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Information about the 20-21 School Year

This page has information about COVID routines and protocols at Birch Meadow School for the 20-21 school year.

Information for Students About COVID Testing 2-25-21

The social story which can be downloaded here presents information for students about COVID testing at school.  You can share this with your child prior to their first time having a COVID test at Birch Meadow School.

FAQs on COVID-19 from the School Nurse November 5, 2020

From Mrs. Costello in the Health Office

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

How do I prepare my child for safe in-person learning?  Here is what parents should know from Boston Children’s Hospital.

What kind of mask should my child wear?  Here is guidance from CDC on choosing the right mask.

What if my student refuses to wear a mask?  Mask expectations

How do I help my child get used to wearing a mask?

What if my child forgets or loses their mask? Your school nurse has masks for students, but plan to send extra just in case.

When should I keep my child home from school? Please review the health screening before sending your child to school every day. 

What if my child is sick?  Here is a list of COVID-19 symptoms: Symptoms of Coronavirus

Here is a symptom checker:  Check your symptoms and find the right care

What are the differences between flu and COVID symptoms?

What happens if my child is sent home sick from school?

  • Any child who is ill will be sent home and asked to follow up with their pediatrician. Children with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will be tested at the MD’s recommendation. 
  • If a student has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
  • If a student presents with COVID-19-like symptoms and chooses not to be tested, they may return to school 10 days from the start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without a fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.
  • If your child has been to the doctor, please provide a note when they return to school.

Where can I get myself/ my child tested?  Please note, we require evidence of a negative PCR test result. Antigen testing has not been found to provide reliable results.  Here are local testing sites and information: COVID-19 Testing

How can I prepare my child for the COVID test? 

Should I get a rapid test?  Rapid antigen tests are less reliable, please get a “pcr” test.

Will schools be testing staff and students?  Not currently. Anyone who is a close contact or is symptomatic should consult with their physician about testing. In the event of a cluster (or outbreak of cases) in the schools, in consultation with the Reading Board of Health, there may be surveillance testing for asymptomatic staff and students.

If a student in my child’s class tests positive will the class need to quarantine?  If a student tests positive, any close contacts of the child should also be tested and quarantined for 14 days. The rest of the class and teacher would only have to quarantine if the child tests positive, and if they had close contact with the student within 2 days prior to the positive test.

What is a close contact?  A close contact is anyone who has been within 6 feet of another individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.  By wearing masks, we are hoping to decrease the transmission of the virus, however it is still considered an exposure.

If my child is a close contact of someone with COVID but they test negative, may they return to school?  All close contacts should be tested but must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person, regardless of test result.

What happens if I or my child test(s) positive?  It is important to note that testing, combined with contact tracing and isolation, helps control the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. All test results, both positive and negative, are reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). When a person has a positive COVID-19 test, it is the local board of health or the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative that will reach out to provide support so that these individuals can remain safely in medical isolation. They will also ask for help to identify close contacts. These organizations will then reach out to the individual’s close contacts to provide important information that is aimed to stop the spread of the virus, including how to safely isolate/quarantine. While these organizations will provide support to further assist with contact tracing, the student/family and staff are asked to reach out to their personal contacts and notify the school.

What if my family member tests positive?  If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you must also be tested and quarantine for 14 days after the last close contact. 

Does Reading have a lot of cases in the community?

What if my family travels outside of Massachusetts?  Anyone traveling to a higher risk area must complete a travel form and quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative test within 72 hours of return/entry. See COVID-19 Travel Order for details.

Where can I get more health information?  Click here to access the Reading School Nurses  Virtual Health Office

Massachusetts Dept of Public Healthwebsite

CDC website

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This document outlines the protocols for mask distribution and in the event a student or staff member tests positive or is exposed to COVID-19.
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This document details the free meals and food policy currently in place in the Reading Public Schools.
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