COVID Policies

Updated September 16, 2021

State and EEC COVID-19 Restriction Changes to Date:

  • State-wide COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted.
  • Gathering limit will be rescinded.
  • All industries will be permitted to open effective May 29, 2021.
  • The State of Emergency ended on June 15, 2021.
  • May 29, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) RETIRED both the Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety and the COVID-19 Child Care Playbook and eliminate all COVID-specific requirements for childcare.
  • EEC has offered Suggested Strategies for the Prevention and Response to COVID-19 in Early Education and Care Programs.
  • EEC May 29th strategies are current best practices in preventing COVID-19 transmission and responds to current research.
  • DESE/DPH August 13, 2021Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 SY 21-22

The South Shore Stars updated policies below are in alignment with the most current EEC suggestions.

Travel:

South Shore Stars will adhere to all current travel guidelines in effect for Massachusetts. Staff and families will need to adhere to the Massachusetts guidelines only.

  • Current guidelines followed by Massachusetts from the CDC for travel: If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
  • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
  • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
  • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
  • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.

Close Contact:

If a child or staff member has been identified as a close contact by any agency, school, etc. they will need to be tested and follow the clinical advice of their health care provider or DPH. Any relative or family member that attends or works at South Shore Stars, does NOT need to quarantine unless they are deemed a close contact to an individual with a confirmed positive COVID 19 test.

Attendance Procedures Due to COVID-19:

  • Families should not send their children to any of South Shore Stars programs if the child exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual. Please call your Center Director.
  • Staff should not report to any of South Shore Stars programs if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual. Please call your Center Director.

Face Coverings:

  • South Shore Stars will continue to require staff, educators, preschool children, and children 5 years old and older to continue to wear masks when inside a South Shore Stars program facility where children are present.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks outside.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are asked to wear masks when outside if they cannot maintain the suggested six-foot distance.
  • Children do not have to wear masks nor maintain distance when outdoors.

Visitor Policy (Any person who is not an employee of South Shore Stars):

  • Current pick-up and drop off procedures will remain the same. Please follow all program specific guidelines for drop off and pick up.
  • Pick up will remain at 5:30 P.M. These protocols will be reviewed and adjusted as needed.
  • All staff and families are asked to remain masked during drop off and pick up. These protocols will be reviewed and adjusted as needed.
  • COVID-19 related health and safety practices with families and visitors will be shared via notices sent home, posting of protocols and procedures in highly visible areas, and phone calls as needed by program staff.
  • Visitors will be required to wear a mask; completion of a Self-Attestation/Daily Screener Form will be at the discretion of each Program Director. Visitors for an extended period will be asked to complete a Self-Attestation/Daily Screener Form and, sign in and out when entering and exiting all South Shore Stars program sites.

Indoor Space and Physical Distancing:

  • South Shore Stars will arrange indoor space and create routines to support the prior EEC spacing requirement per child.
  • South Shore Stars will arrange indoor space (e.g., blocking off chairs) and create routines to promote a minimum of 6 feet of distance during certain times with increased risk of transmission, such as during nap or mealtimes. This distance does not need to be created if a barrier (e.g., plexiglass) are in place.
  • As much as possible, South Shore Stars will assign children and adults to stable, discrete groups. This may not be feasible at all times due to staffing and enrollment needs.
  • When possible, South Shore Stars will assign fully vaccinated adults to serve as “floating” staff between groups.

Hand Hygiene:

  • South Shore Stars has established hand washing stations at strategic locations throughout the program spaces.
  • Signage will be posted that uses pictures and is displayed at children’s eye level to encourage hand washing, mask-wearing, and physical distancing as required.
  • Staff will regularly review with children how to wash hands, wear masks, and physically distance safely and effectively.

Isolate Sick or Symptomatic Individuals:

  • South Shore Stars staff will designate a space for the isolation of sick or symptomatic individuals until they can leave the program.
  • South Shore Stars Program and Center Directors will regularly review the CDC’s recommendations for childcare during COVID-19 and identifying updates that need to be addressed.

