The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education [DESE] has issued safety guidance required for re-opening schools in the fall.
The guidance – laid out by Commissioner Jeffrey Riley – calls for social distancing of 6 feet at all times and a maximum of 10 students and 12 individuals including staff in each room.
Face covering requirements are also in place for all those who can safely do so when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.
Parents are required to provide face coverings or masks to students. Schools are required to maintain disposable masks as a backup for students.
Schools are required to have a 12 week supply of masks on hand that include one disposable mask per week per student, 5 masks per teacher and 10 masks per school nurse.
The guidance recommends that schools should not develop temperature check entry screening requirements. The tests are unreliable and produce false-positive and false-negative results.
Symptom screening guidelines will be developed in the near future, according to the memo.
Other guidelines are similar to those issued to all residents in places of business and workplaces.
Remaining critically important is that students and staff must stay home when they feel sick.
Frequent hand washing for both students and staff that includes upon arrival, before and after meals, after bathroom use, after coughing or sneezing and before dismissal. Schools must also establish effective hand washing protocols.
Schools are also asked to develop isolation and discharge protocols for students who become ill during the school day.