Ice Cream on Friday and Updates/Reminders Re: the May 14th PAG meeting, School Pictures, Protocols, and the Last Day of School
May 4, 2021
Our faculty looks forward to our Staff Appreciation breakfast tomorrow morning hosted by the Parent Advisory Group meeting, and we truly appreciate families’ involvement along the way through contributing desserts, beverages, snacks, and donations to the PAG’s annual drive. Today we have a variety of updates and reminders to share.
1) Ice Cream on Friday (5/7): We would like to include students in our end-of-the-week Staff Appreciation activity this Friday. Our faculty love ice cream, and we’re having a caterer bring individual homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches onsite. Individual gluten and dairy free alternatives will also be available. If any family does not want their student to have a dessert, please notify your case manager and you are certainly welcome to send in an alternative. Otherwise we ordered enough for all onsite students and staff!
2) Make-Up Day for School Pictures is this Friday (5/7): If your student was absent on our recent Picture Day, we will offer an onsite make-up opportunity this Friday.
3) PAG meeting Login Information (Friday, 5/14 from 10:00-11:30am): We look forward to connecting with families at our last PAG meeting of the school next Friday (5/14). Our Assistant Principal/Curriculum Director, Tim Mahoney, will present on the curriculum-related topic of “Writing at Milestones” and there will be time for discussion among parents/guardians and members of administration. Below is the login information for this virtual meeting:
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 722 0474 7209
4) Half-Day on the Last Day of School (Friday, 6/18): Milestones has one make-up school day this year that resulted from when we had to close for a day unexpectedly as a result of a fallen power line in our area. This make-up day will be scheduled as a half-day (12:00pm dismissal). We recognize and appreciate that faculty started their work onsite and stayed to ensure that all families were notified and students were safely accounted for. This upcoming half-day will offer a nice kick-off to the summer vacation for students and staff!
5) Travel Flexibility Began This Week (Effective 5/3): As a reminder, Milestones’ more flexible travel policy became effective earlier this week.
- Fully vaccinated students and staff (i.e., 2 weeks past the final dose of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or 2 weeks past the one-dose J&J vaccine) no longer have travel-related quarantine or testing requirements assuming the individual continues to feel well to pass daily health attestation requirements.
- For those who are not fully vaccinated, our updated policy is to please fulfill the exact steps outlined in MA’s current Travel Advisory: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-advisory. Essentially, if a student or staff does not qualify for an exemption and travels outside of MA for over 24 hours, we request either a negative PCR (taken up to 72 hours prior to returning to MA or anytime afterwards) or the completion of a 10+ day quarantine period prior to the individual returning to school. There is no longer a wait time required before obtaining a PCR test, and test results should continue to be shared with our School Nurse. Travel requirements are subject to change based upon evolving COVID-19 conditions.
6) Updating our Daily Health Attestation Forms to Reflect Full Vaccination Status:Starting tomorrow families will note some updated language in our daily health attestation forms to specify exemptions for fully vaccinated students and staff. This criteria was previously approved, but we were waiting for additional guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) before updating our attestation language. The updates include:
- Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 as long as they do not exhibit symptoms.
- Similarly, if a household member is presenting as ill, fully vaccinated individuals are cleared to come to Milestones as long as they are not personally exhibiting symptoms.
7) New DESE Quarantine Criteria for Masked Individuals Who Are Exposed to COVID-19 in a Classroom or on a Bus:With excellent cooperation from faculty, students, and families, Milestones continues to be operating very safely onsite. Based on accumulated data from school-based settings, DESE has issued a revision to the school-based COVID-19 quarantine requirements for individuals who are identified as close contacts within the classroom or on the bus if both parties are masked. The full revised protocol is attached to this email (revision date: 4/20/21). The key change is:
- “Close Contacts who were exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the classroom or on the bus while both individuals were masked do not have to quarantine unless they were within 3 feet of distance of the COVID-19 positive individual for a total of 15 minutes during a 24-hour period. This does not apply if someone was identified as a close contact outside of the classroom or bus (e.g., in sports, extra-curriculars, lunch, etc.) or if masks are not worn by both persons at the time of the exposure. All other close contacts must follow the standard protocol for when a close contact may return to school.”
- Note about the Definition of a Close Contact Staying the Same: To clarify, the definition of a close contact has not changed (i.e., being within 6 feet of distance of a COVID-19 positive individual for a total of 15 minutes during a 24-hour period). Therefore, if schools were to encounter the situation as described above, schools are still required to notify the impacted individuals/families of their exposure. DESE directs that these aforementioned individuals should monitor for symptoms and recommends that they pursue testing even though a quarantine may not be required.
- Note about Milestones’ Continued Stricter Duration for Quarantines if Applicable: Please note that if an individual is not fully vaccinated and is required to quarantine as a result of being identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual, Milestones continues to uphold a stricter guideline for the duration of a required quarantine than the minimum criteria set forth by DESE/DPH. Milestones does not accept a clearance to return to campus after a quarantine period of 7+ days. Milestones adheres to the exit criteria from a quarantine after 10+ or 14+ days and the individual meeting daily health attestation criteria.
8) Vaccination Documentation Reminder: We continue to be delighted to hear news of qualifying students who are pursuing the COVID-19 vaccine, and we appreciate that we have received some vaccination cards already. If your student achieves full vaccination status, we ask that you kindly provide our School Nurse with a copy of your student’s vaccination card (either a paper or electronic copy, whichever you prefer). This will serve as your student’s supporting documentation to meet exemption criteria.
Thank you for your attention, and please do not hesitate to outreach if you have any follow-up questions.