Routine and Targeted Cleaning Practices:

  • Staff will continue to clean high touch surfaces (door handles, bus seats, drinking fountains) and shared objects within the program and on program transport vehicles at a minimum of once a day.
  • When illness is confirmed, increase targeted cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces will take place.
  • South Shore Stars program staff, with the support of the Maintenance Coordinator, will ensure disinfecting products used are on the list of EPA-approved products for use against COVID-19.

Health and Safety Practices for Individual with Increased Needs:

  • South Shore Stars will provide appropriate and adequate PPE for staff working with children requiring hands-on assistance for routine care activities, including toileting, diapering, feeding, washing, or dressing, and other direct contact activities.
  • Center Directors will provide additional staff, developmentally appropriate guidance, and additional accommodations for children with special requirements
  • Center Directors will review and update individualized health care plans regularly to incorporate any necessary modifications that may be needed due to changing COVID-19 protocols.
  • South Shore Stars staff will facilitate the safe in-person delivery of support services.
  • South Shore Stars will work with adults and children with high-risk factors to ensure they are protected and able to participate.

Community Risk:

  • If COVID-19 rates continue to fall across communities, South Shore Stars will consider adjusting policies to allow for more flexibility.
  • Center Directors in conjunction with Program Directors, are responsible for communicating with families, staff, and EEC regarding closures and absences related to COVID-19 quarantine or potential spread.
  • South Shore Stars will regularly review DPH’s guidance and Pediatric and Adolescent Testing Guidance to ensure identifying any necessary changes in program policies and practices.

If a Staff Member or Child in a Program Tests Positive:

  • If on site, they must leave the program immediately.
  • Space is cleaned.
  • EEC is notified via LEAD portal by designated staff member.
  • Board of Health is notified and given list/contact information of positive individual.
  • Situation is reviewed with DPH and Board of Health
  • If appropriate, licensor is notified, and incident report entered into the LEAD portal.
  • Staff member/Child in program and any unvaccinated close contacts will quarantine per Board of Health or equivalent health officials’ recommended timeframe.
  • Unvaccinated staff/child will be required to get a PCR, RNA, OR NAAT Covid test as soon as possible and provide results prior to returning to work/program.

Program Specific Procedures:

Early Head Start:
Home visitors with still require families to complete a health Self-Attestation/Daily Screener Form.

FCC:
FCC Providers may adjust their drop off/ pick up procedures as needed, e.g., having families enter to drop off children, on-site enrollment visits.

Pre-school:
Pre-School Centers will continue with daily temperature check once a day.
Parents/Guardians will need to complete a daily Self-Attestation/Daily Screener Form.
Parents/Guardians will continue with current drop off protocols.

Family Support Staff:
Family Support Staff will be following all guidelines in the Centers where they are working and all guidelines for camp.

South Shore Stars Offices:

200 Middle Street and South Shore Stars Randolph Offices Health and Safety Protocols

South Shore Stars has returned to open office hours and in-person work requirements.

*If working a hybrid schedule is feasible, staff member should discuss this with his/her supervisor and then, supervisor will then seek final approval from Executive Director.

Office Staff ONLY

  • If a staff member shows any COVID 19 symptoms, please call your supervisor and do not come to work. The staff member can return to work once they provide proof of a PCR, RNA, OR NAAT negative COVID test or their physician provides in writing that a COVID test is not indicated.
  • Visitors with staff must sign in and out each time the building is entered and exited. Using the clip board located on the reception desk on the second floor of 200 Middle Street or at the designated location at the Randolph Offices.
  • Visitors will be required to wear a mask; and MUST be asked to complete a Self-Attestation/Daily Screener Form and sign in and out when entering and exiting all South Shore Stars program sites.
  • All staff must wear a mask throughout the day except when outside, alone in office space with more than 3 feet distance from others, or when eating or drinking.
  • When indoors, office staff should always attempt to practice social distancing of a minimum of three feet with each other and with any children that may be on site.
  • Staff are encouraged to follow all recommended CDC and state recommended protocols outside of the office.
  • Staff are encouraged to follow all other CDC recommended practices when they are in the community.

Cleaning

Surfaces and materials are cleaned after use.

