two weeks.