Visitors

  • In-person services and non-essential visitors are allowed into offices when other risk reduction strategies are in place.
  • All individuals seeking entry into a South Shore Stars building MUST complete Health Attestation Forms and sign in and out each time the building is entered and exited.

If Staff Member or Child in a Program Tests Positive:

  • If on site, they must leave the program immediately.
  • Space is cleaned.
  • EEC is notified via LEAD portal by designated staff member.
  • Board of Health is notified and given list/contact information of positive individual.
  • Situation is reviewed with DPH and Board of Health
  • If appropriate, licensor is notified, and incident report entered into the LEAD portal.
  • Staff member/Child in program and any unvaccinated close contacts will quarantine per Board of Health or equivalent health officials’ recommended timeframe.
  • Unvaccinated staff/child will be required to get a PCR, RNA, OR NAAT Covid test as soon as possible and provide results prior to returning to work/program.

Forms:

Self-Attestation/Daily Screener Form:

Stars Individual Paper Versions-

Staff Stars Daily Staff screening questionnaire Jan 2021.docx

Family Daily Family screening questionnaire June 3, 2021.docx

Visitors Visitor screening questionnaire June 3, 2021.docx

 

Google Form Version:

Preschool Daily Screener Form

Stars Visitor Health Questionnaire

Sign-In Sign-Out Document for Site Visitors Not Required to Complete the Self- Attestation/Daily Screener Form: Visitor Sign In, Sign Out.docx

Please make these easily accessible with clean pens to complete the form when visitors arrive.

Section 1 COVID-19 Symptoms and Definitions:

Below is the full list of symptoms for which caregivers should monitor their children, and staff should monitor themselves.

Unvaccinated individuals and any close contacts presenting these symptoms should follow testing and quarantine response protocols as outlined in Section 2 of this document.

Vaccinated individuals who are not close contacts should follow the testing and quarantine response protocols if they are experiencing symptoms in bold. These individuals may also seek clinical guidance to assess the need for PCR testing if they have other symptoms on this list.

COVID-19 Symptoms List:

  • 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
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
  • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • 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)

Definition of a Close Contact:

Close contacts are defined as individuals who have been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive individual while indoors, for at least 15 minutes during a 24-hour period.

Please note that the at-risk exposure time begins 48 hours prior to symptom onset (or time of positive test if asymptomatic) and continues until the time the COVID-19 positive individual is isolated.

In general, close contacts should follow the testing and quarantine response protocols in Section 2 of this document. However, certain close contacts are exempted from testing and quarantine response protocols as noted below.

Close Contacts Who are Exempt from Testing and Quarantine Response Protocols:

The following close contacts are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols:

  • Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts: Individuals who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.
  • Classroom close contacts: An individual who is exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the classroom while both individuals were masked, so long as the individuals were spaced at least 3 feet apart, is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.
  • Bus close contacts: Individuals on buses must be masked according to federal requirements. As such, individuals who are masked on buses when windows are open are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.
  • Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days: An individual who has been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and then becomes a close contact of someone with COVID-19 is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols if:
    • The exposure occurred within 90 days of the onset of their own illness AND
    • The exposed individual is recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms.

Recommended testing and quarantine response protocols

This section outlines testing and quarantine response protocols for individuals – students and staff – who test positive for COVID-19, close contacts who are not exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols, and symptomatic individuals. Each scenario outlines the duration of any recommended quarantine or isolation, the conditions to be met in order for the individual to return to school, and any additional considerations.

Section 2 Overview of Protocol Categories:

  • Protocol A: For individuals who test positive for COVID-19
  • Protocol B: Protocol for asymptomatic close contacts
  • Protocol C: Protocol for symptomatic individuals

Protocol A for individuals who test positive

  • Duration: Self-isolation for COVID-19 positive cases is a minimum of 10 days after symptom onset or after positive PCR or antigen test, if asymptomatic.
  • Return to school: After 10 days5 and once they have:
    • Been without fever for 24 hours (and without taking fever-reducing medications); and
    • Experienced improvement in other symptoms; and
    • Individuals who do not meet these criteria after 10 days may receive clearance from either public health authority contact tracers (the local board of health or Community Tracing Collaborative) or school health professional before returning to school.
  • Note: Return to school should be based on time and symptom resolution. Repeat testing prior to return is not recommended.

Protocol B: For asymptomatic close contacts; close contacts who are not exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols and are asymptomatic.

Please recall that all asymptomatic, fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from close contact testing and quarantine response protocols and therefore do not need to follow Protocol B.

However, fully vaccinated individuals are expected to monitor for symptoms and stay home and get tested if they experience symptoms, in alignment with statewide guidance 6 and Protocol C.

Note: In some cases, individuals may be asked to follow specific testing and quarantine response protocols (including durations for quarantine/isolation) provided by contact tracers or local health officials which may differ from the recommended protocols below.


Protocol B1: Traditional Protocol Protocol

B2: Alternate Protocol for those who choose not to receive a COVID test


B1

  • Duration: Quarantine is at least 7 days from the date of exposure
  • Return to School: After 7 days, returning on day 8, provided that they:
    • Remain asymptomatic
    • Receive a COVID test (PCR or rapid antigen) on day 5 or later and receive a negative result
    • Conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 14, and self-isolate if symptoms develop.
  • Note: If an individual has symptoms at the time they are designated as a close contact or within the 14 days following initial exposure, they follow the protocol for symptomatic individuals (Protocol C). If an individual tests positive at any time, they follow the protocol for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (Protocol A).

B2

  • Duration: Quarantine is at least 10 days from the date of exposure8
  • Return to School: After 10 days, returning on day 11, provided that they:
    • Have not experienced symptoms up to this point
    • Conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 14, and self-isolate if symptoms develop.
  • Note: If an individual has symptoms at the time they are designated as a close contact or within the 14 days following initial exposure, they follow the protocol for symptomatic individuals (Protocol C). If an individual tests positive at any time, they follow the protocol for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (Protocol A).

Protocol C: Protocol for symptomatic individuals

Protocol C applies to vaccinated AND non-vaccinated individuals who experience the COVID-19 symptoms listed in Section 1 applicable to their status.

Protocol C for symptomatic individuals:

Protocol C-1 (Recommended): Return to school post-symptoms with test

  • Duration: Dependent on symptom resolution
  • Return to School: Individuals may return to school after they:
    • Have received a negative PCR test result for COVID-19. Note: So long as the individual is not a close contact, if a medical professional makes an alternative diagnosis for COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may use this recommendation (e.g., for influenza or strep pharyngitis) in lieu of a PCR test.
    • Have improvement in symptoms
    • Have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications

Protocol C-2: Alternative protocol for symptomatic individuals who are not close contacts and choose not to receive a COVID-19 test to return to school

  • Duration: Isolation is at least 10 days from symptom onset9
  • Return to School: Individuals may return to school after they:
    • Have improvement in symptoms
    • Have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications

References:

  1. Massachusetts DPH, Testing of Persons with Suspect COVID-19. (2020, May 13).
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
  3. Note: To be a close contact, the 15 minutes must occur within a 24-hour period. Multiple brief or transitory interactions (less than a minute) throughout the day are unlikely to result in 15 minutes of cumulative contact and do not meet the definition of close contact.
  4. CDC definition of Close Contact. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schoolschildcare/operation-strategy.html.
  5. If an individual tests positive as part of a group pooled test, the 10-day period begins the day the group pooled test returned a positive result.
  6. Guidance for People who are Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19. Massachusetts DPH; August 2, 2021. Available at: https://www.mass.gov/guidance/guidance-for-people-who-are-fully-vaccinated-against-covid-19
  7. Bernadette C Young, David W Eyre, Saroj Kendrick, Chris White, Sylvester Smith, et. al. “A cluster randomized trial of the impact of a policy of daily testing for contacts of COVID-19 cases on attendance and COVID-19 transmission in English secondary schools and colleges.” (July 2021). medRxiv. Available at: https:/www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.23.21260992v1
  8. CDC Science Brief: Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing. Dec 2, 2020. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/science/science-briefs/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html